I’m seriously bummed that the My Very UnFairy Tale Life series by Anna Staniszewski is coming to an end. For a recap of the previous books, I posted about them here and here.
And now, MY SORT OF FAIRY TALE ENDING!
Happily ever after? Yeah, right.
Jenny’s search for her parents leads her to Fairyland, a rundown amusement park filled with creepily happy fairies and disgruntled leprechauns. Despite the fairies’ kindness, she knows they are keeping her parents from her. If only they would stop being so happy all the time-it’s starting to weird her out! With the help of a fairy-boy and some rebellious leprechauns, Jenny finds a way to rescue her parents, but at the expense of putting all magical worlds in danger. Now Jenny must decide how far she is willing to go to put her family back together.
You can also read the first chapter here. Or, have a look at the trailer:
Below are Anna’s answers to my questions:
MY SORT OF FAIRY TALE ENDING wraps up the last of the My Very Unfairy Tale Life series. What has been the hardest part about writing the ending, and how difficult is it to tie up loose plot ends when writing a series?
There were two main challenges I faced when writing the final UnFairy Tale installment. First, I wanted to make sure that Jenny’s story was wrapped up in a satisfying way that tied together her emotional journey over the three books. Second, I wanted to give the book its own beginning, middle, and end, so that it felt like a smaller story within the larger one. It took a lot of work to get both of these elements to a place where I was happy with them. Hopefully, Jenny agrees with my choices!
I’m sure she does! In our last interview, you discussed a new project, DIRT DIARY. Where did the idea for the story come from, and how has it developed as you’ve written it?
I was listening to a story on NPR about teen mortification that mentioned a girl working for her mom’s cleaning business and having to clean the houses of some of her popular classmates. When I heard that, a bell started clanging in my head. As I sat down to play with the idea, Rachel’s voice jumped off the page. She told me about the other problems going on in her life (her parents getting divorced, the guy she liked dating her nemesis, etc.) There were a lot of plot threads that were woven in as I continued to work on the story, but the overall idea has stayed the same from that first spark of inspiration.
In addition to writing, you teach in the MFA program at Simmons College. How do you balance teaching and writing, and what advice do you have for writers juggling more than one career?
I love teaching because it gets me out of the house and talking to like-minded people who aren’t imaginary. I teach part-time which gives me more time to write, though sometimes it’s still difficult to balance the two. I find that I need to set aside writing time, even if it’s just an hour that I take away from grading papers, etc. No matter what, writing needs to come first.
Indeed. I love that you insert humor into your books–you do it really well. Do you have any tips for writers wanting to incorporate comedy into their stories?
Be your wacky self! Seriously. I think sometimes we try to do what other people think is funny without considering our own personal sense of humor. We all have offbeat and unique ways of looking at the world. Work those sensibilities into your stories, think about your characters’ offbeat traits and viewpoints, and have fun with them.
So true. If you were stuck on a desert island with five books, what would they be?
Oh boy! I think I need to go by author on this one. I’d choose a book by each of the following:
1. Jane Austen
2. Douglas Adams
3. Shannon Hale
4. MT Anderson
5. John Green
Born in Poland and raised in the United States, Anna Staniszewski grew up loving stories in both Polish and English. She was named the 2006-2007 Writer-in-Residence at the Boston Public Library and a winner of the 2009 PEN New England Susan P. Bloom Discovery Award. Currently, Anna lives outside of Boston with her husband and their black Labrador, Emma.
When she’s not writing, Anna spends her time teaching, reading, and challenging unicorns to games of hopscotch. She is the author of the My Very UnFairy Tale Life series, published by Sourcebooks Jabberwocky. Look for the first book in Anna’s next tween series, The Dirt Diary, in January 2014, and visit her at www.annastan.com.
To snag Anna’s books for yourself, click on the links below:
Thanks so much for having me!
And thanks for being here, Anna! I love your books!