CURRENT GIVEAWAY CONTESTS
Here are my current Giveaway Contests
THE TRAGICALLY TRUE ADVENTURES OF KIT DONOVAN through April 16th
THE PRINCESS AND THE PAGE through April 22nd
Natalie Lakosil Query Critique and THE STAR THIEF through April 22nd
Happy Easter Giveaway Hop through April 30th
Tracy Marchini Query Critique through April 29th
Upcoming Agent Spotlights and Query Critique Giveaways
Laura Spieller on 4/26/2017
Loren Oberweger on 5/10/2017
Alyssa Jennette on 5/24/2017
Bibi Lewis on 6/12/2017
Kelly Van Sant on 6/21/2017
ELISSA SUSSMAN INTERVIEW AND STRAY GIVEAWAY
Carol Riggs just signed a contract with Entangled Teens for her YA sci-fi debut THE BODY INSTITUTE to be published in Fall, 2015.
Also here's a great link to a post by Angela Ackermann at Writer's Helping Writer's blog on 5 Steps To Find Your Book Audience. I'm bookmarking it for future reference.
And I have some winners to announce:
The winner of TUT is Akossiwa!
And the winner of the Stuck In A Good Book giveaway is Janhvi who chose the $10 Amazon Gift Card!
Congrats! E-mail me your address so I have get you your prize. Please e-mail me by the end of Wednesday or I'll have to pick another winner.
Today I’m thrilled to have debut author Elissa Sussman here to share about her YA fairytale retelling STRAY. I loved the whole idea of the fairy godmothers and the way the world building explores the role of women, which was dark but very interesting.
Here’s a blurb from Goodreads:
Princess Aislynn has long dreamed about attending her Introduction Ball, about dancing with the handsome suitors her adviser has chosen for her, about meeting her true love and starting her happily ever after.
When the night of the ball finally arrives and Nerine Academy is awash with roses and royalty, Aislynn wants nothing more than to dance the night away, dutifully following the Path that has been laid out for her. She does not intend to stray.
But try as she might, Aislynn has never quite managed to control the magic that burns within her-magic brought on by wicked, terrible desires that threaten the Path she has vowed to take.
After all, it is wrong to want what you do not need. Isn’t it?
STRAY is the first in a collection of intertwined stories, all set in a world where magic is a curse that only women bear and society is dictated by a strict doctrine called The Path. A cross between The Handmaid’s Tale and Wicked, with a dash of Grimm and Disney thrown in, this original fairy tale will be released October 7th, 2014 from Greenwillow Books/HarperCollins.
Hi Elissa! Thanks so much for joining us.
Thank you for having me!
1. Tell us about yourself and how you became a writer.
Like most other writers, I was a kid with a big imagination and an even bigger appetite for books. When I was eleven or twelve, I read THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK, which inspired me to start keeping a journal. It also was the first time that I truly understood that a writer was a person – that people wrote books. And so I wrote. Hannukah plays and terrible poetry and romantic novellas and gritty short stories. I wrote and wrote and wrote and a few years ago, I had the idea for what eventually became STRAY.
2. I read this about the same age too. I found it incredibly inspiring, but didn’t start journaling. Where did you get the idea for STRAY?
I owe it all to a feminist history course and Disney’s CINDERELLA! Being the animation nerd that I am, I had chosen to write my thesis on the representation of women in animated movies, so I was re-watching some of my favorite films with a much more critical eye. For the first time, I realized how the most powerful person in the film – the fairy godmother – is portrayed as a rather silly, incompetent character. The wheels just started spinning from there.
3. That sounds like an awesome thesis. And what fun research you got to do. You take the concept of fairy godmother in a totally different direction tied into women’s role in following the Path. I found it a frightening but fascinating world with such definite roles for women. Share about your world building process and how you tell a fairy tale retelling in a very different fashion than some books out there.
Thank you! I love that you call the world “frightening, but fascinating” because that’s how I feel about most of the fairy tales I really love. There’s a delicious darkness to older versions of stories that I wanted to be present in Aislynn’s world. But I always wanted to redefine those fairy tales, to twist them into something familiar and modern. Because the Path, with all of its awful misogyny, is based on a mentality that is still very present in our society today, especially in the way we treat teen girls.
4. We sometimes forget the dark parts of these stories if just watching the Disney versions. I always love when fairy tales are twisted like STRAY. One of the things I really enjoyed about STRAY was the diversity. But I read that it didn’t start out that way. Share what made you change STRAY in the revision process so dramatically.
It wasn’t as dramatic as you might imagine, mainly because I made the change so early on. In fantasy,
5. That is one of my favorite parts of MERLIN. Sad the series was cancelled. I know you worked in the movie industry, including on Tangled and The Princess and the Frog. How has this influenced how you write and how you revise?
It’s mainly influenced how I schedule myself, actually. I worked in production management, which is a nice way of saying I got to boss a lot of people around to make sure they made their deadlines. As a chronic procrastinator in my personal, creative life, I learned how to harness my management skills in order to focus and complete my own projects. Most of the time.
6. I read that you had some influence on the creation of your very awesome cover. How cool! Share a bit about how your cover was designed and your influence in creating it.
I owe my cover to pinterest and the amazing artist, Melissa Nucera (aka ThisYearsGirl on etsy). As an avid pinner, I had created a STRAY inspiration board and her piece “The Queen” was a pretty big part of it. When the awesome folks at Greenwillow asked if I had any ideas for the cover, I immediately sent them Melissa’s piece. They loved it, contacted her and the rest is history. Lucky me!
7. Yes, that’s extremely luckly. Your agent is Samantha Shea. How did she become your agent and what was your road to publication like?
I took a very traditional road to both getting an agent and getting published. Once I had a version of STRAY that I was confident in, I started researching agents and the querying process. There are so many wonderful online resources, including QueryTracker, which I especially love because of its built-in spreadsheet (I love spreadsheets). Samantha was one of sixty agents that I queried over the process of five months and I absolutely adore her. Once she took me on as a client, we spent another several months polishing the manuscript and then she sent it out on submission. It sold to Greenwillow Books a few months later.
8. How are you planning to market your book? Has your experience in the film industry affected at all your plans to spread the word about your book?
I have an amazing publicist and wonderful support from HarperCollins. Keep your eyes out for some fun videos and interviews in the weeks around STRAY’s release. And if you’re in the Los Angeles area, you can come to the launch party and reading at Skylight Book in Los Feliz on October 12th at 5pm.
9. Wish I lived there. I’d come for sure. What are you working on now?
Currently I’m working on the follow up to STRAY, titled BURN. Set in the same world, it will follow a new pair of characters (one of whom is introduced at the end of STRAY). But don’t worry, we’re not leaving Aislynn and her friends behind just yet.
Thanks for sharing all your advice, Elissa. You can find Elissa at:
Elissa has generously offered a copy of STRAY for a giveaway. To enter, all you need to do is be a follower (just click the follow button if you’re not a follower) and leave a comment through October 11th. I’ll announce the winner on October 13th. If your e-mail is not on your Google Profile, please leave it in the comments.
If you mention this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog, mention this in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry. You must be 13 or older to enter. This is for US only.
Here’s what’s coming up:
On Wednesday I have a guest post by debut author Andrea Pyros and a giveaway of her MG contemporary MY YEAR OF EPIC ROCK
Next Monday I have a guest post by long time follower C. Lee McKenzie and a giveaway of her YA contemporary DOUBLE NEGATIVE.
Next Wednesday I'm giving away a number of recently released Harper Collins middle grade books that I know many of you would enjoy.
And the Monday after that I have a guest post by another long time follower and debut author Kim Van Sickler and a giveaway of her YA contemporary SNACHED IN GULLYBROOK.
And don’t forget Casey’s Thursday Agent Spotlights.
Hope to see you on Wednesday!
Posted by Natalie Aguirre on Monday, September 29, 2014