Happy Wednesday Everyone! Today I'm excited to be a part of the PENNYROYAL ACADEMY Blog Tour. I've got a fantastic guest post by debut author M.A. Larson and a giveaway of PENNYROYAL ACADEMY, his MG fantasy. It sounds like a great story I'm hoping to read. Details on the giveaway will be at the end of the post.
So here's M.A. Larson!
I’ve been writing for children’s television animation for the past nine years. I originally conceived of Pennyroyal Academy as a cartoon called Princess Boot Camp. It was a straightforward parody of frilly pink princess culture as told through a hardcore military training academy. As with most pilots, it never took off, so I decided to turn it into a novel.
I was a little lost with what story I wanted to tell until I picked up The Uses of Enchantment. It’s an analysis of Grimms’ Fairy Tales and how they work, with particular focus paid to the dark and sometimes shocking elements found in them. Bettelheim argues that it’s important for kids to experience these baffling, frightening emotions from the safety of a story so they can learn to cope with their own anxieties and fears. Some of the book is dated (it’s nearly forty years old, after all), but there are some profound points raised about why and how fairy tales work in the adolescent mind and heart.
The more I read, the more my own story came into focus. I decided to strip away the parody elements and try for something more meaningful. I slashed bad puns and cut cheap gags like one of the Grimms’ murderous robbers hacking up a helpless maiden. I never went “full Grimm,” however. Those guys were just a hair too dark for the modern audience. But I wanted to bring in the deeper psychological component Bettelheim’s book pointed to. Not darkness for darkness’ sake, but because it is such an essential part of why fairy tales endure.
Bettelheim writes: “The forest symbolizes the place in which inner darkness is confronted and worked through; where uncertainty is resolved about who one is; and where one begins to understand who one wants to be.” Ah-ha! thought I. My protagonist is at the beginning of her journey of self-discovery when my book starts, so I should quite literally put her in the forest. And that’s where she is, right there on page one, running barefoot through an enchanted forest with no name and wearing only a dress made of spider webs.
Picking up this forty-year-old book got my mind working in so many directions it wouldn’t otherwise
M.A. Larson (www.malarson.com) is a film and television writer who lives with his wife, daughter, and two dogs in a canyon in California. Larson has written for Cartoon Network, Disney Channel, Disney XD, Disney UK, Discovery Kids Channel, The Hub, and Nickelodeon. As a writer on the cult sensation “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic”, he has been a guest at “brony” fan conventions from Paris, France to Dallas, Texas. Pennyroyal Academy is his first novel.
Pennyroyal Academy: Seeking bold, courageous youths to become
tomorrow's princesses and knights….Come one, come all!
Enlist today at PennyroyalAcademy.com!
Pennyroyal Academy: Seeking bold, courageous youths to become tomorrow's princesses and knights….Come one, come all!
A girl from the forest arrives in a bustling kingdom with no name and no idea why she is there, only to find herself at the center of a world at war. She enlists at Pennyroyal Academy, where princesses and knights are trained to battle the two great menaces of the day: witches and dragons. There, given the name “Evie,” she must endure a harsh training regimen under the steel glare of her Fairy Drillsergeant, while also navigating an entirely new world of friends and enemies. As Evie learns what it truly means to be a princess, she realizes surprising things about herself and her family, about human compassion and inhuman cruelty. And with the witch forces moving nearer, she discovers that the war between princesses and witches is much more personal than she could ever have imagined.
Set in Grimm’s fairytale world, M.A. Larson’s Pennyroyal Academy masterfully combines adventure, humor, and magical mischief.
If you mention this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog, mention this in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry. This is for US only.
And there's also a Rafflecopter Giveaway of Pennyroyal Academy recruitment packs:
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Here’s what’s coming up:
Next Monday I'm interviewing Kimberley Griffiths Little and giving away her YA romance set in a desert setting FORBIDDEN. I loved the setting and I'm a sucker for forbidden romance.
The Monday after that I'm giving away an ARC of THE ELITES by Marie Lu. I've got one word for this book: Wow!
Friday that week I’m participating in the Gratitude Giveaway Blog Hop.
And the following Monday I’ll have a guest post by debut author Jennifer Torres and giveaway of THE DISAPPEARING, her MG sci-fi mystery.
Hope to see you on Monday!