Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Talking to Anna Staniszewski about My Unfairy Tale Life

Today I’m welcoming fellow Sourcebooks sister Anna Staniszewski to chat about My Unfairy Tale Life! But since I’m in the middle of edits for both Anastasia Forever and The Sweet Dead Life, I’ve let Anne from the Dreaming Anastasia trilogy do the interviewing, as you will see below. I figured she’d do a good job since fairy tales and folklore play a big part in her fictional world, too. Anne’s been dealing with witches and mermaid ands guys who just won’t die. Interviewing My Unfairy Tale Life’s Jenny was fun for her! Plus Anne and Jenny decided that there should be a giveaway, so make sure to read to the end to find the deets about how to win an autographed copy of My Unfairy Tale Life!

But first, here’s Anna’s bio:

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 adopted black Labrador, Emma. When she’s not writing, Anna spends her time teaching, reading, and challenging unicorns to games of hopscotch. Her first novel, My Very UnFairy Tale Life, was released by Sourcebooks Jabberwocky on November 1, 2011. You can visit her at

And here’s what Amazon says about My Unfairy Tale Life:

You know all those stories that claim fairies cry sparkle tears and elves travel by rainbow? They're lies. All lies."-Twelve-year-old Jenny has spent the last two years as an adventurer helping magical kingdoms around the universe. But it's a thankless job, leaving her no time for school or friends. She'd almost rather take a math test than rescue yet another magical creature! When Jenny is sent on yet another mission, she has a tough choice to make: quit and have her normal life back, or fulfill her promise and go into a battle she doesn't think she can win.

And now here’s what Jenny told Anne about My Unfairy Tale Life:

Anne: So Jenny, I see that we have a lot in common: we both know that fairy tales are real! In your case, you're an adventurer. Can you explain what this is and how it has affected your life?

Jenny: Being an adventurer means that when a magical kingdom has a problem, I'm the one who has to come in and fix it. So even if I'm in school taking a math test or something, I have to drop everything and go be a hero. It was fun at first, but I've been doing this for three years, and I'm getting pretty tired. I mean, can you imagine having to save the day every single day for years? And believe me, magical creatures might sound great, but they can be really annoying.

Anne: I've had a lot of quests in my series, such as finding Anastasia, battling a witch named Baba Yaga.... how about you? What are some of your quests in My Unfairy Tale Life?

Jenny: Besides dealing with crazed unicorns, my biggest quest is trying to defeat a super evil sorcerer named Klarr. He's a totally creepy clown who hates mouths. Yup, mouths. And he loves imprisoning people and putting them into his circus act.

Anne: What three words would you use to describe yourself and why?

Jenny:Impulsive because I tend to act first and think about the consequences later. Lonely because being an adventurer has made me lose all my friends. And I guess brave, even though I don't always feel like it, but I usually have to face my fears in order to get things done.

Anne: What do you think readers are going to enjoy most about your story? Anything scary? Any lessons learned?

Jenny: I meet a lot of bizarre characters in my adventures, so I think readers will find them funny and definitely memorable. And since I go through a lot in my story, learning about myself and my place in the world, readers might be able to relate to that. Plus there's magic and monsters and mini-golf, so pretty much something for everyone.

Anne: What's up next for your fabulous author, Anna Staniszewski?

Jenny: Do you think she tells me anything? All she does is sit around typing away on her laptop. I want her to write more adventures for me (ones where I don't have risk my life), but we'll see what happens.

We are definitely following your career, Anna S! I predict great things!

Want to win an autographed copy of My Unfairy Tale Life? Here’s what you need to do: Comment on this blog and let us know what your favorite fairy tale or folkloric or mythological creature is and why. We’ll put the best answers in the contest hat and pick a winner. Maybe more than one… Contest will stay open until Sunday night 12/11 and winner will be announced on Monday.


Anna Staniszewski said...

Thanks so much for having Jenny (and me)!

kate said...

Love the interview between two characters! And I'd love to win Anna's book! I like all kinds of myths and folk tales, but I'm partial to Trickster myths because they're often funny (and I think it's cool, and very telling, that they appear in so many different cultures).

Ello - Ellen Oh said...

Oh sign me up for the contest!! I've been so pumped for this book for a long time and am getting a copy for my daughter for Christmas!

And favorite folklore character? it's the Korean Kumiho - a 9 tailed fox demon that desperately wants to be human and takes the form of a beautiful woman and eats men's livers and hearts.

AMP said...

This sounds delightful! Please enter me in the drawing.

jpetroroy said...

I'd love to be entered. Lovely interview! And a unicorn, of course :)
jpetroroy at gmail dot com

Jim Schmidt said...

Joy - terrific and clever and interesting! In one of my favorite books that I read this year (The LAst Dickens by Matthew Pearl) he included a section in the last pages in which one of the characters interviewed was great! You and your writer-friends are inspiring!


J Larkin said...

Great interview! And I've been seeing a lot about this book; I'm excited to read it!

I'm such a huge fairy tale/mythology nerd it's hard to pin down a favorite. I'm going to go with Baron Samedi and his wife, Maman Brigitte, from Louisianan Voodoo.

They are the skeletal loas (or 'gods,' as we would know them) of death. They dress up in ritzy clothes, are foul-mouthed and act as tricksters, though they have a protective and supportive side, too. The design of Dr. Facilier in 'The Princess and the Frog' was inspired by Baron Samedi.

I've been really interested in the Louisianan Voodoo mythos lately; the history of how it formed over years and from several different religions is as fascinating as the mythological figures themselves.

So does that count? If not, then...werewolves and vampires. As they were before, say, 2005.

Janet Fox said...

This is wonderful, Joy and Anna!

My favorite? I've always been partial to centaurs, based on those in the Narnia books. Of course, the Narnia centaurs are nice...which is not the case in the original mythology. Centaurs were cranky at best.

But I'll hang in there with them anyhow just because they look so gorgeous.

Sophia Chang said...

Beauty's Beast. I can't stand when he turns into a pansy prince. I wish he would stay a well-read, ascot-wearing 7-foot monster with paws forever!

Ella said...

Great interview!

I love fractured fairy tales, so any character who's been turned upside down makes me smile. But for straight fantasy, mermaids win (and, currently, elves-a-la-Tolkien come in second).

Jess Morrison said...

Love this interview! I think mermaids would have to be high up on my list of faves - when I was younger I even tried to teach myself to breathe underwater so I could swim off to my sea-kingdom. Long story short, it didn't work, but there's still time... ;)