Interview with Anna Staniszewski, Author of My Very Unfairy Tale Life and My Epic Fairy Tale Fail

Anna Staniszewski.JPGThank you to Anna Staniszewski, author of My Very Unfairy Tale Life and My Epic Fairy Tale Fail for answering my interview questions.

1.Was there a specific moment or idea that inspired writing My Very Unfairy Tale Life and My Epic Fairy Tale Fail?

The series evolved from a scene I wrote several years ago as a break from a dark, depressing project that was sucking the life out of me. I needed something fun to work on, so I sat down and wrote a pretty absurd scene about a girl and a talking frog. The girl was so funny and spunky that I knew I had to find out more about her.

 2. If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of writing or getting published that you would change?

I don’t think I’d change any part of the process. It was long and hard and sometimes frustrating, but I think those struggles made the payoff that much sweeter. Maybe I would warn my younger self that I was embarking on a journey that would require some serious patience, but that’s about it.

 3. Do you see bits of yourself, your family, your friends, or your life in your characters that surprise you?

It’s funny the things that work their way into my characters without me even realizing it. The minor characters in my books tend to have traits that reflect me (an obsession with tea, candy, and shiny things) but they also have a lot of characteristics that seem to come out of thin air.

 4. Do you have any set writing routine or rituals, or do you work as inspiration strikes?

My writing routine depends on where I am with a manuscript. If I’m drafting (which I find to be the hardest part) then I usually set a word count goal for myself to help me get through to the end. Once I have a full draft, then I often spend entire days revising until the manuscript is in decent shape.

 5. What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?

The opening chapter of the first book changed a lot during the revision process. The story was originally in third person, but when I decided to rewrite the first chapter in first person to see how it would sound, Jenny’s voice really came alive. After that, it was so much fun to see her tell her own story.

 6. Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with?

I love twisting fairy tales, so I wanted to focus on that even more in the second book. In My Epic Fairy Tale Fail I decided to send Jenny to the land where all fairy tales comes from. I loved playing with fairy tale stereotypes and seeing how far I could push them.

 7. What do you do when you are not writing?

When I’m not writing, I teach in the Children’s Literature program at Simmons College, I read A LOT, and I hang out with my family (and play with my dog).

 8. Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?

 Thank you, thank you, and thank you!

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, Mass. 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. You can visit her at
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