A Conversation with Shonna Slayton, Author of SPINDLE (with a giveaway!)

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Welcome, Shonna! What 5 things should readers know about you?

  1. I’m always cold (bring a sweater wherever I go)
  2. I live in Phoenix, which is terribly hot, but the buildings are heavily air-conditioned….so I freeze.
  3. I’m terrible at remembering names (sorry!)
  4. I’m even worse at remembering numbers. Numbers fly right out of my head.
  5. I prefer cookies over cake unless it’s a Blackforest cake.

Numbers! They’re the instrument of the devil, I’m sure of it 😉

 

Where did the inspiration for this book come from?

I wanted to write another fairy tale similar in style to Cinderella’s Dress and Cinderella’s Shoes. So, by pure brainstorming I started working with ideas to create Spindle. Throw in a little of that “author’s gut feeling” and there you go.

Fantastic!

 

How long have you been writing, and what (or who) inspired you to start?

A bazillion years! I first realized in about 5th grade that I wanted to be a writer. My teacher that year kept reading amazing books to us, and I was hooked. I just wanted to be a part of the world of books, to give back to that which I’d gained so much already.

That’s fantastic! I love when teachers have a hand in it too 🙂

What are you working on right now? What can readers look for from you in the next year?

I’m writing another historical fairy tale—another of the “big” fairy tale stories. I’ve also got an original fairy tale sitting on my computer that I keep looking at. It doesn’t match my current line of retellings, but it’s cute, and I might self-publish it next summer. You heard it here first.

Awesome! Can’t wait!

What are you currently reading, and what are your thoughts about it so far?

I’m one of those people who has several books on the go all at once, currently I’m reading: Winter by Marissa Meyer, By Darkness Hid by Jill Williamson, and Tombstone from a Woman’s Point of View (the correspondence of Clara Spalding Brown in the 1880s.) This last book has been interesting since Clara was in Tucson when the famous shoot out between Wyatt Earp and Doc Holiday and the “cowboys” took place at the O.K. Corral.

Wow—quite a selection!


If you had to “sell” your book in a single Tweet, what would you say?

The evil fairy’s magic is wrapped up in the cursed spindle, and to be free of it she has to see a girl to the death.

Perfect!

 

About the author:shonna-slayton

SHONNA SLAYTON writes historical fairy tales for Entangled TEEN. Cinderella’s Dress and Cinderella’s Shoes, set in the 1940s are out now. Spindle, a Sleeping Beauty inspired tale set in the late 1800s, will be out October 2016.

She finds inspiration in reading vintage diaries written by teens, who despite using different slang, sound a lot like teenagers today. When not writing, Shonna enjoys amaretto lattes and spending time with her husband and children in Arizona.

The best way to keep in touch is by signing up for her monthly newsletter. She sends out behind-the-scenes info you can’t read anywhere else. Sign up is on the sidebar of her website Shonna Slayton.

 

Author Website: http://shonnaslayton.com/

Author Twitter: https://twitter.com/ShonnaSlayton

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Author Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/shonna.slayton/

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7326743.Shonna_Slayton

Newsletter: http://shonnaslayton.com/new-release-mailing-list/

spindle-cover

Spindle
by Shonna Slayton
Publication Date: October 4, 2016
Publisher: Entangled Teen

 

In a world where fairies lurk and curses linger, love can bleed like the prick of a finger

Briar Rose knows her life will never be a fairy tale. She’s raising her siblings on her own, her wages at the spinning mill have been cut, and the boy she thought she had a future with has eyes for someone else. Most days it feels like her best friend, Henry Prince, is the only one in her corner…though with his endless flirty jokes, how can she ever take him seriously?

When a mysterious peddler offers her a “magic” spindle that could make her more money, sneaking it into the mill seems worth the risk. But then one by one, her fellow spinner girls come down with the mysterious sleeping sickness…and Briar’s not immune.

If Briar wants to save the girls—and herself—she’ll have to start believing in fairy tales…and in the power of a prince’s kiss.

 

Excerpt:

She never asked Henry to walk her to the cottage. But that was the way with a Prince, as everyone said. They acted out of habit, and once a habit was established, it stayed that way. His new habit appeared to be trying to keep her mind off of Wheeler.

“They’re ridiculous,” he said scornfully as the couple in front of them touched hands for a few moments before separating again.

Briar’s heart cracked a little more. She remained silent, but fingered the fancy comb holding up her hair. The comb that Wheeler had given her for Christmas. And now they’re going to our pond. Is there no other place he can take her?

“You can hold my hand if it would make you feel better,” Henry said. He held out his calloused, grease-laden fingers for her to grab. His hand had grown since the last time he’d offered it to her.

She sighed. Henry. He was there when her family moved into the valley and would likely still be there when they moved out. She was told there’d never been a time when Sunrise Valley didn’t have a Henry Prince in it. From son back to father to grandfather and beyond, and none of them had ever gone anywhere. They were known as a reclusive family, hardly leaving their farm. Except for Henry. He was different.

Briar’s family had only been in the valley since Pansy was born. They were supposed to be traveling through, but then Da got a job at the new factory and they stayed. Mam worked, too, but developed the coughing sickness from all the cotton in her lungs. She died when the twin boys were born, and then when Da died of consumption, the Jenny children were stuck there, like weeds that nobody wanted.

Briar didn’t intend for them to stay any longer in Sunrise Valley than they had to. She would find a way out for her sister and brothers. Back to the Old Country like Mam wanted for them. Back to where they would fit in. And Henry Prince was not that way.

He wiggled his eyebrows at her.

Unguarded, she laughed. This particular Henry Prince was also known for being an audacious flirt.

 

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New Release Review: CINDERELLA’S DRESS by Shonna Slayton

A new YA historical with a touch of fantasy…

Cinderella’s Dress
by Shonna Slayton

Blurb:

Being seventeen during World War II is tough. Finding out you’re the next keeper of the real Cinderella’s dresses is even tougher.

Kate simply wants to create window displays at the department store where she’s working, trying to help out with the war effort. But when long-lost relatives from Poland arrive with a steamer trunk they claim holds the Cinderella’s dresses, life gets complicated.

Now, with a father missing in action, her new sweetheart, Johnny, stuck in the middle of battle, and her great aunt losing her wits, Kate has to unravel the mystery before it’s too late.

After all, the descendants of the wicked stepsisters will stop at nothing to get what they think they deserve.

Review:

I had such high hopes for this one…look at the cover! Read the blurb! Who doesn’t want to read a historical fiction/fairy tale modernization mashup? There’s oodles of potential here–and while it wasn’t a wasted read, it wasn’t quite what I was expecting (and hoping for) either.

What I did love about this book–or should I say who?–was the character of Johnny. He’s snarky but in a good-natured way; good-looking yet approachable. He didn’t hold a grudge, and he was a darn good letter writer. He makes an excellent YA book boyfriend, though he doesn’t get nearly enough page time here.

Another plus for me was the dresses. I loved the description of them as well as the concept. The ball gown especially has some sneaky mad skills (not going to spoil what they are here) that were unexpected and very cool. I would really have liked to have seen more about them, though, so I could really understand how that particular part of this novel’s world “worked”.

One thing I was really looking forward to was the WWII setting–to be honest, it’s a huge part of why I picked this book to read and review. Though there were many historical aspects that were mentioned and gave me warm historical fuzzies, overall I just didn’t get that feeling of total immersion in the time period that I was hoping for. The characters gave off a modern-day vibe throughout much of the book. Sure, the situations they were in were historical, but their reactions, comments, and actions didn’t always ring true to the era they were supposed it be in. I did love the letters back and forth between Kate and her brother, father, and sweetheart, though–they were a really fun touch.

The timeline of the novel was uneven–in parts time passed at a moderate pace with daily events described as they happened. Then there were gaps in time that went by without explanation, though, and it often took me a bit to realize that we’d gone forward in time from the paragraph before. (This could possibly be something that’s addressed in the final copy–maybe the ARC didn’t show an indicator that the final will, reflecting the shift in time?) It made the story feel somewhat disjointed, and this reader at least feeling like she was playing frequent catch up.

The odd pacing was reflected in the ending as well–everything happened very quickly, and not everything felt as if it were a natural progression of what had come before. There were pretty major loose ends left by the novel’s end, and no clear indication of whether or not there is going to be a second book. (If there is, I’ll probably give it a go–I really do want to know what happened with the characters who are left hanging, and how the dresses are doing in the future–plus, hopefully the narrative of book two will be tightened up more than that of book one.)

There also was some unnecessary repetition–of comments, thoughts, situations–that made it all the more frustrating when things I really wanted to know about (how do the dresses work? what do keepers do? what’s the real history behind the story–the drama between the descendants of Cinderella and the descendants of the stepsisters through the generations?) are only addressed in vague generalizations.

Kate’s character too was a bit of a mixed bag–on the whole she wasn’t bad, but she made some choices that just made me cringe. She was also really quick to make assumptions and then act on them without checking to see if they were holding true or not. (Also, her first kiss takes so long to come that at first I didn’t even realize it was the first one. Until she told me it was, that is.)

Overall, this book used a whole lot of words to tell not nearly enough story. There was so much potential here, but reading the novel felt as if you were just skimming over events, never really getting truly immersed in them. I probably will give book two–if there is one–a chance, but that will be more on the potential of this one than its reality.

Plus, I’d love to see more of Johnny. Not to mention Kate’s older brother Floyd….

Rating: 3 stars / C

I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.
View all my reviews