Thursday, October 09, 2014

2AMC: Elissa Sussman, author of Stray

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Stray has just celebrated it's book birthday on October 7 and I'm excited because you know how I loved fairytales. This is one of my most anticipated Fall 2014 titles from Harper Collins and I am so happy that I had the opportunity to interview and feature its author here today. So without further ado, Elissa Sussman

About Writing:
While you were in the process of writing this book, have you ever doubt yourself or second guess the reason why you are writing this story? If yes, how did you overcome those obstacles?

I think every writer has those moments – I’m certainly no different. There’s always a point after getting really great, but intensive notes from someone, usually my editor, where I’m so daunted by the work that needs to be done that I just want to curl up on my couch and watch Star Trek TNG. With ice cream. Which is what I usually do. But then, once I’ve gotten it out of my system, I write lists. And I outline. I take my notebook and write down every question that needs to be answered. Then I go walking, or take a shower or lie down and pretend to take a nap, just allowing my brain to work through the problems that need solving. At some point during that process, I start to feel good about the project again and that’s when it’s time to work.

About Getting Published:
As an aspiring author, hearing about how authors got published is always fascinating and inspiring for me. So can you tell us your journey to publication? And what was the first thing you did or said after you got the news about the book deal?

My publishing story is pretty traditional. After I had a version of STRAY that I was confident with, I made a list (see the pattern?) and built a spreadsheet of all the agents I was interested in querying. And when I had a query letter I felt good about, I just starting emailing them. It took about five months and sixty queries to find my agent, the amazing Samantha Shea. We worked on STRAY together until Samantha felt it was ready to go out on submission. A few months later I got the call saying that Greenwillow wanted to publish it. There was a lot of jumping and crying and phone calls to my family. I think I said “oh my god” quite a few times.

About Being an Author:
Tell us what it's like to be a published author? What was your most favorite moment in this whole experience, aside from seeing and holding a physical copy of your book?

Hearing from readers absolutely makes my day. Knowing that you’ve created this world and these characters and now other people are experiencing it is the greatest thrill. I’m so happy when I learn that others are just as invested in the world of STRAY as I am.

About the Book:
Just like superheroes, I think it's safe to say that books also has an origin story before they became what they are right now. It might started out as a thought, an experience, a dialogue you heard, a conversation with a friend, or an idea that has been plaguing your brain for quite sometime. So tell us, what's your book's origin story? And what made you decide to write it?

My book was the child of a women’s history class and a re-watching of Disney’s CINDERELLA. I was writing a paper on the representation of women in animated films and for the first time really took notice of how Cinderella’s fairy godmother was portrayed. Initially STRAY was a book about a fairy godmother academy, but after “developing” it for five or so years, I finally decided that I had done enough thinking and it was time to actually do some writing.

About the Author:
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Elissa Sussman is a writer, a reader and a pumpkin pie eater.

Her debut novel, STRAY (Greenwillow Books/HarperCollins), is a YA fantasy aboutfairy godmothers, magic and food. She received her BA from Sarah Lawrence College and in a previous life managed animators and organized spreadsheets at some of the best animation studios in the world, including Nickelodeon, Disney, Dreamworks and Sony Imageworks. You can see her name in the credits of THE CROODS, HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA, THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG and TANGLED.

She currently lives in Los Angeles with her boyfriend and their rescue mutt, Basil

Title: Stray (Four Sisters #1)
Genre/s: YA Fantasy, Fairytale Retelling
Publisher: Greenwillow Books/HarperCollins
Publication Date: October 7, 2014
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“I am grateful for my father, who keeps me good and sweet. I am grateful for my mother, who keeps her own heart guarded and safe. I am grateful for my adviser, who keeps me protected. I am grateful for the Path, which keeps me pure. Ever after.”

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.

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