Everybody wants to live happily ever after right? You want to fall in love, get married, and have the perfect ending. In our booth today we are going to outline a path that will ensure you get all the things your hearts desires. But if you should stray from the path we design for you, the consequences will be grave. Here are the simple rules you will need to follow:
1. You must have a chaste heart
2. Keep your desires and thoughts pure and good
3. Have no jealous or prideful wishes
4. And the most important rule of all you are not to use magic.
Sounds easy right? Well if you can’t follow this path you will be redirected and instead of a happily ever after you will become a fairy godmother to a girl that knows how to follow the rules. Instead of finding happiness we will remove your loving heart so you will never be tempted to stray from the path again. So what do you say are you ready to have your fairytale come true?
*Enter to win Stray swag at the end of this post*
*Don’t forget to enter the grand giveaway for your chance to win 2 books featured during the Fall Carnival Event!!! Click HERE for your chance to win!*
DFT: Stray is a dark fantasy filled with adventure, magic, and romance with a fairytale feel too it. Was there a specific fairytale that you drew inspiration from to write the story?
Elissa: There are several fairy tales that helped create Aislynn’s world, but the one I drew the most inspiration from was Cinderella. I actually got the idea for STRAY while re-watching the Disney adaptation, though I incorporated a lot of the darker elements that tend to be found in earlier versions of the story.
DFT: In Stray you have created a type of society where women are forced to live a certain way or they are punished and shunned. Why did you decide to create this type of atmosphere? Were there any historical events that inspired you to create this type of society?
Elissa: Sadly creating the restrictive, patriarchal society in Stray wasn’t much of a stretch. There are plenty of historical examples of sexism, but there are just as many current events to draw from. All over the world there are belief systems, like the Path, obsessed with controlling women. Even in our own “enlightened” culture, there are daily examples of how much we fear women and their bodies – from high schools banning girls from wearing yoga pants because they’re too “distracting” to political pundits making jokes about how dangerous it would be to have a female president because she gets PMS and might blow up the globe. The roots of the Path are very present in our own world.
DFT: I loved watching Aislynn grow so much throughout the story. She started out very naive and unsure of herself. But as the story progressed she grew into a very confidant and strong women. Was it difficult to change her character so much in a realistic way? What do you think is Aislynn’s strongest asset that will help her the most on her journey?
Elissa: Thank you! I really love Aislynn, particularly because of her naiveté. We meet Aislynn before her journey has really even begun, which is a wonderful challenge for a writer. She’s someone who desperately wants to follow the Path, and I think it takes enormous bravery for her to begin to question the culture she’s been raised in, let alone act on that doubt. And I think that growing bravery is what will help her move forward and I’m so excited to explore where she’s going.
DFT: Thackery was one of my favorite characters and a great love interest, but you don’t really know much about him. Will we get to learn more about his past in the coming book? What was your favorite quality about him?
Elissa: I adore Thackery. I especially love that he’s kind of a gossip. Since all of the fairy godmothers, except for Aislynn, ignore him, I feel like he overhears a lot of things and tends to file that information away. We’ll definitely learn more about him in the next book, including how he got the scar on his neck.
DFT: Unlike most girls in her time Aislynn actually likes to eat. If she was to attend a carnival what would be the first food she would try?
Elissa: She’s rather fond of apples, so I think she’d go right for the caramel apples. I also think she’d get one of the really elaborate ones with nuts and candy.
DFT: If you can without spoiling anything can you tell us what your favorite scene to write was and why?
Elissa: One of my favorite scenes was actually added fairly late. Aislynn is doing her fairy godmotherly duties and helping Linnea get ready for her first ball. My awesome editor, Virginia, noted that there wasn’t much interaction between the two of them, somewhat unusual for girls getting ready for a party. So I added the moment where they practice dancing and the scene just took on a new life. It was so much fun to imagine them waltzing around Linnea’s room together. I love all the scenes between the two of them, but that one is my favorite.
DFT: If you could be a character in a book and could choose your happily ever after. What would it be like and why?
Elissa: Cimorene from The Enchanted Forest Chronicles. What I wouldn’t give to be the Head Cook and Librarian to the King of Dragons, especially if that meant I could go off on the occasional adventure with a certain messy-haired king.
DFT: Stray is your debut novel, what was your reaction when you found out that you were going to be published for the first time?
Elissa: There was some shouting, a few tears and a pretty exuberant happy dance in my living room. But honestly? It still hasn’t fully sunk in. I keep saying that it won’t feel real until I walk into a bookstore and see it on the shelves.
DFT: Since Stray is the first book in a series can you give us any hints on what to expect from the next book?
Elissa: New characters! The companion book, Burn, will follow two new characters (one who we meet at the end of Stray and another who will be completely new to readers) and explore a new part of the Four Kingdoms. But we’re not leaving Aislynn and her friends behind – they’ll continue to play an important role in the ongoing story.
This or That Carnival Style:
Fresh dipped corn dogs or Corn on the Cob? Corn on the Cob
The ringtoss game or the fishing pond? Fishing pond
Cotton Candy or Popcorn? Popcorn
The Ferris wheel or Carousal? Carousal
The talent show or the hypnotist show? Talent show
Elissa Sussman is a writer, a reader and a pumpkin pie eater.
Her debut novel, STRAY (Greenwillow Books/HarperCollins), is a YA fantasy about fairy 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.
Want to read more from Elissa Sussman?
This contest is provided by Elissa Sussman
One lucky reader will win Stray swag
Available October 7, 2014 from Greenwillow/HarperCollins
About this Book:
“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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