Please welcome Sarah Zettel to the blog! The third book in her American Fairy Trilogy series, BAD LUCK GIRL, just came out, and she kindly answered a few questions about it, and the series! Also, you can win a copy of BAD LUCK GIRL, so check out the details at the bottom of the post!
Sarah, will you tell us a little about BAD LUCK GIRL and the American Fairy Trilogy?
I’d be glad to. The thumbnail description I usually give is “fairies in the Dust Bowl.”
What did you enjoy most about writing Callie, and why do you think readers will connect with her?
Callie is a girl in the soup. She’s discovering the world around her is not what she thought it was, that she herself is far different and more powerful than she had previously believed. Yes, most people are not going to find out they’re half-fairy or that the Seelie and Unseelie courts are ready to go to war over them, but we all are in the process of discovery about our lives, and ourselves. This discovery, I think, it one of the strongest, deepest roots of storytelling.
What’s your writing process like? Are you a plotter or a pantser?
I always start out with an outline, partly because editors more or less require one so they can be sure you’ve got a complete idea if you’re not submitting a completed manuscript. However, by about page 100, the outline has gone sailing out the window and me and the story are both flying by the seat of our collective pants.
What have you enjoyed the most about writing the American Fairy Trilogy?
Getting to play in the unique world of American magic. I grew up loving the folklore that blossomed here, the shifting and blending of stories from all over the world into something unique. I got to bring all that in and mix it with things I love like old movies and music and some nods to books like The Wizard of Oz. It was Candyland for my imagination.
You wear many hats in your writing, and have written everything from mysteries to fantasy and even SF, but what do you enjoy most about writing for a younger audience?
There is a freedom and a true sense of wonder in writing for young readers. I’m really not sure what does it, but it’s definitely there. Maybe it’s remembering the sheer, viceral joy that reading gave me when I was younger. Even when I was delving into something difficult, or frightening or scary, there was that unadulterated sense of discovery and adventure. It all comes back when writing YA.
You’ve undoubtedly influenced many writers with your work, but what writers or books have influenced you the most?
Wow. What day is it? Got to start with Ursula K. Le Guin. It was her book THE TOMBS OF AUTUAN that flipped the switch in my head and made me determined to be a writer. L. Frank Baum, also. I learned to read out of THE WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ. Ray Bradbury, one of the greatest fantisists of the 20th century, definitely. The uncensored Brothers Grimm is in the mix, definitely, as is Hans Christian Anderson (and people complain about sex and violence in today’s writing! We got nothing on Anderson).
If you could experience one book again for the first time, which one would it be?
Probably WATERSHIP DOWN by Richard Adams. I adored that book from the moment I picked it up, and I keep going back to it. It is so emotionally rich. Plus, bunnies.
What’s next for you?
I always have more projects in the hopper than is good for me, or my long-suffering, hard-working agent. I’ve just finished the third book in my other YA historical trilogy: Palace of Spies. Book #2 in that series, Dangerous Deceptions, is coming out this November. I have a mid-grade book about a girl who finds unicorns and monsters living in the shopping mall her parents manage. I’m working on another historical YA set in Greenwich Village during the Red Scare. Oh, and did I mention the thriller, and the epic fantasy and…
*Wanna win a copy of BAD LUCK GIRL? Fill out the widget below, and I’ll pick a winner on July 5th (US only)!
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About BAD LUCK GIRL:
After rescuing her parents from the Seelie king at Hearst Castle, Callie is caught up in the war between the fairies of the Midnight Throne and the Sunlit Kingdoms. By accident, she discovers that fairies aren’t the only magical creatures in the world. There’s also Halfers, misfits that are half fairy and half other–laced with strange magic and big-city attitude. As the war heats up, Callie’s world falls apart. And even though she’s the child of prophecy, she doubts she can save the Halfers, her people, her family, and Jack, let alone herself. The fairies all say Callie is the Bad Luck Girl, and she’s starting to believe them.