{Interview/Excerpt} Soman Chainani, Author of The School for Good and Evil Series!

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by Soman Chainani
comes out in paperback 
The final book in the trilogy,
comes out on July 21st
(Which is--Hey!--5 days before my birthday!
I'm totally pretending Soman and Harper did this as a special present TO ME!!!) 
Is Soman Chainani touring near you this month!?

In Case You Missed It: 
I previously reviewed both  

Soman Chainani has also stopped by A Backwards Story twice to talk about both books:

Here's his first interview
His second interview includes an exclusive deleted scene!
He's also done a guest post talking about how his fans 
helped shape AWWP!

An interview with 
Soman Chainani

Soman Chainani's first novel, THE SCHOOL FOR GOOD AND EVIL, debuted on the New York Times Bestseller List, has been on ABA's National Indie Bestseller List for 11 weeks, has been translated into languages across six continents, and will soon be a major motion picture from Universal Studios. 

As a writer and film director, Soman's films have played at over 150 film festivals around the world, winning more than 30 jury and audience prizes, and his writing awards include honors from Big Bear Lake, New Draft, the CAPE Foundation, the Sun Valley Writer’s Fellowship, and the coveted Shasha Grant, awarded by a jury of international film executives. 

When he’s not telling stories or teaching in New York City, Soman is a die-hard tennis player who never lost a first-round match for ten years . . . until he started writing THE SCHOOL FOR GOOD AND EVIL. Now he loses all the time.

Check out Soman's website and follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr!
You can also take an epically awesome quiz to find out 
if you'll be accepted into the School For Good or the School For Evil!

Everyone is anxiously awaiting the release of THE LAST EVER AFTER this summer. What secrets can you tell us to tide us over?

It's the biggest book, both in length and scale. And where the other two books were a bit younger in their feel, this is a true old-fashioned epic. No one will have the faintest clue if it's MG, YA or something else, but that liminal space is where I'm happiest anyway. There's a whole glut of new characters and more twists than the two previous books combined, but at the heart of the book we're still focused on Sophie, Agatha, and Tedros and trying to get to the bottom of what their story really means.

That's giving you everything and giving you nothing at the same time, isn't it? That said, I've been posting lines from the book on Twitter every day; a truly intrepid reader will come along at some point and figure out the story before July 21.

Now that The School for Good and Evil is nearing its end, what's next? Will you incorporate more fairy tales into future novels or set more stories in this world?

I think everything I write is a fairy tale. It's just in my blood -- I'm a Disney baby so everything I write is in reaction to it or a response to it or an homage to it. This is definitely the end of this particular trilogy in SGE, but it isn't the end of the world. We'll announce plans soon for what's next. That said, for my next full-length novel or series, I'll probably do something different. I think after THE LAST EVER AFTER, everyone will feel like Sophie, Agatha and Tedros' story is finished for now.Tell us the truth, would you be in the School for Good or the School for Evil if you were a student there?

Tell us the truth, would you be in the School for Good or the School for Evil if you were a student there?

I can be comically high maintenance (my friends joke Sophie is the real me), so I’d surely be an overachieving Ever and the most regular user of the Groom Room (the medieval spa, which only the top ranked students are allowed to use). That said, Evil’s classes have no boundaries – for sheer entertainment value alone, I can see the allure.

That’s if I had a choice. In the process of writing the book, I realized I wasn’t quite sure which school I would actually end up in– so I created an online assessment to answer that question. At  www.schoolforgoodandevil.com, every reader can take a 10-question SGE Entrance Exam to determine whether they’re an Ever or a Never. I wrote all the questions myself and there’s a bank of over 100, so the questions change every time.

I’ve taken it a number of times, trying to be as honest as I can, and I always end up 75% Evil and 25% Good. Those who read the series will agree that this isn’t a surprising result in the least.

Which fairytale villain would you never want to reform and why?

Maleficent, because I like how quiet she is. She has so much authority that she knows she never has to raise her voice. As for the movie Maleficent, that just came out, for those of you who've seen it, you can imagine what i think of its ending. I'm not a fan of changing a villain's story so they survive in the end -- because it invalidates the original story to some extent. I'd rather work within the existing framework and find new subversions.

If you could own any magical object from a fairy tale (spinning wheel, magic mirror, glass slipper, poison apple, etc.), what would you choose and why?

A fairy godmother's wand.  I always wanted one, because it seems so delicate and yet powerful.

Which fairytale mode of transportation would you want to try out? (eg. Cinderella's pumpkin coach, seven league boots, ship, flying carpet, etc...)

This is a tough one.  I feel as though everything turns out to be unreliable or have some unsavory catch.  That said, one of the boats in The Twelve Dancing Princesses could be fun, if only because your end destination is a secret castle where everyone dances the night away and I looovvvee dancing. I'm tempted to just do a book tour where we skip the talk part and just dance.
This or That?

Dragon or kraken?

Kraken. No Dragons Ever. So overused! If I ever use a dragon in anything, kill me.

Mermaid or princess?

Mermaid, because Disney turned princesses pink forever and ever and there's something still ambiguous/dangerous about mermaids.

Befriend the birds or the mice?

Neither -- surely there are more useful creatures to befriend! Also birds tend to poo on me. I have a pooable head.

Baba Yaga or a Djinn?

Baba Yaga, since she's a powerful woman who's a wild card.  She's not a villain outright, which I like.

Invisbility cloak or golden ball?

Definitely invisibility cloak. I'm a big fan of Karl Lagerfeld and I remember they asked him what superpower he'd like if he could choose one -- he picked invisibility because it would let him "commit robberies." Can't say I disagree.

B O O K   T R A I L E R:

    And now, a super special never-before-seen 
    by Soman Chainani!

    (This scene was first posted on A Backwards Story
    on April 24, 2014 for the 
    fourth annual Fairy Tale Fortnight!)

    And just for you, Bonnie, here’s a deleted scene from THE SCHOOL FOR GOOD AND EVIL. We had to cut it for pacing, but I loved its bawdiness and miss it sometimes. But I’ll feel better now that it will live here on your blog.
    ~Soman Chainani

    Remarkably enough, Sophie was much further along towards solving the riddle.

    Her first-place rank in Uglification had silenced the hobgoblin taunts and reminded the Nevers they were still dealing with a villain who had vanquished a Golden Goose and beaten all of their Special Talents. Throwing her nervous looks as they slogged to the belfry, the Nevers arrived to find Castor looming over two horned billy goats.

    "This is Biggle," he said, pointing to a white goat with black streaks. "And this is Boggle,” he nodded to a black goat with white streaks. "Your challenge is to make them attack each other!"

    The students stared at Biggle and Boggle, nuzzling each other sweetly as they shared a bale of straw. 

    "They're snuggling," gaped Hort.

    "Forgot that part," said Castor. "They're brothers."

    Everyone tried Castor's Henchmen Training Tactics to make the two brothers fight. Vex tried to ‘command’ them, but animals don’t understand Nevers. Ravan tried to ‘taunt’ them by kicking their hay around, but the goats just took a nap. Hort ‘bribed’ them with a carrot, but Boggle pinned him down while Biggle ate it. Hester 'bullied' them by knocking their heads together, but Biggle spit in her eye and Boggle peed on her foot. Finally the goats had enough of all this and rammed Beezle around the belfry ("Devil's goats!" he screeched).

    "You're the sorriest pack of losers I've ever seen," growled Castor. "And that's sayin' something considering your school ain't produced a winner in two hundred years!"

    Everyone stared at their shoes, shamefaced.

    "Henchmen have to know you're their Master. Then they'll do whatever you ask, even if it means fighting their own blood. Now most creatures respond to a few basic moves --"

    While Castor demonstrated, Sophie tuned out and chewed the School Master's riddle.

    What does a villain never have that a princess cannot do without?

    Her first instinct was "Rumplestiltsken," but that didn't make much sense. "Class" was her second, but there were plenty of villainous queens with good breeding. Villains lacked proper skin care regimes, but that didn't mean they could never have one. Same went with pink dresses and cucumber juice.

    Crap riddle-solver this one is, came a voice.

    Total crap, said another.

    Sophie saw the two goats staring at her. Like the goose, they could apparently hear her thoughts.

    What's the answer, then? Sophie asked.

    What a princess got that a villain don’t? said Biggle. Easy.

    Good bowels, said Boggle.

    When in doubt, poo it out, said Biggle.

    They burst into hoary laughter. Biggle clutched his stomach. Carrot gave me rumbles.

    Then why'd you eat it you tosser, said Boggle.

    Biggle scowled. Should have shoved it up Weasel Boy's --

    Now my tummy's turnin', said Boggle

    What I'd do for Mummy's tea, said Biggle and passed gas noisily.

    When they gonna let us do our business? said Boggle, ripping his own fart.

    Sophie held her nose. Once again, her ability to hear animal thoughts had yielded more trouble than use. Did every 100% Good Princess have to deal with this?

    Evers feed us good, said Boggle.

    Evers are pretty and clean, said Biggle.

    Evers can solve riddles, said Boggle.

    Not like this clown, said Biggle.

    Sophie's chest tightened. Did she put on too much blush?

    Dumb bird ain't ever gonna solve that riddle, said Biggle.

    All that chat of cucumbers and diets, said Boggle.

    Needs an Ever, said Biggle.

    Needs a good poo sounds like, said Boggle.

    The goats collapsed in bleating laughs. Sophie's hands tightened into fists.

    Why we even here, moaned Biggle.

    Numpty Nevers.

    Nosy Nevers. Why we here? Biggle called out.

    Yeah Clownface, yelled Boggle. Why we here?

    Sophie whipped around. Because we're going to kill one of you. And we're trying to decide which one.

    The goats stopped laughing. They looked at each other nervously. Then at Sophie.

    Have you, uh, decided? choked Biggle.

    Sophie nodded.

    Which one? trembled Boggle. 

    Sophie smiled. The weaker one.

    Well I'm stronger! bellowed Biggle.

    No I'm stronger! howled Boggle.

    You lying, stinking --

    And just like that, the two brothers attacked each other, sparking a braying, murderous brawl. As Biggle gouged Boggle's stomach, Boggle bit Biggle's neck, and horns slammed and splintered, Sophie turned around and put her fingers in her ears, finally able to focus on the riddle --

    Only the whole class was staring at her.

    "You made them... fight?" Castor asked, flabbergasted.

    With another first-place rank, Sophie was only a few places from overtaking Hester in the race for Class Captain. Hester sprung into action.

    "How about poison in her food?" she said, as she stomped to her room with Anadil and Dot.

    "She doesn't eat far as I can tell," said Anadil.

    "How about poisoned lipstick?" said Hester.

    "Or Black Widows in her bed?" asked Anadil.

    "They’ll lock us in the Doom Room for weeks!" fretted Dot.

    "I don't care how we do it or how much trouble we get in,” Hester hissed. “I want that snake gone.”

    A WORLD WITHOUT PRINCES by Soman Chainani
     Publication date: April 15, 2014
    Publisher: HarperCollins

    In the epic sequel to the New York Times bestselling novel, THE SCHOOL FOR GOOD AND EVIL, Sophie and Agatha are home, living out their Ever After. But life isn’t quite the fairy tale they expected. 

    When Agatha secretly wishes she’d chosen a different happy ending, she reopens the gates to the School for Good and Evil. But the world she and Sophie once knew has changed. Witches and princesses, warlocks and princes are no longer enemies. New bonds are forming; old bonds are being shattered. But underneath this uneasy arrangement, a war is brewing and a dangerous enemy rises. 

    As Agatha and Sophie battle to restore peace, an unexpected threat could destroy everything, and everyone, they love—and this time, it comes from within. 

    Soman Chainani has created a spectacular world that Newbery Medal-winning author Ann M. Martin calls, “a fairy tale like no other, complete with romance, magic, and humor that will keep you turning pages until the end.”