{Guest Post/Giveaway} The Writing Process Behind the Historical Fairy Tale CINDERELLA'S DRESS by Shonna Slayton

Love fairy tales and mythology?
Fans of mermaids, dragons, unicorns, and other mythical creatures?
Enjoy when a beloved classic tale is retold?
A Twist in the Tail Thursdays features all this and more!


Tour Schedule:
Week One:
6/2/2014- Zach's YA ReviewsReview
6/2/2014- Dark NovellaExcerpt
6/3/2014- Angelic Book ReviewsReview
6/3/2014- Pages From My ThoughtsInterview
6/4/2014- YA Book MadnessReview
6/4/2014- The Cover ContessaGuest Post
6/5/2014- Crossroad ReviewsReview
6/5/2014- Such a Novel IdeaGuest Post
6/6/2014- The NerdHerd ReadsReview
6/6/2014- Fire and IceExcerpt

Week Two:
6/9/2014- Racing To Read- Review
6/9/2014- Paranormal Book ClubInterview
6/10/2014- The Phantom ParagrapherReview
6/10/2014- Addicted ReadersGuest Post
6/11/2014- Creating SerenityReview
6/11/2014- Every Free Chance Book ReviewsInterview
6/12/2014- A Backwards StoryGuest Post
6/13/2014- The YA's NightstandReview
6/13/2014- Curling Up With A Good BookExcerpt


Shonna Slayton finds inspiration in reading vintage diaries written by teens, who despite using different slang, sound a lot like teenagers today. While writing Cinderella’s Dress she reflected on her days as a high-school senior in British Columbia when she convinced her supervisors at a sportswear store to let her design a few windows—it was glorious fun while it lasted. When not writing, Shonna enjoys amaretto lattes and spending time with her husband and children in Arizona. You can visit her website at shonnaslayton.com

The Writing Process Behind the Historical Fairy Tale Cinderella’s Dress 
by Shonna Slayton

For me, writing is a combination of treasure hunt and puzzle solving. When starting out, I usually have a story spark or two. These are the starting puzzle pieces. Then I go on a treasure hunt to find more pieces. When I have a pile of odd shapes, I work at putting them together, moving things around until they click, and a story picture begins to form.

Story Sparks

For CINDERELLA'S DRESS, I had two story sparks. One was a picture book by the same name, CINDERELLA'S DRESS. The cover image is a girl in a ball gown sliding down a bannister. My mind immediately jumped to the conclusion she was a descendant of Cinderella’s and the dress had gone on adventures. (The picture book story is actually about how the animals helped make her dress.) 

The second story spark came from research I was doing for a 1930s fairy tale I was writing. For one scene, I needed to find out where someone would buy a book in the 1930s. A dedicated bookstore or a department store or general store? I got hold of a book called SERVICE AND STYLE by Jan Whitaker and was struck by the line:

“Until the personnel shortage of World War II, department store window display staff were all male.”

I had never heard of this before, and it brought up all kinds of images in my mind. Why were display staff all male? When I was a teenager, I got to help put in window displays and it was a lot of fun. My gut told me there was a story there. (FYI—the reasons I found: the job was physically demanding, it took place over night, and in cramped spaces shared with men, and, at least in New York during the early 40s, women could only work until 10:00pm.)

As I daydreamed, the two puzzle pieces clicked. I felt a great need to put Cinderella’s dress in a department store window during WWII. All I had to do was figure out why, and how?

First Draft

I wrote the skeleton of the novel during National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) back in 2008. Drafting, for me, is the hardest part of writing. It’s almost physically painful to get those first words down. I like setting aside the month of November to join the camaraderie of other writers and blast through a first draft. You could assume I’m a bare-bones first drafter.

Finding the story

After NaNoWriMo I spent a lot of time researching the 1940s. I had the basic story, but pieces were missing and I was hoping I’d find the answers in history. I did, in some surprising ways. *Not telling!*

Also, my first draft mimicked the Cinderella fairy tale a lot more than in the final version. Kate’s mom started out a lot more like the wicked stepmom, and I considered giving Kate two sisters instead of a brother, etc. 

But I reminded myself I wasn’t doing a fairy-tale retelling, but an extension. I had to let the book become its own story. It soon took on a more historic feel. 

The challenge with choosing WWII was keeping a balance between honoring the times (terrible war and sacrifice—think CODE NAME VERITY, YA novel) with a home front in the United States where people were removed from the war and there was a certain lightness in living, despite the sacrifices they were making—think SUMMER AT TIFFANY, a memoir that could easily be YA.

Finding a tribe of readers

The novel cycled through the traditional query/rejection/revise cycle until Entangled Teen made an offer in June 2013. I’d found my editor! Actually, it turned out I found two editors! (Theresa M. Cole and Stacy Abrams.) After years of searching for the right home, I’d found it. In fact, one of the interns tweeted me this week that she thought CINDERELLA'S DRESS was “a 1940's story full of adorableness.” *Grin* I found my people.

O F F I C I A   I N F O:

Author: Shonna Slayton
Release Date: June 3, 2014
Publisher: Entangled Teen

Being seventeen during World War II is tough. Finding out you’re the next keeper of the real Cinderella’s dress 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 dress, life gets complicated. 

Now, with a father missing in action, her new sweetheart shipped off to boot camp, 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.


Ready to check out

Enter to win...

1 Signed copy of Cinderella's Dress, 
an Amber sun pendant set in sterling silver, 
a Tatting shuttle and thread, 
a dress form ornament, 
and bookmark swag. 

US Only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. This book looks really interesting! I love reading about an author's writing process.

  2. This sounds good! Looking forward to checking it out.

    Thank you for this great giveaway.

  3. This book sounds really original and totally original. I'm always impressed with how awesome nanowrimo novels are. My own draft that I wrote in 2012 is still collecting dust. I'm hoping to rewrite the story again this year during nanowrimo for the third time.

  4. Thanks for having me on your blog today. *waves back at commenters* Now, I'm asking myself: How did I not know of this event called Fairy Tale Fortnight!?!? Will there be a 5th annual event?

  5. I'm intrigued! I've already checked Amazon.com for the kindle edition

  6. I didn't know this book, but now that I do, I really want to read it ! Thanks for the giveaway :)


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