One of my favorite things about this story is Jenny, especially all her sass and spunk. Which did you come up with first: Jenny the character, or her story?
I'm usually a story-first writer, but in this case, the character definitely came first. The earliest scene I ever wrote about Jenny featured her coming home to find a talking frog sitting on her bed. She was so annoyed by the sight of the talking frog--she actually threw him out a window!--that I knew I had to find out more about her.
In what ways are you like Jenny? How are you two different? And who would win in a crazed-unicorn jousting competition? In a cheesy-saying competition?
Jenny is the kind of person I wish I could be. She's brave and spunky while I'm pretty shy and wimpy. We do share a similar weird sense of humor, though. Jenny would definitely have the upper-hand in a crazed-unicorn jousting competition, but I think we'd be pretty evenly matched when it came to a battle of cheesy sayings.
Jenny grew up a lot from the beginning of book 1 to the end of book 3. What do you think she'll be doing when she grows up even more?
It's been so much fun to see Jenny growing up and embracing her adventurer identity. I imagine that one day she might even mentor young adventurers just like Dr. Bradley has done for her.
Can you tell us what you're writing next? Will Jenny or any of her friends from the magical worlds show up in future books?
I think Jenny is relieved that I'll be leaving her alone and moving on to torturing different characters! Up next is the first book in my next tween series, The Dirt Diary, which comes out in January. The new series is realistic fiction, but I think it has the same type of humor that UnFairy Tale fans have come to expect.
What advice would you give to young writers?
Never stop writing! I speak from experience. I've loved writing for most of my life, but for a few years, I let myself get distracted by all the other things I had on my plate. If you love to write then always make it a priority, no matter what.
What advice would you give to young adventurers (even if they are stuck in this world)?
Hang in there! I know life in a non-magical world can be a little boring, but you can find adventure in our world, too. You just have to keep your eyes and ears open, and always be ready to save the day with a cheesy saying or two. :-)
Born in Poland and raised in the United States, Anna Staniszewski grew up loving stories in both Polish and English. She was named the 2006-2007 Writer-in-Residence at the Boston Public Library and a winner of the 2009 PEN New England Susan P. Bloom Discovery Award. Currently, Anna lives outside of Boston with her husband and their black Labrador, Emma.
When she’s not writing, Anna spends her time teaching, reading, and challenging unicorns to games of hopscotch. She is the author of My Very UnFairy Tale Life and its sequels, My Epic Fairy Tale Fail and My Sort of Fairy Tale Ending, all published by Sourcebooks Jabberwocky. Look for the first book in Anna’s next tween series, The Dirt Diary, in January 2014, and visit her at www.annastan.com.