Sarah: Since princesses are our thing, maybe we should go for tea? And cookies. Lots of cookies. Speaking of princesses, if you were on a deserted island, what princess would you want to have with you? Also, if you could only bring one giant cookie with you, what kind of cookie would it be?
Shannon: Ooh, high tea with a princess on a deserted island! Count me in. I'd definitely bring a princess who could hunt, forage, build shelter, and defend me from wild beasts while I nibbled on my enormous homemade chocolate chip cookie (the soft kind with huge milk chocolate chips).
Sarah: We should invite the Little Mermaid with us too in case we want to get off the island. She can swim out and flag down a boat while we eat cookies and read each other’s books. I loved Austenland, and the Ever After High books look like so much fun.
Shannon: Thanks! Ever After High has been a total dessert project for me—all fun, no bones. Mattel created the world—webisodes, dolls, games, etc.—and asked me to write books about the characters. I love the concept that the children of famous fairy tales are supposed to grow up and relive their parents’ destinies so that each generation has the stories. Apple White is keen to be the next Snow White like her mother was and claim her Happily Ever After, but Raven Queen is not terribly eager to be the next Evil Queen. And they’re roommates! So awkward. My favorite character is Madeline Hatter (daughter of the Mad Hatter). Maddie is mad, zany, funny, and can hear the narrator—which would be such a useful superpower. Now please dish about your fabulous Whatever After books.
Sarah: In the Whatever After series, Abby and her little brother Jonah fall into fairy tales and accidentally mess them up. In book 1, Fairest of All, they stop Snow White from eating the poisoned apple. But if Snow White never gets poisoned, she never gets saved by the prince. In If the Shoe Fits, they break Cinderella’s glass slipper; in Bad Hair Day, they chop off Rapunzel’s hair. After they unintentionally derail the fairy tales, Abby and Jonah have to help the characters find new happy endings. Ones that involve careers...and not just marrying princes they met three seconds ago. I love fairy tales, but I always disliked the save-the-damsel-in-distress endings. Whatever After is my chance to inject them with humor and girl-power.
Shannon: At what point in the writing process do you decide on the new happy ending?
Sarah: From the very beginning. I start every book with a five- to- ten-page outline. Then I go scene by scene and write a very loose draft, which is mostly dialogue. I generally go in order, but if I’m inspired, I jump ahead. Then I flesh the scenes out. Then I edit. A lot.
Shannon: With the Ever After High books, I wrote detailed ten-page outlines before starting, but with other books I sometimes just start writing, following a character to see where she goes. No matter if I plan in detail or fly by the seat of my pants, I always do a lot of revisions. Now, Sarah, we need a new happy ending for this conversation. Care to write us off?
Sarah: And we both lived happily ever after. Writing books and eating homemade chocolate chip cookies. The end!