Shonna Slayton Interview

spindle-for-twitterShonna Slayton was kind enough to answer a question about her new book, Spindle.  Here goes:

Me: I would like to know what made you decide to do a retelling of Sleeping Beauty?  The retelling sounds interesting and I am wondering what gave you the idea and also what helped you build up the story to be more complex than the original fairy tale?


To tell how I got to Sleeping Beauty, I have to talk about Cinderella.
My debut novel, Cinderella’s Dress, was inspired by two ideas mixing around in my head. The first was a picture book of the same name which showed a young girl sliding down a modern-looking banister with a fancy dress on. I immediately thought: Cool! Cinderella kept her dress and passed it down to her daughter. But that wasn’t what that picture book was about. I still liked the idea, though, that the dress became a family heirloom.
The second idea that mixed into the story was a line I read in a department store history book that mentioned women were not hired as window dressers in the big department stores until the 1940s when so many of the men went off to war and new opportunities opened up for women. This intrigued me because in high school I worked retail and had the opportunity to design several display windows. Why didn’t women have this job until the 1940s?
Somehow, those two ideas clicked in my mind, and I wanted to write a story set in the 1940s involving Cinderella’s heirloom dress and a fancy New York Department Store.
Back to Sleeping Beauty.
I enjoyed writing a mash up of history and fairy tale so much, I wanted to try it with another fairy tale. Which one to try next? I thought of several fairy tales that have an object that I could put into another time period. But when I thought about the spindle from Sleeping Beauty I knew I had the right one. Whereas Cinderella’s dress would be an heirloom any girl would love to have…a cursed spindle? Not so much.
Next, I had to choose a time period. What time would best display a spindle? It didn’t take too much poking around to find the spinning machines in the cotton mills in the 1800s. They were filled with spindles.
To help round out the story, I created several bubble charts listing the elements of the fairy tale in the center, for example, the spindle. From there I drew spokes listing things I knew about the spindle from the original fairy tale. Then I asked how, what, when, where, why, what if? questions until a new story started to form.
For the historical details I delved into the world of the spinning girls–their work, their living conditions, and created characters based on those I read about.
From there, it was a matter of trusting my instincts and following the new path the story was on.
SHONNA SLAYTON writes historical fairy tales for Entangled TEEN. She finds inspiration in reading vintage diaries written by teens, who despite using different slang, sound a lot like teenagers today. When not writing, Shonna enjoys amaretto lattes and spending time with her husband and children in Arizona.
Find out more about Shonna’s books, including how to download a free one, at
In a world where fairies lurk and curses linger, love can bleed like the prick of a finger
Briar Rose knows her life will never be a fairy tale. She’s raising her siblings on her own, her wages at the spinning mill have been cut, and the boy she thought she had a future with has eyes for someone else. Most days it feels like her best friend, Henry Prince, is the only one in her corner…though with his endless flirty jokes, how can she ever take him seriously?
When a mysterious peddler offers her a “magic” spindle that could make her more money, sneaking it into the mill seems worth the risk. But then one by one, her fellow spinner girls come down with the mysterious sleeping sickness…and Briar’s not immune.
If Briar wants to save the girls―and herself―she’ll have to start believing in fairy tales…and in the power of a prince’s kiss.
Thank you Shonna!  This is my favorite fairy tale retelling to date!

Pieces of You and Me

Erin Fletcher poyam

I have read and reviewed Erin Fletcher’s Pieces of You and Me and I loved it!  I have asked her a few questions and to share an excerpt of her book.

The Thought Spot Excerpt and Questions

Author: Erin Fletcher

Book title: Pieces of You and Me


Question 1: What encouraged you to write Pieces of You and Me?


I really wanted to write about childhood sweethearts who were apart for a long period of time and then reunited. Chase and Rylee were best friends in middle school, but were separated for five years due to circumstances beyond their control. Of course, teenagers change a lot from middle school to high school, so things are very different when they see each other again. Some changes are good. Some are…not so good. I wanted to write about whether or not they could be together again despite those differences.


The characters themselves were inspired while I was out for a walk in my neighborhood. I was walking down a hill when I heard a noise behind me. I turned and there were two teens riding down the middle of the street, the guy on the back of the board and the girl in front. His arms were around her waist, palms flat on her stomach, holding her close and keeping her safe. Her arms were out at her sides, like she was flying down that hill. It looked like one of those little moments they’d remember for a long time. I captured that moment in the form of Rylee and Chase.


Stay tuned to read the excerpt from the skateboard scene!


Question 2: What struggles did you encounter in writing/publishing your book?


My biggest struggle is always having enough time to write! I have a full time job, a part time job, I volunteer once a week, and then I have other life/friends/family stuff. I try to get up at 4:37 a.m. and write before going to my day job, but it’s hard to have enough energy for that! I also try to write on my lunch break at work. Most of my writing is done on the weekend, so I think we need more weekends than weekdays! I have a coffee mug that says “I’d rather be writing” and that’s almost always true!




Chase extended an arm, like he was asking me to dance. I accepted and stepped carefully onto the board. It rocked a little, but Chase quickly steadied us.

“Is this really your first time on a skateboard?” he asked.

“Have I ever seemed like the skateboarding type to you?”

He laughed, dissolving some of the tension. “Point taken. Okay.” He put his hands low on my hips. His touch was even warmer than the afternoon sun. “Turn your front foot a little, so you’re pointing down the hill.”

I did, and it forced my hips to turn so I was facing the front instead of the side. Nerves clenched at my stomach again, and then exploded when he let go. “Chase!”

He laughed and wrapped his arms around me so they rested low on my stomach, so my back was pressed up against his chest. “Sorry. Is that better?”

“Much,” I said, and grabbed onto his arm so he couldn’t pull a stunt like that again.

He flattened his palms against my stomach. “Relax,” he whispered. “Don’t worry about falling or school or us or your friends or anything. Trust me.”

Only when I let my muscles relax a little did I realize just how tense I had been.

“Better,” he said. “Okay. Ready?”

I forced myself to nod.

The board wobbled as he stepped off with one foot and pushed against the pavement, but he didn’t let go. I gripped his arm tighter as I felt the physics of Chase’s push ending and gravity taking over. My feet vibrated as we rolled over the pavement, picking up speed. The board started drifting to the left, away from the yellow lines. “Chase!” I yelled, imagining us crashing into the curb, or worse, one of the parallel-parked cars that were coming up.

“I got it,” he said with a laugh, easily adjusting our weight and successfully pointing us straight again.

He did have it. In this ride that hovered on the brink of being out of control, Chase was in control. He wasn’t going to let anything bad happen to us. I leaned in to him and felt my muscles relax as adrenaline replaced the last tendrils of fear. The hill steepened, and we picked up speed. The wind whipped my hair over my shoulder. I squealed, but more out of excitement than anything.

He laughed, and I felt it against my back more than I heard it over the wheels against the pavement. “Feels like flying, doesn’t it?” he asked.

was flying. I had left the past at the top of the hill and now it was just Chase and me, flying, soaring, touching the sky. Ever so carefully, I loosened the grip on his arms and extended my own arms to the side. He loosened his grip as well, but true to his word, didn’t let go.

Soon, too soon, the road was leveling out, and we were slowing down. Chase didn’t stop, letting us slow to a crawl. I found myself unable to quit laughing. When he finally let go, I bent double with my hands on my knees, wind-whipped hair falling over my face. As the last dredges of adrenaline left my body, I felt Chase step off the skateboard, but I stayed put. I turned to face him, the board beneath my feet giving me a height advantage I didn’t usually have. I kissed him, tasting wind and speed and adventure. The reward.