Book Nerd Interview
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, Mass. with her husband and their adopted black Labrador, Emma. When she’s not writing, Anna spends her time teaching, reading, and challenging unicorns to games of hopscotch. You can visit her at www.annastan.com.
What was your first introduction to MG literature, the one that made you choose that genre to write?
When I think about the books that really influenced me as a reader, they were all MG novels: A Wrinkle in Time, The Secret Garden, Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH. I loved books that whisked me off to another time or place—and I still do!
What’s one thing that readers would be surprised to find out about you?
I often describe myself as a total wimp (especially compared to my character Jenny who is feisty and brave) but I am a little bit of an adrenaline junkie sometimes. In fact, I’ve even jumped out of a plane. On purpose!
Did you learn anything from writing My Epic Fairy Tale Fail and what was it?
Writing a sequel was a new (and challenging) experience for me. I didn’t want to let fans of the first book down, and I also wanted to make sure the story worked on its own and as part of a series. All that pressure was a little paralyzing, so I had to learn to put expectations aside and just focus on telling Jenny’s story.
For those who are unfamiliar with Jenny, how would you introduce her?
Jenny is an adventurer which means she travels to magical kingdoms and solves magical problems. Sounds fun, right? Well, for Jenny it’s kind of a chore. Magical creatures are nothing like you read about in books; they’re loud and obnoxious and totally clueless. Jenny definitely has her work cut out for her! Luckily, she has a spunky attitude and plenty of cheesy sayings to get her through her missions.
If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
Ooh! Great question. I would love to introduce Jenny to Ella from Ella Enchanted. I think they would get along really well and have a lot to laugh about.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
I would have to say Lois Lowry. Every time I read (or reread) her books, I’m in awe of how she’s able to pack so much story into so few words. She’s a master at telling stories.
You have the chance to give one piece of advice to your readers. What would it be?
I’ve wanted to be an author since I was in third grade, but it took MANY years for that dream to come true. Sometimes you have to be extremely patient and maniacally persistent to achieve your goals.
What would be harder for you, to tell someone you love them or that you do not love them back?
I’m always afraid of hurting people’s feelings, so telling someone I don’t love him/her back would definitely be hard!
When was the last time you cried?
I cry all the time at cheesy movies, and sometimes a good book will have me bawling too. I must say, though, that it’s been a while since that happened. I might have to go watch a weepy movie soon…
What decade during the last century would you have chosen to be a teenager?
I was a teenager during the ‘90s which was all about flannel and ripped jeans. I wish I could have backed up a few years and been a teen during the ‘80s instead. The fashion was a lot more fun and ridiculous (though I wouldn’t trade ‘90s music for anything).
Where can readers stalk you?
On my website: www.annastan.com
On FB: http://www.facebook.com/UnFairyTaleLife
On Twitter: https://twitter.com/annastanisz
Jenny the Adventurer is back, and this time she's off to the Land of Tales: the crazy place that all fairy tales come from. If she can defeat an evil witch and complete three impossible tasks--all without getting eaten by blood-thirsty monsters--Jenny might finally get some answers about what happened to her parents.
This is one adventure Jenny can't afford to fail.