Today, I am very pleased to welcome Laura Kenyon, the author of the delightful fantasy, “Desperately Ever After”. It could very well be a typical account of modern women’s lives just as these are portrayed in “Desperate Housewives” or “Sex and the City” except Laura’s heroines live in fairy tale castles and are characters from world-famous bedtime stories. Got your attention? Great! I met Laura online only recently and I must say, she is a remarkably sweet person. I am sure you will enjoy hearing all about her just as I did!
Imagine what might happen if our most beloved fairy tale princesses were the best of friends and had the dreams, dilemmas, and libidos of the modern woman. How would their stories unfold after the wedding bells stopped ringing? Set in a fictional realm based on New York City, DESPERATELY EVER AFTER sprinkles women’s fiction with elements of fantasy, and encourages readers to rethink everything they know about happy endings.
Years after turning her husband from beast back to man and becoming his queen, Belle finds out she’s finally going to have a child. But before she can announce the wondrous news, she catches him cheating and watches her “happily ever after” go up in flames. Turning to her friends for the strength to land with grace, she realizes she’s not the only one at a crossroads:
Cinderella, a mother of four drowning in royal duties, is facing her 30th birthday and questioning everything she’s done (or hasn’t) with her life.
Rapunzel, a sex-crazed socialite and one-woman powerhouse, is on a self-destructive quest to make up for 20 years locked away in a tower.
Penelopea, an outsider with a mother-in-law from hell, is harboring a secret that could ruin everything at any moment.
One part Sex and the City, two parts Desperate Housewives, and three parts Brothers Grimm, DESPERATELY EVER AFTER picks up where the original tales left off—and reimagines them a la Gregory Maguire’s Wicked. With the wit of authors like Jennifer Weiner and the vision of ABC’s Once Upon a Time, the women of DESPERATELY EVER AFTER rescue each other from life’s trials with laughter, wine, and a scandalous new take on happily ever after.
Hello Laura and welcome to my blog!
Thank you for inviting me Fros!
What has inspired you to write this book?
The idea for Desperately Ever After began brewing way back in the late ’90s (the result of a Disney-obsessed kid becoming a jaded teenager) and was continually fueled by life experience and shows like “Desperate Housewives” and “Sex and the City.” I loved the happily-ever-after films, but couldn’t stand how quickly the characters always fell madly in love. The insinuation was that because they were physically attracted to each other, they were perfectly matched in every other way … and their lives were going to be filled with butterflies and rainbows and infinite happiness forever after. As we all know, life just doesn’t work that way. So I began to wonder what happened next. I wanted the untold story. I wanted to know if Cinderella would really be happy ten years down the road, when her iconic ball gown no longer fit and she had four kids, a billion royal duties, and a husband who was hardly ever around? I wanted to know how long it would take “Beast” to go right back to his old, wolfish ways after Beauty broke his curse. So I let my imagination finish the stories.
What an enchanting idea for a book! Any hobbies or interests that you enjoy in your spare time?
Spare time? What’s that? Just kidding. When I actually have time to myself, I love going on hikes with my husband and our dog, decorating with DIY projects, and reading—although that last one is always so elusive!
Do you see yourself in any of your characters or do any of them have traits you wish you had?
There are five main women in the Desperately Ever After series, and I identify with bits and pieces of all of them. Cinderella (at least my version of Cinderella) bites off way more than she can chew, stresses about everything, and is a perfectionist through and through. I have to say, for better or for worse, I have many of those characteristics. I also relate to Belle’s intense desire to see the bright side of things, and her devotion to family. As for wishful traits, I have to zero in on Rapunzel—minus her promiscuity, of course! She’s completely fearless (at least on the outside), and doesn’t dwell on minor problems over which she has no control.
What are you working on at the moment? Tell us a little about your current project(s).
Damsels in Distress, the sequel to Desperately Ever After, is due out in August. I’m gearing up for its final revision right now. It’s hard to say too much about the story because the first book is still brand new! I don’t want to give anything away! I’ll just say that Damsels in Distress continues Belle’s struggle and also adds Sleeping Beauty (Dawn) into the mix.
Dawn’s storyline is actually one of my favorites. It was initially in Desperately Ever After but had to be moved for space reasons. I left her as a background character in the first book, and really can’t wait for everyone to get to know her better in the second. There are so many questions people never ask about the Sleeping Beauty tale: What kind of man would come upon a comatose woman in the woods and kiss her? How would she have felt waking up covered in dust with a stranger’s tongue in her mouth? What if she was in love with someone else before the curse hit? How would she reconcile her old life with her post-curse existence?
The sequel sounds just as delightful, I must say! What genres do you read mostly and what are you reading now?
Generally, I read to have adventures, to escape into another world, to make new “friends,” or to laugh at life. I rarely choose books that are meant to depress me, no matter how acclaimed they are. Allie Larkin’s Stay is one of my all-time favorites, as are Liz Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love, Lois Lowry’s The Giver (I get something different out of it each time I read it), and all of the Harry Potter books. Right now I’m working on both The Returned, by Jason Mott, and The K Street Affair, by Mari Passananti (another self-pubber).
Do you have any advice for other indie authors?
When you don’t have a traditional publisher behind you, you don’t have months to gather advanced reviews, and magazines won’t put your book in their “hot beach reads” feature just because some big shot editor sent them a press sheet. Progress may seem to move like molasses, but hang in there. Reach out to genre-specific blogs, contact local media, host giveaways, make connections with fellow authors, and don’t be all about “me, me, me.” You knew this wasn’t going to be easy. You did it because you couldn’t NOT do it. Because you’re a writer, through and through. So just keep plugging away. Keep adding to your list of published works. And remember that publishing a book—whether on your own, through a small press, or with a huge traditional imprint—is a monumental achievement. Be proud of that.
Great advice there, Laura and very wise words! Tell us about your website/blog. What will readers find there?
The best thing about my website, laurakenyon.com, is the interview series I host every Wednesday. It’s been going strong since November, and has put me in touch with some phenomenal authors—both traditionally published and indie. (It usually includes a giveaway too!) I invite anyone with a published novel in a genre similar to Desperately Ever After to stop by and sign up. You’ll also find industry news, updates about my book, some of my more recent or beloved magazine/newspaper articles, and fun things I just can’t keep to myself!
Describe your workstation. Are there any favourite objects you have there for inspiration?
My writing desk is in a little blue nook in a big orange office. I chose orange because it’s supposed to get the creative juices flowing, though I’m not sure how well it’s working! There are all sorts of inspirational notes, pictures, and reminders taped to the walls, as well as my hand drawn map of Marestam (the setting for Desperately Ever After); a photograph of the real life castle located in Manhattan’s Central Park; and the motto: “Live like there’s no midnight.” This coincides with a pivotal scene in Desperately Ever After; helped inspire the name of my blog, Skipping Midnight; and reminds me to keep going even when things look particularly bleak.
Choose one person in your life to whom you can tell almost anything without fear of judgment.
Well, he’s not a person, but my dog, Shadow, is a phenomenal confidant. He curls beneath my desk as I write, pulls me away from the computer when I’ve been sitting for too long, and cocks his head to the side when I talk to him (so I know he’s really listening…). That’s not to say my husband and parents and friends don’t fully support me no matter what, but it’s human nature to have conflicting beliefs once in a while—whether it has to do with religion, politics, or choice of career! But I believe that’s how we grow as people. I’ve learned a lot listening to the differing opinions of the people I trust. It’s made me who I am.
Shadow sounds adorable! You’re lucky to have such a sweet pal to talk to! Well Laura, this was quite a pleasure. Thank you for being here today!
Thank you Fros – the pleasure was all mine!
Laura Kenyon is an award-winning journalist and graduate of Boston College. Her stories and articles have appeared in Kiwi Magazine, Westchester Magazine, Just Labs, Serendipity, The Improper Bostonian, and Westchester/Hudson Valley Weddings, as well as in myriad newspapers and at PrickoftheSpindle.com. She lives in Connecticut with her husband and their silver Labrador retriever, who’s about as well behaved as Beast. DESPERATELY EVER AFTER is her first novel.
CONNECT WITH LAURA
Amazon (US): http://www.amazon.com/author/laurakenyon
Amazon (UK): http://www.amazon.co.uk/Laura-Kenyon/e/B00I5XR8A4/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1