Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Blog Tour : Interview with Shonna Slayton, author of Cinderella's Dress

Soumi: I’m here with the lovely Shonna Slayton. Hi Shonna, welcome to my blog.

Shonna: Thank you for having me here, Soumi. I love the title of your blog. “Pages From my Thoughts.” I think titles are so important.

Soumi: What was your inspiration behind Cinderella’s Dress?

Shonna: Ha, the title! I saw a picture book by the same name and was captivated by the cover illustration by Jane Dyer. It shows a girl in a ball gown sliding down a banister. My thoughts immediately jumped to Cinderella keeping her dress and passing it down as a family heirloom. (The picture book is actually about the animals making her dress.)

Soumi: Cinderella’s Dress is set during World War II. Would like to tell us tell us about your research process?

Shonna: WWII came into the story after I learned that before the war, department store window dresser were all men. This surprised me because when I was in high school I got to help design windows. Why weren’t women in department stores doing this prior to the 1940s?
These two story threads pulled together and I just had to get the real Cinderella’s dress into a department store window. And where else, but at a high-end department store on Fifth Avenue in New York City?
I wrote the first draft based on the knowledge I already had about WWII just so I could get the basic plot skeleton down. Then I hit the library and read pretty much every WWII book that talked about the home front, especially in New York.
The history books helped fill in some plot holes, and helped form the ending. I wanted the history to be as accurate as I could keep it, so I made sure I had a true event behind almost everything my characters did (not including the bits of fantasy) So, I know the name of the boat the two Polish relatives were on to escape Europe. The band playing the night of the starlight dance was actually playing that night in Central Park. My main character, Kate, meets one of the early women in window design, Cecilia Staples at her actual warehouse. Details like that may go unnoticed for the casual reader, but someone interested in history might look up some of the events to see if they really happened. I think extra details like that make a book fun.

Soumi: In your blog, you have written a post “World War II Books For Teens”, where you have mentioned several fiction and nonfiction books based on WW II. How much these had influenced your writing?

Shonna: These World War II Books for Teens were a great help in keeping balance in my story. The 1940’s were a mix of grave sacrifice and pure joy. Incredible evil and awesome courage. I didn’t want my fairy tale to come off as flippant to the times, but I also didn’t want to mire it down in the darkness of war. Most WWII books bring out the darkness and the courage. Two books, in particular, both memoirs, assured me it was okay to show the joy, too: My Summer at Tiffany, set in 1945 New York, and Hilke’s Diary, which is not as joy-filled, but tells the thoughts of a German girl sent away to a boarding school.

Soumi: If Cinderella’s Dress is optioned for a movie, who would be you dream cast?

Shonna: A movie! Let’s dream, shall we? Well, I’m a debut author. I’ve worked in the shadows for years learning how to write a novel. If my book ever became a movie I’d love to see all new actors get their shot. The ones who are busy now learning their craft, waiting for “the call.” That would be a lot of fun for me to see.

Soumi: One last and fun question. If you were Cinderella herself, what about her story you’d most like to change?

Shonna: My prologue is one of my favourite scenes in the novel, where Cinderella entrusts the dress to the care of her friend and servant, young Nadzia. I would love to write that story—a full-out Cinderella retelling from the eyes of Nadzia, as a prequel to Cinderella’s Dress. Since I never liked the insta-love between the prince and Cinderella, that’s what I would change. Correction, that’s what I will change 

Author: Shonna Slayton
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Pub. Date: June 3, 2014
Pages: 340
Find it: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads

Being seventeen during World War II is tough. Finding out you’re the next keeper of the real Cinderella’s dress is even tougher.
Kate simply wants to create window displays at the department store where she's working, trying to help out with the war effort. But when long-lost relatives from Poland arrive with a steamer trunk they claim holds the Cinderella’s dress, life gets complicated.
Now, with a father missing in action, her new sweetheart shipped off to boot camp, and her great aunt losing her wits, Kate has to unravel the mystery before it’s too late.
After all, the descendants of the wicked stepsisters will stop at nothing to get what they think they deserve.

About The Author: Shonna Slayton finds inspiration in reading vintage diaries written by teens, who despite using different slang, sound a lot like teenagers today. While writing Cinderella’s Dress she reflected on her days as a high-school senior in British Columbia when she convinced her supervisors at a sportswear store to let her design a few windows—it was glorious fun while it lasted. When not writing, Shonna enjoys amaretto lattes and spending time with her husband and children in Arizona. You can visit her website at shonnaslayton.com


HURRAH. Now the giveaway time.

1 Signed copy of Cinderella's Dress, an Amber sun pendant set in sterling silver a Tatting shuttle and thread, a dress form ornament and bookmark swag. US Only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Don't Forget To Visit Other Tour Stops

Week One:

6/2/2014- Zach's YA Reviews- Review
6/2/2014- Dark Novella- Excerpt
6/3/2014- Angelic Book Reviews- Review
6/3/2014- Pages From My Thoughts- Interview
6/4/2014- YA Book Madness- Review
6/4/2014- The Cover Contessa- Guest Post
6/5/2014- Crossroad Reviews- Review
6/5/2014- Such a Novel Idea- Guest Post
6/6/2014- The NerdHerd Reads- Review
6/6/2014- Fire and Ice- Excerpt

Week Two:

6/9/2014- Racing To Read- Review
6/9/2014- Paranormal Book Club- Interview
6/10/2014- The Phantom Paragrapher- Review
6/10/2014- Addicted Readers- Guest Post
6/11/2014- Creating Serenity- Review
6/11/2014- Every Free Chance Book Reviews- Interview
6/12/2014- Si, Se Puede **link with YA Books Central review- Review
6/12/2014- A Backwards Story- Guest Post
6/13/2014- The YA's Nightstand- Review
6/13/2014- Curling Up With A Good Book- Excerpt


  1. id love to read this it looks good.

  2. This is a must read!! Fantastic

  3. Soumi, this was great! My first interview :) Thanks so much for hosting me on my tour.

  4. Wonderful interview - you got answers to some of my questions! Shonna - if you are reading - could you share a link to the two WWII books you referenced above? I couldn't find the first one...and the window dressing scenes were my favorite! I felt they were so genuine and I'd love to check out some of what you read to research.

  5. Hi Cassie. Yes, I'm popping in throughout the next few days in case there are questions. Here is the link: http://shonnaslayton.com/world-war-ii-books-teens/. The inspiration for the window dressing scenes came from my own experiences and from the book My Time at Tiffany's by Gene Moore.