Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Friday, January 30, 2009

My Fair(no Y) Godmother

by Kerry Blair

There’s one thing I’ve wondered my whole life. It’s not the meaning of existence or why bad things happen to good people. I’ve wondered why Cinderella was able to leave behind a glass slipper. Does that make sense to you? Ella’s ball gown turned back into rags, her carriage once again became a pumpkin, and her horses shrank back into vermin—albeit mice pleased to find themselves in more upscale digs. Why then, when the clock struck midnight, didn’t her glass slippers disappear with the tiara and jewels?

Yeah. It’s really bothered me, too.

Thankfully, after years of anguished questioning, I read the simple (and simply brilliant) explanation in My Fair Godmother. (And if you think I’m just going to tell you, you’ve got another think coming. Read the book; that’s undoubtedly the best advice I’ll give you this year.)

I wrote too many book reports in school to enjoy revisiting it in my old age, so you’re out of luck there. But I will say that if a fairy godmother sparkled into my bedroom right now to offer me three wishes, I wouldn’t have to consider for a half-second. I’d use the first wish to beg to write even half as well as Janette Rallison. I might use the second to wish to someday be famous (or cool) enough to garner a nod like three writers we all know and love did in this one. (Nope. Not telling you that, either.)

On the other hand, if my godmother were anything like Chrysanthemum Everstar—a teenage godmother-in-training who has only paid enough attention in class to be a fair godmother (at best)—I might add a clarifying addendum. Or eight. Since Rallison’s heroine Savannah does not, she finds herself in the Middle Ages, cast in the roles of Cinderella, Snow White, and a remarkable damsel in her own right. To say more might constitute a book review, but since it’s also difficult to say less, I will add that I love this book! I love everything from the perfect dust jacket and the lovely lavender/pink binding to the fanciful typesetting. I love the enchanting romance, marvelous characters, and I deeply love and admire the best fairy tale writing by a mortal since Hans Christian Andersen. (Is that a Whitney category?)

But you know what I love most? (Aside from a reasonable explanation for Cindy’s glass slippers.) I love that Janette Rallison captures my imagination and makes me laugh out loud, but she also makes me think and feel. So many of the stories passing as the “best” books for youth, young adults, and the rest of us in the national market these days are . . . how do I put this nicely? . . . pointless. (Some are worse than pointless, but that can be the subject for another blog on another day.) Some of the books in our market are . . . preachy. (I’m having a little trouble being “nice” today, apparently.) My Fair Godmother is neither. Very subtly but surely, Rallison ensures that every reader leaves her stories wiser, better, and surely more cheerful. That, boys and girls, is the epitome of great writing.

For all these reasons and more I predict that Janette has a runaway best-seller on her hands. It’s already been optioned as a movie. (I can’t tell you how many times while I was reading I thought what a great movie it would make. Can I pick them, or what?) Our local Barnes & Noble couldn’t unpack the boxes fast enough to keep this book on the shelves. After my third unsuccessful trip to town, I turned to Amazon. Fortunately for you, in my enthusiasm I must have clicked that “one click” option one click too often. Since I have two copies, I can play fairy godmother myself and make somebody’s wish for a copy of this book come true.

Caveat: after observing Chrissy as closely as I have, I can’t make it easy. In Chrysanthemum’s words: Did you think wishes were like kittens, that all they were going to do was purr and cuddle with you? Those type of wishes have no power. The only wishes that will ever change you are the kind that may, at any moment, eat you whole. But in the end, they are the only wishes that matter. Now then . . .

Now then, to win my extra copy of My Fair Godmother, all you have to do is write in the comments trail one thing you wish you knew about Janette Rallison or her many works. I’ll choose my favorites and send them to Janette for a response next week. (This will effectively grant my third wish: to get a guest blog from the mega-famous and super-fantastic Janette Rallison.) After she answers your questions, Janette will draw a winner at random and we’ll announce it at the end of the blog.

Ready? Set? Wish!


At 1/30/2009 1:19 PM, Blogger Janice said...

If this book is turnd into a movie, will Janette make sure it stays true to the book or will she let them tweak it?

At 1/30/2009 1:26 PM, Blogger Stephanie Black said...

Ooh, I SO want to win this book. My question is:

What was Janette's path to publication in the national market?

At 1/30/2009 1:39 PM, Blogger David G. Woolley said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 1/30/2009 2:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


If you think you're old because you were born in 1966, then how would you describe someone (me) born in 59? Be nice. My feelings were already bent out of shape when you chose Apollo over Starbuck. Puleeze! Blonde hair ... perfect teeth.

Seriously, now, I read you biography on your website, and know that you've written several other books, mostly young adult novels. Have you any plans to write a novel aimed at us more ... mature persons?


At 1/30/2009 2:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anything to win a book...

The burning question on my mind is: Why do so many amazing writers come from Arizona?


At 1/30/2009 2:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's the sunshine, Pat.


At 1/30/2009 2:59 PM, Blogger Marta O. Smith said...


If casting were completely up to you, who would be in the movie? Did you have a mental image of any of these people in mind as you created your characters?

(That's two questions. May I be entered in the drawing twice, please?)

At 1/30/2009 3:10 PM, Blogger David G. Woolley said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 1/30/2009 3:13 PM, Blogger Anna said...

I saw the book cover and thought it looked interesting to read. Now I've read the praise, and am definately adding it to my "to read" list.

Here is my question. When do you find time to write with 5 kids? I have 3 and it's tough to get in the mood to write when there is so much to do.

At 1/30/2009 3:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Uh, Pat, aren't you from Utah, too?

Mr. Woolley,

Exactly how long do you need to spend in the Great Snowbound State to have some of the write-stuff rubbed off on us Arizonans? Minutes, hours ... years? Possibly a good writer's seminar's worth?


At 1/30/2009 3:35 PM, Blogger David G. Woolley said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 1/30/2009 4:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I refuse to wear a tutu. I wouldn't be able to pry Kerry's wand out of her hand unless she was three days past dead, and who can compete with Janette's imagination and or talent? I might as well move back to New Mexico right now.


At 1/30/2009 4:54 PM, Blogger Book Spot said...

I'd be interested in knowing if she plans on writing anymore fantasy books and if she would ever do more writing about any other fairy tales or myths (like Greek and Roman Hera & Aphrodite, etc myths).


At 1/30/2009 5:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So Kerry, why were Jeff's tutu, your wand and the dog not featured on the Whitney auction? (Excluding Jeanette's imagination, which I'm sure couldn't be wrenched from her with a crow-bar)

...And Brother Woolley, does that mean I have to flee Utah for the desert sun before that genius thing kicks in?
('s comforting to know that you stalk all frog-bloggers equally. :)


At 1/30/2009 5:46 PM, Blogger Jon Spell said...

Elementary solution.

Third Wish: 3 more wishes!

At 1/30/2009 6:23 PM, Blogger David G. Woolley said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 1/30/2009 6:39 PM, Blogger David G. Woolley said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 1/30/2009 7:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Okay, I want to win this book so bad I've spent the afternoon researching, trying to figure out the best kind of question--interesting but not too personal, humorous but not stupid. If I don't win I'll order a copy, but I'm struggling to get the second manuscript accepted and I really NEED to win about something. Part of my homework was to read through a few of Janette's blog so I know she understands.

Now, for the question: In Kerry's quote, Janette's discussion of the power of the wish shows an interesting perception of the strength and courage necessary to change. Do you feel any of that ambivalence as you head towards a movie after breaking into the national market?

Oops. No humor there. Maybe my real question should be, "If you can you tell how lovingly jealous we(well, me)are, will you tell us what wish you made that changed you/your writing so you could do all this?

Getting too personal. Well, how about: Where did you learn so much about wishes? (The humor isn't in my question, but maybe in Janette's answer.)

Deb, try '46, but don't worry about it. Life just gets better though the wishing gets a little more scarey at times.


At 1/30/2009 9:12 PM, Blogger Julie Coulter Bellon said...

I have two questions and since I'm pretty sure I won the last contest Kerry had, I'm feeling lucky. Plus, it's almost 8 o'clock. ;)

If Ms. Rallison could have three wishes of her own, what would they be?

And . . .

Does Ms. Rallison give her story characters any of her own personal traits?

At 1/30/2009 10:59 PM, Blogger Charlie Moore said...

I like these kinds of contests. You get some silly questions,some thought provoking questions and some questions that fall somewhere in between.

I apologize, Janette, that I haven't read your book. It sounds like I need to.

My question: Does your bishop ask you to speak in sacrament more often after you were published and are you in your ward or stake YW presidency?

Just kidding about the second part. None of my business.


Charlie Moore

At 1/30/2009 11:10 PM, Blogger David G. Woolley said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 1/31/2009 1:04 PM, Anonymous ally condie said...

I love Janette's books!

I also loved Stephanie's question. I'd ask that one, too, but here's another:

How long did it take you to write this book? I remember from reading her blog a while ago that she was trying to write a book in two months, and I'm curious if this is the one.

At 1/31/2009 2:04 PM, Blogger Heather B. Moore said...

In the past year, what is one of your favorite book signing experiences?

At 1/31/2009 6:38 PM, Blogger Doug Johnston said...

Who was the overweight bald guy that was a co-presenter at the Whitneys with Janette last year. I would like to meet that guy!

At 2/01/2009 9:52 AM, Blogger Lisa Anne said...

Questions, I don't like questions. I would rather stare like a silly school girl in awe that someone can take a great idea and turn it into a great book and actually have people buy it!!! What talent! And to think you are an Arizonan. Makes me even more proud.

Okay, my question: Having read quite a few of your books (and owning even more) where do come up with your ideas? And please keep them coming???!!!
(Even throwing a bit of brown nosing in there for good sport) You are such a sweetheart and I am so glad I was able to meet you in person.

At 2/01/2009 10:01 AM, Blogger Kerry Blair said...

It has been brought to my attention that it is very rude not to comment on the comments left after one's original comments. (Or something.) First, please accept my heartfelt apology! I've scoured my shelves but I do not possess a copy of Miss Manner's Guide to Blog Etiquette. I had no idea. I'll do better.

Truly, thanks for all the questions, silly and otherwise. Some made me laugh and others made me hope Janette chooses them to answer. We'll keep this open until, um, Wednesday. On Wednesday night at 8 PM AZ time, I'll send her the questions so she'll have a couple of days to respond. I'll post the responses -- and a winner -- on Friday.

Thanks again, ya'all!

At 2/01/2009 7:53 PM, Blogger Gamila said...

I have a question! Is she going to write a sequel to her sci-fi novel Time Riders now that it is getting published by Desert Book soon? :)

At 2/04/2009 12:45 AM, Blogger Marcia Mickelson said...

My question is: Does Janette plan on continuing in the YA market or will she consider writing adult fiction?

At 2/06/2009 3:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bro. Woolley,

Sunstroke! That explains so much!

I've been reading that after a stroke, the victim's brain can actually re-configure itself, so that the weaker parts of the brain become stronger, to compensate for the part that was damaged.

My tool of choice has always been a paint brush - I would rather paint than breathe, so why all of a sudden do I want to pick up a pencil and tell stories?
(Mini stroke, last year.)

It all makes sense now!
Thanks for the insight - intended or not.



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