Ahwatukee resident sees novel published after quick start, long revision - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Community Focus

Ahwatukee resident sees novel published after quick start, long revision

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Posted: Friday, June 20, 2014 5:45 am | Updated: 2:52 pm, Wed Aug 6, 2014.

Ahwatukee resident Shonna Slayton will be hosting a book-signing this Saturday for her novel, “Cinderella’s Dress.”

The novel takes place in New York during World War II where relatives of the main character, Kate Allen, arrive from Poland with a mysterious trunk.

Allen discovers that her family has been hiding the real dress of Cinderella for centuries, and now it’s her turn to keep the whereabouts of the dress a family secret.

Slayton began writing “Cinderella’s Dress” in 2008 during National Novel Writing Month, an event that takes place every November where writers flesh out an entire novel throughout the month.

“I wrote it in that quick time, and in subsequent years I edited it and revised it,” Slayton said.

Slayton took the following six years and made revisions to “Cinderella’s Dress” in hopes that she could get her work published.

She balanced her schedule of being a mother and a writer and worked on her novel with whatever limited time she had during the day.

Slayton said she found time to revise her novel during the times her children had piano lessons at Music Makers Workshop in Ahwatukee.

As luck would have it, Slayton had “Cinderella’s Dress” published on June 3 by Entangled Teen/Macmillan.

Slayton was inspired by two sources to write the novel: the first inspiration came about when she found a picture book also titled “Cinderella’s Dress” with different photos of a young woman wearing a ball gown sliding down a banister.

“I thought, ‘That’s cool, what if the dress didn’t disappear and was passed down generations?’ ” she said. “It could have a lot of adventures.”

The second inspiration came when Slayton was conducting research on department stores and bookstores during the ’40s for another novel she was writing.

As her research went on, Slayton learned that a department-store window dresser in the ’40s was strictly a male profession.

“This surprised me, until further research explained how the work was labor-intensive, done in close quarters and all overnight. Back then, there was a law in New York that limited a woman’s workday to 10 p.m.,” Slayton said. “When I read this, I knew I had to create a character to go through this transition. And that somehow, someway, I had to get Cinderella’s dress into a window display.”

Slayton said she was excited about sharing her novel with the Ahwatukee community.

“It’s a really neat thing to share it locally … this is home, so to be able to have your friends and family come, to have this dream for so long to come to fruition, it’s pretty special,” she said.

Slayton will be hosting her book-signing at Barnes & Noble, 4847 E. Ray Road, at 11 a.m. Saturday, June 21.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-4903 or dochoa@ahwatukee.com.

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