Most everyone knows the story of “Beauty and the Beast,” but Ahwatukee young adult author Shonna Slayton is taking the classic tale one step further in her latest novel, “Beauty’s Rose.”
Rather than a retelling of the original tale, Slayton’s book is a continuation of the story.
The novel focuses on a girl named Margot who travels to visit her aunt in France, only to find out she was actually invited there by a group of fairies who are desperately trying to break the family curse from turning a local boy into a beast – and are turning to her for help.
“Each of my books starts with a prologue that bridges the original story to my book, so in the prologue to ‘Beauty’s Rose,’ you find out the curse from ‘Beauty and the Beast’ is a generational curse and now another guy is turning into a beast,” said Slayton.
Slayton has been writing and publishing YA fairytale adaptations since her first book, “Cinderella’s Dress,” was published in 2014.
To date, Slayton has published seven fairytale adaptations, all based on classic fairytales such as “Cinderella,” “Snow White,” “Sleeping Beauty” and “Beauty and the Beast.”
Although “Cinderella’s Dress” was her first novel, Slayton started writing stories back in fifth grade.
“The first novel I tried to write was in elementary school and it ended up being five chapters long and I thought it was amazing,” she said. “I thought I was being really original, but it was totally a rip off of ‘Watership Down’”
Slayton’s love of writing was the product of her fifth-grade teacher, who opened her eyes to the world of fantasy books.
“I had always liked books, but I had this teacher in fifth grade, and she was like Mary Poppins, floating into our classroom with her guitar. She read ‘The Hobbit’ and ‘Watership Down’ and she just opened my eyes to bigger fiction than what I had read up to that point, and I didn’t know how, but I knew I wanted to be a part of that,” said Slayton.
“I take a fairytale, a fairytale object and a time period and I mash them together. The Cinderella books are set in the 1940s, Snow White is set in the early 1900s, Spindle is the late 1800s, and the new Beauty and the Beast one is set in the 1980s,” said Slayton.
While she has considered writing in other genres, her real love is fairytales.
“I like writing fairytales because I like the magic part of it, in that our world is pretty magical, but we’re used to our world. So, when I’m writing a fairytale, I can bring out the magic in our world in a different way because it’s unexpected, and we’re not used to it,” said Slayton.
Her favorite part of being an author, however, is the chance it gives her to use her imagination.
“I enjoy using my imagination. It’s like putting a puzzle together in my head. I have all these pieces of things that interest me, and I try and make them fit,” said Slayton.
Slayton draws inspiration from several places, including other authors.
“For fairytale inspiration, I always to go Gail Carson Levine. She was the first fairytale re-teller I had ever read. Some fairytales are just strange, and she was kind of the first person I read who gave some motivation to the characters,” said Slayton.
She also keeps all of her ideas organized and ready for use in her next novel.
“I have a box at home, where, if I’m reading a magazine article or a newspaper article, and something strikes me, I’ll just tear it out and stick it in my box,” said Slayton.
Slayton is also involved in many writer’s groups, both in-person and online, allowing her and other similar YA authors to connect and share ideas.
Currently, Slayton is working on the last book in her “Fairy-Tale Inheritance Series,” which will be inspired by “The Little Mermaid.”
Slayton’s books are available everywhere books are sold and signed copies are available at Changing Hands Bookstore.