Monday, June 10, 2013

Author Interview and Giveaway!!! The Trouble with Toads by DanyelleLeafty

  danyelleAuthor Danyelle Leafty Danyelle Leafty writes upper MG and YA fantasy, and is the author of THE FAIRY GODMOTHER DILEMMA series. Danyelle has always loved fairy tales, and prefers stories where someone gets eaten, or at the very least, transmogrified. Much of her inspiration has come from fairy tales, because as G.K. Chesterton so aptly states, "Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten." In her spare time, she collects dragons, talking frogs, and fairy godmothers. She also collects books, and one day hopes to make a house out of them. She enjoys learning languages, fiddling with her harp, and perfecting the fine art of mothering. (It's a lot like trying to herd chickens during a lightning storm while a goat stampede is going on.) One of her heroes is Albert Einstein, particularly for the following quote: "Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The most important thing is not to stop questioning."
What is your favorite fairy tale?
My favorite fairy tale is East O' the Sun, West O' the Moon. There's something about the winds and the troll princess that have always intrigued me.

Which fairy tale character is your favorite?
I'd have to say the winds. I love that their personality matches their temperament.

Are any of your characters patterned after people you know?
Bits and pieces here and there, but I've never taken a whole person and turned them into a character. My characters usually come to me fully formed, so trying to mold them into anything else would bring the story to a screeching halt. (My characters have been known to go on strike if I misunderstand their intentions or personalities. >.<)

Do any of your characters share qualities, character traits, or anything else with you?
Again, I think maybe in bits and pieces. Every story I write is woven through with thread of me--my personality, dreams, hopes, quirks, etc. But every story calls for a different angle, and while the seeds for the characters may have begun with me, they quickly take root in their own gardens, if that makes sense.

Do you ever write more than one book at a time? If so, how do you keep everything straight?
Story ideas and random characters are constantly tugging at me and tackling me in the dark corners of my mind. I usually jot down notes in my Master Story List to make sure I don't lose anything Then I sit down and write the story that's the loudest. Sometimes I do end up writing more than one story at a time--I'm usually juggling a couple in various stages. But each story has its own unique voice that it's easy to keep that straight. What's harder is keeping the details for that particular world in order.

What books or authors are your favorites?
I love anything by Patricia McKillip (especially Riddle-Master), Diana Wynne Jones (pretty much everything, but especially Howl's Moving Castle), Patricia C. Wrede (her Enchanted Forest Chronicles and Sorcery and Cecelia), Vivian Vande Velde (A Well-Timed Enchantment and Three Good Deeds), Sherwood Smith (Crown Duel), JRR Tolkien, William Joyce's Guardians of Childhood, and Patrice Kindl's Goose Chase.

What is your favorite snack?
Food allergies and sensitivities make eating not so fun, so I'd have to go with a really good book. (Yes, I have been known to choose books over food many times. :p)

If you could be any character in any book, who would you be and why?
I'd probably be Raederle in Riddle-Master by Patricia McKillip. Her world is lush and beautiful, though dangerous. She isn't a typical fairy tale princess that waits for the prince to come and rescue her. Instead, she brushes up on her pig curses and goes after the prince in order to help him save the world. She also learns to embrace the parts of her heritage that she's afraid of. Plus, she's not afraid to bargain with the dead!

If your book had a soundtrack, what songs would be on the playlist?
With Bettony being the main character, it would probably be an opera of sorts. :p
I'm not sure if a type of music like this exists, but it would be something between a sprightly celtic jig and a haunting Romanian lullaby. 

How do you celebrate good reviews on your books? How do you react to bad ones?
I don't. :) Every book I release is the very best story I could make it at the time. I'm hoping to improve with each one, but I've made it a general rule *not* to read my reviews. In my opinion, the reviews are there to help readers decide whether or not to take a chance on a book. (At least that's how I use them if I'm looking for a good book, but am on the fence.) I try to respect that space. :) Each story represents a specific time and place in my writerly development, and there really isn't anything I'd go back and change about any of them. I know the stories I have to tell won't appeal to everyone, and I'm good with that. What I'm working toward is making it easier for people who will enjoy my books to find them. :)

~Collector of dragons, talking frogs, and fairy godmothers~

Here is an excerpt: 
Her grandmother shrugged, the lines of sympathy gone from her face. She picked up the first bottle and added a pinch of the dust to the bowl. “Suit yourself, missy. But remember that is a choice you made for yourself this very day. I’ll not countenance you running back to me with complaints. You want beauty, and you shall have it—and all that comes with it. Are we clear?”

Fear and wonder and enchantment had stolen her voice away, so Bettony nodded. Anticipation rumbled in her center, a bright flame that made her feel heavy and light all at the same time.

“And if this spell gets you into mischief, you can’t come running to me to fix it. You make the mess, you clean up after yourself. Are we clear?” Her grandmother pulled out the lead stopper on the second bottle. Her hand quivered with age, but she was very careful only to allow a single drop to gloop down into the bowl.

Bettony nodded again, almost giddy. Magic wasn’t going to cause her problems. It was going to solve them. Once she was beautiful, she’d be able to do whatever she wanted.

Her grandmother hesitated before she picked up the final bottle. “No refunds, exchanges, or regrets. What magic does is done. Do you understand?”
Bettony gave a decisive nod. Of course she understood. She wasn’t a child.
Her grandmother snorted as though she’d heard Bettony’s thought. “I don’t think you do, but that’s good enough for the binding. You don’t have to actually understand, you just have to believe you do. Now, add that frog of yours, and we’re nearly finished.”

trouble with toads tour
trouble with toadsThe Trouble with Toads Once upon a time a young girl wanted revenge. But first, she wanted to be beautiful. Twelve-year-old Bettony has read enough stories that begin with ‘Once upon a time’ to know what happens to the ugly stepsisters at the end, and she’s determined to escape that fate by any means necessary—even by magic. Unfortunately, when it comes to magic, there is no place for regret, refunds, or exchanges. Even if you accidentally turn your older sister into a toad. If Bettony wants her Happily Ever After to end well, she’s going to have to find a way to turn her sister back into a person before their mother finds out she’s been dabbling with magic and grounds her for life. Tracking down the family magic turns out to be surprisingly easy. Now, if only it came with directions . . . THE TROUBLE WITH TOADS (45,000 words) is the first book in a new upper MG series The Secret Stepsister Society. The second book will be released Summer 2013. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blog Tour Giveaway
$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 6/28/13

a Rafflecopter giveaway Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. Prize value $25 US.  


  1. Cool interview, Danyelle and nice questions Katie. Danyelle, I notice we share a love for the same authors. Can I also just say I think your book covers are fantastic! Very cool!

    Nice to get to know you alittle bit more here. :)

  2. Thanks, Mira. :)

    I always love finding people who enjoy the same authors. Especially because chatting with people who have similar bookish tastes often means discovering awesome new authors