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Guest Post by Elissa Sussman: Once Upon A Time...


We all have our favorite fairy tales. Some of us like adventurous stories like Jack and the Beanstalk, some of us are partial to romantic tales like Rapunzel. Or if you’re like me, you tend to prefer the stories with lots of magic.



STRAY is an original fairy tale, but one built on the backs of existing ones, like Cinderella and Little Red Riding Hood. The world in STRAY (as well as the upcoming BURN) is composed of the themes and imagery pulled from all variations of fairy tales, from the older, darker Grimm’s versions, to the Technicolor Disney stories.

Fairy tales change each time they are told. Sometimes the changes are small (a fur slipper becomes a glass slipper) or sometimes they are large (the villain becomes the protagonist) but each revision reflects the world or perspective of those telling it. Fairy tales can be a reflection of the current world or a wish for what it will become.

STRAY is both. The world it portrays is not that much different then our own, one that punishes young women for something that is part of them. Magic, to the inhabitants of the four kingdoms, is a curse that befalls only women and is something that must be controlled. One either follows The Path, a belief system that dictates how society should behave, or one becomes a stray.


Aislynn, the protagonist of STRAY is a young princess who wants nothing more than to follow The Path. She wants to marry a prince and live happily ever after. Yet, she finds it difficult to control her magical abilities. Her only other choice is to become a fairy godmother, indentured to another princess for the rest of her life. The transformation she undergoes during the story is one that mirrors most fairy tale stories – where a young woman discovers who she is and who she wants to be – while tasked with the daunting possibility that she will lose everything she holds dear if she makes the wrong choice.

Fairy tales mean different things to different people and each version tells us something new about ourselves and the world we live in. They are a part of us, in the way we communicate and the way we grow.

Thank you, Elissa! Find Elissa Sussman at her website, on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram!

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Sarah Enni

Sarah is a young adult author and host of the First Draft podcast. She is represented by Sarah Burnes at The Gernert Company.

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Item Reviewed: Guest Post by Elissa Sussman: Once Upon A Time... Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Sarah Enni