6 questions with Whatever After author Sarah Mlynowski

The Whatever After series has an exciting new installment out this week: a special edition called Abby in Wonderland! To celebrate the release, we sat down with author Sarah Mlynowski for a quick Q&A!

Q: What inspired you to write the Whatever After series?

Sarah Mlynowski: I loved fairy tales as a kid. Mermaids! Balls! Happily ever afters! I also loved fracturing fairy tales. Instead of The Princess and the Pea, since I was not a fan of vegetables, I told the story of The Princess and the M&M. When I had two girls of my own, I broke out the old Brothers’ Grimm—and I found myself wanting to fracture the endings again. I wanted my daughters to hear about girls who saved the day...not ones who waited for princes to swoop down, kiss them (without permission!) and bring them back to life. So I threw a regular, modern girl into the stories and that’s what happened.

Q: Abby in Wonderland is a special edition! How is it different from the rest of the series?

SM: In Abby in Wonderland, Abby falls into a novel instead of a fairy tale, for the first time ever. Also, this time Abby falls into the story with her three best friends instead of her brother.  The special edition is also longer than my other Whatever Afters and includes fun and games like writing prompts and a Q and A.

Q: If you could meet any of your characters, who would it be?

SM: I would love to meet Abby’s brother Jonah. I would tell him not to worry—one day he and Abby will fall into Jack and the Beanstalk. Promise. 

Q: What were your favorite books when you were young?

SM: I grew up reading Judy Blume’s novels, and they were the first books I read that made me laugh out loud and want to become a reader and writer. I also loved This Can't Be Happening at Macdonald Hall by Gordon Korman, which he wrote when he was only twelve. It’s comic gold.

Q: Besides Abby, who was your favorite character to write in Abby in Wonderland?

SM: The Pig Baby was fun. Also terrifying. I also enjoyed writing Penny, who we see a lot more of in Abby in Wonderland than we usually do. It was challenging but fun to explore her dynamic with Abby, and to play them off of each other.

Q: What’s next for Abby after Wonderland?

SM: Abby falls into The Princess and the M&M! I mean, The Princess and the Pea. But don’t worry, I definitely include chocolate candy in the story. Two Peas in a Pod will be out this spring!

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For more from Sarah Mlynowski, be sure to check out our podcast episode all about fractured fairytales!