Allison's Book Bag

Trivia, Polls, and A Trailer for My Fair Godmother

Posted on: December 2, 2011

This week, along with Kate McMurry, I will review My Fair Godmother by Janette Rallison. Kate McMurry, of Misdirected Magic fame, first recommended Janette Rallison’s books to me. I loved My Fair Godmother! (But still check back to read my review.) After reading through all of Janette Rallison’s posts, I also have gained a tremendous amount of respect for her.

Let’s start with a little trivia about Janette Rallison.

  • Rallison grew up in a small town called Pullman, Washington. She sets most of her books in small towns. She loves them! What about you? Are you a city or town person? Me, I’m from a small town but now live in a big town.
  • She’s a brunette, but populates her books with blonde characters.
  • She now lives in Arizona with her husband, five children and enough cats to classify her as “an eccentric cat lady.” According to her, she did not become a cat lady on purpose. Every single one of the felines showed up on its own and refused to leave. Not even the family’s fearless little Westie dog could drive them off. I kind of know how she feels. Our family cat Lucy showed up one day in my bushes and refused to leave. I even told Lucy that she would have to put up with our poodle and guinea pig. Oh, and she would have to stay confined to one bedroom due to my husband’s allergies. Since that time, she’s wiggled her way into the hearts of everyone, so now she can curl up sleep next to any of them.
  • She writes on her blog not to ask how old she is. Basically, she’s older than she’d like to be. Well, she also revealed her birthdate is 1966, which means Rallison and I about the same age. While you can ask me how old I am, I’m also at the age where I don’t keep track anymore and so would have to think about it. 🙂
  • Although as a full-time writer, “hobbies” isn’t a word really in her vocabularly, she apparently enjoys dancing, scuba diving, and horse back riding.
  • Last, she likes to read as you can see in this video: The Number One Reason Being An Author is Cool.

Lesser Pursuits

“I, like most of us, have spent a lot of my time in these so-called lesser pursuits. I’ve spent my time wiping noses and making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I’ve helped with girls camp and scout functions, and primary activities where the children made picture frames out of tongue depressors. I’ve never knitted anything, but I recently crocheted beads onto a dozen pair of socks to send to an orphanage in Siberia. And what’s more, I don’t regret spending my time on any of these ventures.

In this group we are mothers, wives, neighbors, visiting teachers, and involved in all sorts of school and church work. We may very well fall into the category number two–unprolific writers. That’s okay. We have all eternity to work on our talents. Let’s never feel like our other duties–the daily acts of service we give to others–are less valuable in God’s eyes. In some cases being number two is not so bad at all.”

–Janette Rallison, Reflecting on Stephen King

Cover of "My Fair Godmother"

Cover of My Fair Godmother

As an aspiring writer, who struggles to balance having time for family and all the other important parts of my life, I felt encouraged by this excerpt from Rallison’s blog. Granted, Rallison has managed to become a popular writer and so I wouldn’t call her number two or unprofilic. Still, I can relate to what she wrote. Every day I try to make time for my writing talent. And every day I feel pulled in a thousand different ways. Yet others are out are facing the same dilemma, but making their dreams come true, and yet still making family and service to others as priority. What dreams do you have? What else do you consider important in your life? How do you find balance between them?

“I started writing long ago when I realized that writing was way more fun than doing housework. Twelve years later (and countless unmopped floors) I’ve written fifteen books, nine of which are young adult novels. My books tend to be romantic comedies because I love a book that can make me laugh and I’m a hopeless romantic. Even though My Fair Godmother is a fantasy, it’s still a romantic comedy. But it was way more fun to write than my typical high school novel so it definitely won’t be my last fantasy. I’m hooked on mysterious Black Knights, dragons, wizards, enchanted goats–all of it.” –Janette Rallison, What’s Fresh with Janette Rallison

Writing Inspirations

  • Janette Rallison claims to borrow from her daughter’s life a lot. While she was writing It’s A Mall World After All, Rallison apparently lifted dialogue for a scene off the text message log in her daughter’s cell phone. (Does her daughter know?)
  • I suspect that more than one of Rallison’s boyfriends, both the good and bad, have found their way into her pages. For those more familiar with her books than me, do any of these ex-boyfriend stories ring a bell for you? Ex-boyfriend Stories Are Up
  • She believes that if her teen characters are going to have sex, there should be consequences. In other words, she instills her stories with moral values: Moral Values and YA Lit
  • Rallison likes to write cheerful books. In fact, in her post The Other Thing That Bothers Me About Contemporary YA Literature, she compiled a list situations that she found in the last ten of those that she read:
    • Ten cheating boyfriends/fathers
    • Five betraying friends
    • Four drug users
    • Three fatal car crashes
    • Three alcoholic, neglectful mothers
    • Two abusive boyfriends
    • Two overbearing violent fathers
    • Two date rapes
    • Two anorexics
    • Two undeserved slutty reputations
    • One unplanned pregnancy
    • And a suicide

Because fantasy seems to have remained somewhat upbeat, Rallison just might make a full-time jump to writing it.

Strong Opinions

If you haven’t figured out by now, Rallison has some strong opinions and doesn’t mind sharing them. This is one reason I enjoyed browsing her blog. Do you agree or disagree with her? Cast your vote! What do you think about the role of values in books for young people? Should authors put them in or leave them out? Do you prefer happy or dark literature?

Some of Rallison’s opinions filter into My Fair Godmother. For example, there is a scene where Savannah realizes that perhaps fashion isn’t the only thing she should care about.

“Did you know that only 2% of women worldwide feel beautiful? By the time girls hit 12 years old 57% of them hate their bodies. One in four 12-year-old girls think they are fat.” –Janette Rallison, If You’ve Ever Felt Like You Couldn’t Compete with Super Models

Rallison has also blogged about fashion. The above post is an example. So is Fashion and the Author, in which Rallison writes: “I admit that I’m a fashion dropout. This is one of the perks of being an author. You can hang out in your pajamas flipping popcorn into your mouth while you work. What could be better?”

Fairy Godmother Trailer

Tempted yet to read My Fair Godmother? This weekend, Kate McMurry and I will review My Fair Godmother by Janette Ellison.

If you wish to know a little more about the book before you read our reviews, check out this trailer:

Don’t forget to cast your vote!

And save the dates: December 3-4!

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