Interview with Sariah Wilson, author of “The Ugly Stepsister Strikes Back”

Interview with Sariah Wilson, author of “The Ugly Stepsister Strikes Back”

Hey, you know what one of the cool things is about being alive today? You can get in touch with authors with a simple little message ping!

I was hunting around Amazon for cute YA romantic comedies since I had just written a cute YA romantic comedy – needed to get to know my peeps better – when I stumbled across Sariah Wilson’s book, “The Ugly Stepsister Strikes Back.”


Her fans loved the book, which gave me faith that vampires and apocalypses hadn’t unseated the smiles in every reader’s heart. I reached out to Sariah, which eventually led to the interview below. Enjoy!

Ann: How did you get into writing? Have you wanted to be a writer since you were young?

Sariah: I’ve found that I’m different than most of my other author friends in that I didn’t want to be a writer when I grew up.  I always did really well in my English classes, and I’d always loved to read, but I’d never felt that pull.  When my oldest son was diagnosed with autism at three years old, I spent a lot of time thinking/pondering/praying over what we could do because the therapies that he would need were not covered by insurance and were literally out of our reach financially.  The impression I got was that I should write a book. Totally out of left field.  A few days later a local reporter was at our house doing a story on my son (we had a fundraiser), and I had sent them a press release about it.  She asked me if I was a writer, because she thought the release was well done.  I remember thinking, “Okay, I got it.  Message received.”  And that’s when I started writing.

Ann: I see you’re the eldest of nine kids, and that you now have four of your own. Writing is kind of an individual thing – are you drawn to it partly for that reason? PS How are all the kids? Are the holidays insane?

Sariah: I am the world’s biggest introvert.  In the old days I probably would have been a hermit – and it’s seriously getting worse as I get older.  I am drawn to the individual nature of it.  But the biggest part for me is the storytelling.  I was always a storyteller, but I didn’t know it.  My dad said you didn’t need to watch a movie after I’d told you about it, because I didn’t leave out a single detail!  LOL  I love to tell stories.  I love to entertain, to make someone forget about their drama and real life problems for a couple of hours.  And all the kids are great, and the holidays are completely, and totally insane.  You can’t even imagine.  :)

Ann: Your bio mentions that you’re married to your soul mate, so you believe in true love which contributes to your romance writing. How did you meet your soul mate? Was it love at first sight?

Sariah: I met my soulmate while he was on his way to serve a mission for our church.  It was so not love at first sight.  I thought he was kind of a dork.  LOL  I mean, he wore these square, yellow glasses that changed from light to dark depending on whether he was inside or outside.  But he was friends with my co-worker and I worked in the cafeteria at the facility where he was getting ready for his mission (where they learn the foreign languages and stuff like that) and we would talk every day for a few minutes.  He asked me to write to him while he was gone, and I did.  I mean, it’s kind of an old-fashioned courtship because in the beginning it was all through letters while he was gone for two years.  Then right before the end, just as he was supposed to come home, he stopped writing me.  I was offended.  I looked him up – his family just happened to live in the same city as my university.  I stopped by his house during a welcome home party, but he didn’t recognize me out of my cafeteria uniform!  :)  He realized who I was as I drove away, called me that night to ask me out, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Ann: Your book, The Ugly Stepsister Strikes Back, re-fictionalizes (is that a word? It is now!) the Cinderella characters. What gave you the idea for the book? What do you think it is about the original fairy tale that has helped it survive through generations?

Sariah: Mattie herself gave me the idea for the book.  I know other authors talk about how they have conversations with their characters, but I’m not like that.  My characters talk AT me, and it’s literally all I can do to write their words fast enough.  It doesn’t always happen to me, but when it does, it’s magic.  And Mattie wouldn’t shut up about it.  One night while in bed, I had this snarky voice in my head talking about her oh-so-perfect stepsister, and that was that.  I got out of bed and started writing as fast as I could – and was up the whole night writing everything down.  I loved the idea of telling the Cinderella story from the perspective of the ugly stepsister.

And why is Cinderella so popular (and why will it still be popular thousands of years from now)?  It is the basis of every great romance.  We get to root for the underdog.  We get to believe that it’s possible (as per the American dream) to come from nothing and wind up with everything.  That goodness and kindness will win over in the end.  But at its heart, the reason we love it and retell it over and over and over again, is because we have a handsome, charming and wonderful man who can see through the façade and falls in love with a unique, lovely and amazing woman that the rest of the world has somehow overlooked.  (See also:  Pride & Prejudice.)

Ann: Will you be writing a sequel to The Ugly Stepsister Strikes Back? What are you working on now?

Sariah: I am writing a sequel to it.  Which is scary, because you always worry that it won’t be as good as the first one!  :)  I also have a YA time travel that is the book of my heart, and it’s another one that I’m almost afraid to commit to paper because it isn’t as good written down as it is in my imagination (but I’m working on it!).

Thanks so much for asking me to stop by your blog!

Ann: Thanks for popping in, Sariah! Looking forward to finishing your book!


Synopsis of The Ugly Stepsister Strikes Back 

Everyone knows how those fairy tales go. The princess gets beautiful, nabs her prince, falls instantly in love, lives happily ever after and leaves her evil stepsisters in the dust.

But what happens when you’re the ugly stepsister and your obnoxiously perfect — read pretty, smart, and, worst of all, sickeningly nice — stepsister is dating the charming, tall, devastatingly handsome guy you’ve had a thing for since you were nine years old?

Quirky, artistic and snarky Mattie Lowe does not lead a charmed life. Her mother is constantly belittling her on Skype. Mercedes, the school mean girl, has made it her personal mission to torment Mattie. But worst of all? Her stepsister Ella is the most beautiful, popular girl in school and is dating Mattie’s secret longtime crush, Jake Kinston.

Tired of being left out and done with waiting for her own stupid fairy godmother to show up, Mattie decides to change her life. She’ll start by running for senior class president against wildly popular Jake.

Ella can keep her Prince Annoying. Mattie’s going to rule the school.

And no one, not even a cute and suddenly flirty Jake, is going to stop her.

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