Today, I am very excited to welcome A.. T. Bugg, author of the Before Happily Ever After series, to the blog. I hope y'all will give her a very warm welcome.
About the author:
Ann T. Bugg is the Queen of her castle in southern Minnesota where she lives with her Knight in shining armor (who has come to her rescue more than once) and her own little Princess Valerie. The pets in her magical kingdom come in all shapes and sizes, as do all the critters that make their way out of the enchanted forest. She enjoys horseback riding and long walks with her dogs, but writing will always be her first love.
(Ann T. Bugg is the pseudonym for author June Kramin. For more on her women’s fiction, visit http://www.junekramin.com/)
You can haunt Ann T. Bugg at-
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1. Could you tell us a little about your MG series, Before Happily Ever After, and about Valerie and Samantha?
Thanks for having me here! In all honesty, Valerie & Samantha are based on real children. It's my daughter and her best friend. The two couldn't be any more opposite - they were just easy targets when I decided to write these stories. I thought the first book was just a fluke - I wrote it for them. The responses I received from people that read it made me want to do more and then eventually, seek publication. They get a year older in each book and each one is a separate tale. They revisit different fairy tales and folklore and make some amazing friends along the way. You get closure with each book - not a cliffhanger making you wait for the next one to finish the story. Number one may start off super sweet, but their tales get more complex with each story. I look back and wonder how I figured some things out that I have them do. LOL. It's at 8 books and I really can't say if I'll do any more.
2. What made you want to write a MG series that featured a magical mirror that would transport the characters into various fairy tales?
The way book #1 starts is something that actually happened to me. I was scared by a possum in our barn. When I started to write out a story for it, I involved the girls in the way I knew they would be - getting into trouble! The story of the messy barn when we bought the house was true as well. I just figured incorporating the mirror would make the most sense. I don't remember if I thought about the mirror first or them running into Snow White. In any case, the two seemed like they'd fit together. In the stories that follow, the girls don't need the mirror, they travel in other ways. Sometimes it's a total surprise for them. They are a fun pair to torture ;)
3. What was the best part of creating a story where the characters are familiar with the stories that they find themselves participating in?
My favorite stories have always been fairy tales re-told. That was another quirk that just seemed to fit. Valerie was more of the reader of the pair, so the banter they share when things are going on is a lot of fun. It's like partaking in time travel where you are afraid to change the outcome. The girls sometimes talk over the tale, afraid of changing too much. It helps when a child may not have read that particular story yet. It was fun explaining to my daughter what the real Grimm stories were like. I couldn't imagine the original tales being told to children at bedtime!
4. To keep within the theme, what are a couple of your personal favorites when it comes to fairy tales? Any that you wish were truth and not fiction?
Beauty and the Beast is my favorite. From the beginning of writing this series, I swore I would never take them back to that tale. I consider it perfection and never wanted to mess with it. Not that the others aren't perfect, I just have a weak spot for it that I can't explain. What do you mean "wish they were true?" Of course they are true. Just wait till I tell Santa you said that! ;)
5. When not writing, is there anything that you love to do?
We're pretty much home bodies. If we're not driving a couple of hours to visit family & friends, I stick close to home and ride my horse around our property or down through the park, or take the dogs for a long walk. There is a river not far away. It's amazing how many scenes I've worked though being out and about with them. We live in Minnesota so that is a seasonal love. We're pretty much movie buffs otherwise.
6. Since I myself am a huge fan of the Princess Bride, could you tell us why this movie has made it into the replay lineup at your house?
It was the 1st movie hubby & I watched together even before we were officially dating. We both loved it before we even met and now it's my daughter's favorite as well. One of them will ask to put it in before I will anymore. I can't explain what it is about that film. I've given it to dozens of people, claiming it was child abuse that they didn't play it for their kids yet! We all know it by heart. Test me. ;) Recently I read through all 8 of the books in my series. I can't believe how many reference I made to that film! Inconceivable! :D
7. June, I hear that you like to listen to 80's music, so, my question to you is: any favorites or ones that you just have to turn up loud whenever you hear it? What makes music from the 80's your musical addiction?
I'm not a huge hard rock fan but Def Leppard & Billy Idol songs get cranked up for sure on Pandora. The 80's were my day. My wasted youth. My "I have my driver's license - let's drive & go nowhere" time. Every song triggers a memory and oh yeah, what memories they are! :)
8. The world has fallen to a robot invasion and only one heroine/hero can possibly save the day, who do you choose?
Man! You know how to hurt a gal. We are BIG super hero movie buffs. You're going to make me pick just one??? How could I possibly....Chris Evans. Wa-pow! I get Captain America from the Avengers & the Human Torch from Fantastic Four! That's 2 heroes in one! Is that cheating? *drool*
9. Care to tell us about your writing cave (include picture if you want)?
My cave is actually an empty paper box on an old table at work. Not too exciting. Most of my writing is done during my free time at work. (And no - that's not sneaky, my boss knows. :) I had back issues with sitting & writing so much so now I stand all day. It's much better. Unless I'm really on a roll or have to work through a scene, I try not to get on at home. That's family time. I have a very unfair advantage to a lot of writers. Trust me, I'm grateful.
10. Any upcoming projects that you can sure with us?
Mostly I'm concentrating on getting the rest of the series polished up. I want to get a head start on everything so I'm not pinching at any deadlines. My daughter is my cover artist and is always in an art tournament of some sort. I have to get her working on my covers when I can, so I'm often cracking a whip in her direction! I do have a few Women's Fiction titles lined up as well and another "under construction". So, always a few pots on the fire for me.
Thanks so much for having me! All of the books have recently been re-released in E and will be available in print again soon. If you are interested, drop me an e-mail via the form on my site and I can notify you when they are available again.
Valerie and Samantha are disappointed that their schedules were not allowing them to spend a week together this summer like they have done every year since they were young. Their parents are able to plan a weekend camping trip towards the end of summer.
The girls are happy for the visit, but sad to think they can’t go through the mirror this year on another adventure. They discover the magic is not only within the mirror, but within themselves when they are together.
Merlin the magician makes a timely appearance to take them on their quest to help Arthur find his true identity and his place in Camelot.
You can check out the whole series on Goodreads and Amazon.