Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Blog Tour Guest Post with Elissa Sussman, Author of Burn (and GIVEAWAY!)

Welcome to the blog tour for Burn by Elissa Sussman! I have read this book and I adored it! Stray and Burn are such wonderful and original novels in YA fantasy. Read about feminism in fairy tales, and enter the giveaway!

Meet Elissa Sussman!

On avoiding White Feminist fairy tales while being a white feminist 
by Elissa Sussman

One of my favorite quotes about fairy tales is a Greek saying: “The fairy tale has no landlord”. This is exactly why I love exploring the fantastical world of fairy tales – the opportunities for reinvention are vast and wonderful. Stories without “landlords” can shift and adjust to reflect the storyteller and the landscape they inhabit. Look closely and fairy tale retellings can also act as a history lesson – an expression of a culture’s changing views and values. Especially when it comes to young women. 

Fairy tales, for the most part, are stories about the transition from girlhood to womanhood. The way we tell them, expresses the way our culture views them or sometimes in reaction to it. 

Fairy tales, like feminism, are constantly evolving. While some of the heroines of modern fairy tales have gained agency, they also can reflect problematic aspects of what is often termed “White Feminism”. 

For those who don’t know, “White Feminism” is not the same as being a white person who is also a feminist. “White Feminism” (as defined by Urban Dictionary) is: 

“A brand of feminism centered around the ideals and struggles of primarily white women. While not outright exclusive, its failure to consider other women and its preoccupation with Western standards and the problems faced by the "average woman" is often alienating to women of color, non-straight women, trans women, and women belonging to religious or cultural minorities.” 

White Feminism fairy tales often assume the universality of their heroine’s plight, without taking into consideration how exclusionary they often are. While able to make leaps of faith regarding magic and other mystic elements, calls for diversity are often ignored in favor of “historical realism”, with the (incorrect) assumption that all fairy tales have the same Grimm Brothers’ origins. 

“Intersectional Feminism”, on the other hand, is the movement to combat White Feminism’s limited perspective. Even though I am a white feminist, it was important to avoid being a White Feminist when it came to writing STRAY and BURN. 

For me, that meant taking great care in writing diverse characters while also acknowledging the possibility that my privilege might garner attention or praise for something diverse authors have already done. It meant reading books by such authors – not just other fairy tale retellings, like ASH by Malinda Lo, but other genres as well, like Tess Sharpe’s FAR FROM YOU or Brandy Colbert’s POINTE – that could expand my own limited perspective. It meant learning from mistakes made in STRAY (thou shalt not use food to describe the color of skin) and getting beta readers who might see something I might not – such as asking Deaf readers to lend their insight on Deaf representation in BURN.

My feminism includes acknowledging my limitations. To use my privilege to help, not hinder. It includes elevating voices that are often shouted over. To be thoughtful, respectful and accountable. To listen and learn. And the fairy tales I write need to reflect the feminism I practice. Because my feminism is pretty darn useless if it’s not intersectional.

About Elissa Sussman:

Elissa Sussman is a writer, a reader and a pumpkin pie eater. 

She received her BA from Sarah Lawrence College and in a previous life managed animators and organized spreadsheets at some of the best animation studios in the world, including Nickelodeon, Disney, Dreamworks and Sony Imageworks. You can see her name in the credits of THE CROODS, HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA, THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG and TANGLED. 

She currently lives in Los Angeles with her boyfriend and their rescue mutt, Basil. 

About Burn:

Burn by Elissa Sussman
Book Two of the Four Sisters series
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Publication Date: January 19, 2016

Official Summary: 

After helping to rescue Princess Aislynn, Elanor has finally rejoined the rebel camp she calls home. Stolen from her parents at a young age and forced into service by the Wicked Queen, Elanor now wants nothing more than to see the queen removed from power. But Elanor has secrets, mistakes she’s spent years trying to forget, and the closer the rebels get to the throne, the harder it is for Elanor to keep her past hidden away.

With fellow rebels on her side—including Princess Aislynn, Thackery, and the handsome and mysterious Matthias—it is time for Elanor to make a decision. Will she protect her secrets? Or risk everything to save the people she loves?

The thrilling companion to Elissa Sussman’s masterful and original fairy tale, Stray, that will appeal to readers of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale and fans of Wicked, Into the Woods, and the Disney princess movies. 

About Stray:

Stray by Elissa Sussman
Book One of the Four Sisters series
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Publication Date: October 7, 2014

Summary (from Goodreads):

“I am grateful for my father, who keeps me good and sweet. I am grateful for my mother, who keeps her own heart guarded and safe. I am grateful for my adviser, who keeps me protected. I am grateful for the Path, which keeps me pure. Ever after.”

Princess Aislynn has long dreamed about attending her Introduction Ball, about dancing with the handsome suitors her adviser has chosen for her, about meeting her true love and starting her happily ever after.

When the night of the ball finally arrives and Nerine Academy is awash with roses and royalty, Aislynn wants nothing more than to dance the night away, dutifully following the Path that has been laid out for her. She does not intend to stray.

But try as she might, Aislynn has never quite managed to control the magic that burns within her-magic brought on by wicked, terrible desires that threaten the Path she has vowed to take.

After all, it is wrong to want what you do not need. Isn’t it?

STRAY is the first in a collection of intertwined stories, all set in a world where magic is a curse that only women bear and society is dictated by a strict doctrine called The Path. A cross between The Handmaid’s Tale and Wicked, with a dash of Grimm and Disney thrown in, this original fairy tale will be released October 7th, 2014 from Greenwillow Books/HarperCollins.

The Book Trailer:

The Giveaway:

1 winner will receive a signed paperback of Stray and buttons. US Only.

Follow the Tour:

Week One:
1/11/2016- Dazzled by Books- Interview
1/12/2016- Seeing Double In Neverland- Review
1/13/2016- The Eater of Books!- Guest Post
1/14/2016- RhiReading- Review
1/15/2016- Two Chicks on Books- Interview

Week Two:
1/18/2016- Stories & Sweeties- Review
1/19/2016- Fire and Ice- Guest Post
1/20/2016- Owl Always Be Reading- Review
1/21/2016- Dark Faerie Tales- Interview
1/22/2016- Night Owl Book Café- Review


  1. Sounds very good. Don't know how I haven't heard of it before...

  2. I really need to get into reading these books ASAP! What a fantastic guest post!!

  3. So.. this may or may not sound weird but as soon as I saw the author's name, I thought it was YOUR name? Eh... I think it's because they look alike. I was like: HOLY CRAP! ALYSSA WROTE A BOOK?? WHY DID I NOT KNOW THIS?? But then I saw that the name was in fact different. *blushes* Can I just say how much I HEART this author's covers?? I heart them so hard! <3

    Thanks for sharing this A! MUAHH! XOXO

  4. Yay for pretty blog tour post Alyssa :D Thank you for sharing about it. <3 Hugs. Sigh. I must read this book pretty soon once my copy arrives :) But.. well.. I'm not really THAT excited for it, and I fear I won't read it when it arrives :\ but I hope to. Soonish. Anyway. Hope you are having an awesome week. <3

  5. I won book one in a giveaway last year. Need to movie it up my TBR pile.

  6. I love fairy tales, and would love to read a good feminist one.

  7. Thanks for the awesome giveaway! Your books sound great!

  8. Love the names of the characters in this book. Aislynn is especially pretty.

  9. I've heard some really good things about this series! I'm looking forward to starting it.

  10. I won book one in a giveaway last year. Need to movie it up my TBR pile.
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