Wednesday, May 30, 2018

"All the Ever Afters"

Danielle Teller (formerly Morse, nee Dyck) grew up in Canada, where she and her two brothers were raised by the best parents in the world. As a child, she was a bookworm who dreamed of being a writer, but she chickened out and went to medical school instead. In 1994, she moved temporarily to America, and she has been living temporarily in America ever since. Teller attended Queen's University during her undergraduate years, and she received her medical training at McGill University, Brown University and Yale University. She has held faculty positions at the University of Pittsburgh and Harvard University, where she investigated the origins of chronic lung disease and taught in the medical intensive care unit. In 2013, Teller quit her job to pursue her childhood dream of being a writer. She lives with her husband, Astro Teller, and their four children in Palo Alto, California.

Teller applied the Page 69 Test to her new novel, All the Ever Afters: The Untold Story of Cinderella’s Stepmother, and reported the following:
This is the most interesting question anyone has asked about my book! Page 69 comes at the end of a chapter, so it is half blank, which may be a good metaphor for my writing. I write very slowly and revise constantly, so my word counts are always lower than they are supposed to be, never higher. I struggle to fill blank spaces!

This chapter closes with Agnes, who eventually becomes the “evil” stepmother, escaping a cruel mistress for what she hopes will be a better position as a servant:
As we left the kitchen, I cast a glance at the bulky form of the laundress, who lay sprawled in her scant underclothes, glistening with sweat in the weak light of dawn that filtered through the skylights. I prayed that I might not meet her again.
This is the first of Agnes’s “ever after” moments, where she finds her way out of unhappy circumstances to seek a better life for herself, and later for her daughters. As such, page 69 is emblematic of the novel as a whole, which chronicles the successes and setbacks of the stepmother’s rags-to-riches life.
Visit Danielle Teller's website.

Writers Read: Danielle Teller.

--Marshal Zeringue