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Comic-Con author profile: Marianna Shek

Describe your latest book in under 50 words.

The Stolen Button is a fairytale picture book about a spoilt girl, Mei Ling, who gets lost inside a mirror maze and trades her belly button to a gypsy in order to get home.

Why self-publish?

I had some interest from publishers but they wanted me to scale back the fairytale so that it would appeal to a younger age group. The Stolen Button is a picture book for adults. It’s along the lines of Neil Gaiman’s The Sleeper and the Spindle and Odd and the Frost Giants.

Leila (my illustrator) and I discussed simplifying the story to suit a younger audience, but we decided we wanted to stick to our vision. At the time, we were both PhD students and this as our passion project, the only work where we had full creative control and we didn’t want to relinquish it.

What year did you start and where are you based?

I started working on The Stolen Button two years ago. It took so long because Leila and I were both working on it part-time.

What will you publish next?

I’ve just finished a middle-grade novel The Apprentice Guide to Faerieland. It is a choose-your-own-fairytale adventure for middle-grade readers. I love working with non-linear narratives. Hopefully, I’ll get it out by the end of the year.



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