Fifteen years ago, on Aug. 4, 2003, Utah author Shannon Hale published her very first book, “The Goose Girl.”
It took Hale about 30 tries to write “The Goose Girl” until she was satisfied with the final manuscript. It was rejected again and again by nine publishers until Bloomsbury decided to publish it.
"It was seriously high anxiety. My stomach was constantly rolling in case it didn't really happen and then it finally did," Hale said in a later interview. "There's nothing that can really happen that can equal the joy and excitement of getting your first book published."
“The Goose Girl” went on to win the Josette Frank Award for youth fiction the year it was published.
The plot of the book is based on a story of the same title by the Brothers Grimm, depicting the life of Anidori-Kiladra Talianna, the Crown Princess of Kildenree. Her aunt teaches little Ani to speak to the swans in the pond near her, but soon her aunt is gone and Ani’s mother forbids her from speaking to animals.
After the death of Ani’s father, she finds that her mother has made her brother the heir to the throne and has set up an arranged marriage for Ani to the Crown Prince of Bayern. On the way there, she is betrayed by her best friend and left as a mere goose girl in Bayern, fighting to get back her position and master her gift.Comment on this story
Ani’s story is the first of the four books in the Books of Bayern series: “The Goose Girl,” “Enna Burning,” “River Secrets” and “Forest Born.” Each book is told from a different character’s perspective.
In 2006, Hale won the Newbery Honor for her book “Princess Academy."
Hale was born in Salt Lake City, went to West High and received her bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Utah before getting her master’s degree in creative writing from the University of Montana.
Correction: A previous version of this story said Shannon Hale co-wrote "Princess Academy" with her husband. Dean Hale, however, was not a co-author of that particular book.