A second pandemic book release is more than just fairy tales

The magic behind Christina Rosso-Schneider's new book Creole Conjure

3 minute read
Rosso-Schneider poses with her book. She's wearing a Halloween-themed blouse & pleated skirt, a grassy background
Christina Rosso-Schneider poses with her new book, 'Creole Conjure.' (Photo by Tammy Bradshaw.)

Some might say Christina Rosso-Schneider has a little magic in her hat. She herself even suspects this to be true: “I still sometimes am in disbelief that this is my life. In many ways, I am living the dream.” This dream is something that she defined and has been working toward since she was four years old, when she started writing poems and short stories. And since then, she really hasn’t stopped.

The tale of two books

In just the last five years, she has made so much happen. Rosso-Schneider became the first person to complete the dual graduate degree program at Arcadia University: receiving an MFA in Creative Writing along with an MA in English. She credits her clear direction for herself, the path she began to walk in her childhood, with her accomplishments: opening A Novel Idea on Passyunk with her partner Alex in 2018, her first chapbook She is a Beast was released in spring 2020 and now her full-length collection of fairy tales Creole Conjure is coming out on Sunday, October 31.

The idea for Creole Conjure came to Rosso-Schneider during her first trip to New Orleans in May 2015, where she had the idea for the story that became the first fairy tale in the collection. “I fell in love with the energy and magic of the city and started writing a story about a teenage girl’s adventure to save her grandfather from a talking blue alligator and a witch’s vendetta.” As though she were casting a spell, once she had the time to immerse herself in her writing, she completed the manuscript in three months during the summer of 2018, and set it aside until summer 2020, after the release of her debut.

“It’s been an adventure to have two books come out during the pandemic. The biggest obstacle, of course, has been navigating events for both books.” As the circumstances of the pandemic have evolved, it became important for Rosso-Schneider to have an in-person event for Creole Conjure to make up for what was missed—or delayed—for her first book release, which was held virtually.

“One thing I didn’t get to do for my first book launch was have a cake with the She is a Beast cover. I’ve always wanted to have a book cake for my launch. Knowing this, some wonderful folks from the bookstore community pitched in to donate funds to cover both a Creole Conjure and a She is a Beast cake for the launch on the 30th.”

In addition to her driven nature, the other thing Rosso-Schneider credits for her success is community, from the time working on her Masters degrees—where she not only started studying and writing feminist fairy tales but also found herself connecting with local writers who now are some of her best friends—to the community that has grown in East Passyunk supporting A Novel Idea.

There is magic in community, and Christina Rosso-Schneider has figured out just how to conjure it.

What, When, Where

Creole Conjure Book Launch. Saturday, October 30, 2021, at 6pm at the Singing Fountain, at Passyunk Avenue and Tasker Avenue, Philadelphia.

Creole Conjure. By Christina Rosso-Schneider. Chicago: Maudlin House, October 31, 2021. Hardcover and softcover versions are available. Get it here: anovelideaphilly.com.

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