New York Times Bestseller

To pick up an autographed copy of any of these titles,
just contact 57th Street Books in Chicago, IL.

RUMP: The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin


The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin

“A fresh riff on the Grimm Brothers’ ‘Rumpelstiltskin’ told with wit from the impish point of view from the troublemaker himself.”

– People Magazine

View the book trailer


JACK: The True Story of Jack & the Beanstalk


The True Story of
Jack & the Beanstalk

“Liesl Shurtliff has the uncanny ability to make magical worlds feel utterly real, and the best part is: you don’t even need a beanstalk to visit them.”

– Tim Federle, author of Better Nate than Ever

View the book trailer


RED: The True Story of Red Riding Hood


The True Story of
Red Riding Hood

“Liesl Shurtliff has out-magicked herself! RED is the most wonder-filled fairy tale of them all!”

— Chris Grabenstein, New York Times bestselling author of Escape From Mr. Lemoncello’s Library

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Meet the Author

“Life itself is the most wonderful fairy-tale.” – Hans Christian Anderson

I grew up in Salt Lake City, Utah the fifth of eight children. My seven siblings tortured me but I really like them now. I loved dancing, singing, playing the piano and reading books by Judy Blume, Beverly Cleary, and Roald Dahl. I also read Grimms’ Fairy Tales so often I wore through the binding. Today I live with my husband and three children in Chicago, which is a wonderful city except that it is decidedly flat and very cold in the winter. When I write, I often wander back to my childhood and gather the magic that still remains. I hope to share that magic with children everywhere.

If you would like to learn a little more about me (and even see some childhood pictures!), just click HERE.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How do you say your name?

Good question! You can hear me pronounce my name here. You will also get to hear me talk a little about how I came to be named Liesl – it isn’t as cool of a story as Rump’s, but still pretty fun anyway.

How do you get your ideas?

Ideas are everywhere and everyone has them, so I don’t think we have to worry about getting the ideas so much as noticing them. I get ideas from my own experiences, my family and friends, books, movies, music, art, and nature. I pick out things that interest me, confuse me, or delight me. I also get ideas from asking questions, like “What if? Why? How?” What if there was a world were names were your destiny? What if Rumpelstiltskin was really a misunderstood hero instead of a villain? Why does Jack trade a cow for beans and steal from a giant? How does Red Riding Hood talk to a wolf? I don’t always go with the first idea that pops into my head. Chances are it’s an idea that lots of people have thought of before. I brainstorm and dig a little deeper until I find an idea that feels truly unique and full of possibility.

Did you always want to be a writer?

No, though I have always enjoyed writing, I never considered it for a job until I grew up. Before that I wanted to be a Broadway star, or a gymnast, concert pianist, dancer, and I vaguely remember a brief moment of insanity when I thought I wanted to do something with computers. (Please.)

When I got a little older and had children, I tried my hand at writing down some ideas that were in my head. It was difficult at first, and in many ways is still very difficult, but I fell in love with the process of writing down my ideas and watching them come alive on the page. There’s nothing like it.

What books did you enjoy as a child?

The first book I remember getting hooked on and reading over and over was The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner. I had fantasies about living in a boxcar in the woods, gathering my own food and finding treasures in the junkyard. I also loved Wait Till Helen Comes by Mary Downing Hahn. Matilda by Roald Dahl has always been a favorite, and I loved books by Louis Sachar, Judy Blume, Shel Silverstein, and Beverly Cleary.

What is your writing process?

I start out with a few ideas and characters, and then I explore them for a while. I dig around in the dirt and poke at things, but there comes a point when I just have to jump in and start writing. Usually I have a basic idea of where I’m going with the story, what my characters want, and what is in their way, but how everything comes together is often a mystery. Things reveal themselves little by little, and I have to work hard to learn what is really going on in the story, and how it all comes together. It requires a lot of faith and patience. It requires lots of writing and rewriting, revision and editing. Sometimes it is frustrating, and other times it is exhilarating, but I always love it.

How do you get published?

These days there are so many different ways, and I can’t say what the best way is for anyone. All I can do is share how I went about it. I studied books that I really loved. I tried to figure out how those authors got published. I learned about the publishing industry and attended workshops and conferences. I worked really hard on my writing skills. Once I felt I was ready, I queried agents to see if they might want to represent me and luckily one did! She handled all the work of submitting to publishers (such a relief!) and negotiated my contract and all business matters.

Will any of your books be turned into movies?

Gosh, wouldn’t that be awesome? At this time there are no plans to turn any of my books into movies, though I think they’d make good ones, don’t you? Feel free to write a letter to your favorite film studio and let them know. You can practice the art of persuasive writing.

“As good as gold.”

Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews

Educators & Librarians

Growing up, I wasn’t what you’d call a bookworm. In fact, for a lot of my childhood I struggled to read, and didn’t always connect with the books and materials assigned to me. But then I found books that showed me just how amazing reading could be and I was hooked. I loved Roald Dahl, Judy Blume, Beverly Cleary, and Louis Sachar.

Today I am passionate not just about writing books kids will love, but also helping students grow confident in their own reading identity and writing skills. I’ve spoken in schools across the country, sharing my reading and writing journey, and leading the kids in creative writing workshops that reveal just how amazingly creative and intelligent they really are.

For more information on my school visits, click HERE.

Reading RUMP, JACK, or RED in a classroom or book club?
Liesl offers FREE 20 minute Skype Q&A sessions for groups who are reading her books, but her schedule is currently full. If you would like to be contacted when more Skype dates open up, please submit your contact information HERE

Other resources:

Rump Reader’s Guide       Personality Quiz       Rump Trivia

Jack Trivia

St. Thomas (1)

“An incredibly educational and engaging presentation that not only inspired my students, but got them excited about Rump and fairytales in general.” —Katie Lawrence, Librarian, Immaculate Conception-St. Joseph School, Chicago, IL

Events & Updates


Though Liesl loves to receive letters in the mail, it’s impossible for her to respond to every letter. If you are expecting/hoping for a response, your best bet is to send her an email.

  • Snail Mail address:
    Liesl Shurtliff
    c/o Regal-Hoffman & Associates
    143 West 29th Street, Suite 901
    New York, NY 10001


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