Nightmare Before Christmas’ Sally Gets to Shine in a New YA Novel From Shea Ernshaw

Nightmare Before Christmas’ Sally Gets to Shine in a New YA Novel From Shea Ernshaw
Long live the Pumpkin Queen! (Screenshot: Disney)

In The Nightmare Before Christmas, Sally’s story is one of defying the restrictions placed on her, rebelling against Dr. Finkelstein to gain some semblance of freedom as she navigates her growing feelings for Jack. But what came after that kiss on Spiral Hill? Disney Publishing’s first foray into Halloween Town is about to find out.

Gizmodo can exclusively reveal that Disney has tapped The Wicked Deep and Winterwood’s Shea Ernshaw to pen a new YA novel set after the events of Tim Burton’s beloved animated movie, putting the spotlight on a new adventure for Sally.

Currently untitled, the novel sees a happily married Sally and Jack get their lives momentarily turned upside down when Sally accidentally lets loose a mysterious villain in Halloween Town. With Jack and the entire holiday world itself in peril, Sally goes on a quest to the other holiday worlds — including one previously unexplored — as the Pumpkin Queen, uncovering secrets about how to save the world and wrestle with new discoveries about her past life.

“This new book, written from the point of view of Sally, takes place shortly after the movie ends. It’s the yet-to-be-told love story of Sally and Jack. But it’s also a coming-of-age story for Sally, as we see her navigate her new royal title as the Pumpkin Queen of Halloween Town,” Ernshaw explained in a Disney Q&A provided to Gizmodo. “[It] will hopefully give fans a long-awaited second dose of Sally, Jack, and all the familiar residents of Halloween Town, while introducing a new cast of grim, strange characters, that I hope readers will love.”

For Ernshaw, the book was a chance to reflect Nightmare’s introspective lens on Jack’s identity, but on Sally herself. “One of the core themes in The Nightmare Before Christmas was Jack’s struggle to understand his identity. He had grown tired of being the Pumpkin King, and in his longing for something more, he plotted to take over Christmas. In this book, I really wanted to explore Sally’s identity, and better understand not only who she is now that she’s fallen in love with Jack and taken on the role of the Pumpkin Queen, but also understand how her past has affected her present desires, doubts, and dreams,” Ernshaw explained.

“What does a ragdoll truly want out of life? What is she afraid of? And how much is she willing to risk to save those she loves? As we will learn in the book, she’s willing to risk quite a lot. Sally is one of the most compelling, and also richly-layered characters I’ve ever written, and it’s an honour to get to tell her story.”

Sally’s reign as the Pumpkin Queen begins when Ernshaw’s novel releases in July 2022.