Posts Tagged ‘magic’

Mindy KlaskyWitches, spells, sparkles, lots of laughs and romance with Mindy Klasky and her bewitching heroine, Jane Madison.

Hi Mindy, welcome to Veronika Asks! Please introduce yourself…
Thank you, Veronika! It’s a pleasure to be here! I am the author of eight published novels. I started out writing traditional fantasy (SEASON OF SACRIFICE and five volumes of the Glasswrights Series), but now I’m writing contemporary paranormal romance (with a humorous flair.) When I’m not writing, I work as a librarian for a national law firm – I manage seven libraries in fourteen cities. I’m also a wife and mother to two very needy cats.

If you could describe yourself with three words…
Quirky, optimistic, and hungry. (Maybe I shouldn’t be answering these questions at the end of a long work day 🙂 )

I usually ask the Astrology question, but I don’t know your sign. Are you interested in Astrology? What is your sign? Do you match your sign description?
I am a Libra. While I’m intrigued by some astrology, I’ve never studied it in depth. I find that I am – in many ways – a typical Libra, according to the various horoscopes and other sources I’ve consulted. I am happiest when my world is in balance, when things are fair to all concerned, and when justice – either literal or figurative – prevails.

Tell us about the Jane Madison series…
Jane’s story starts in GIRL’S GUIDE TO WITCHCRAFT. Jane is a librarian at a collection in Georgetown (Washington, D.C.) When her employer is forced to make salary cuts, Jane is offered the opportunity to move into a cottage on the library grounds. Much to her surprise, she discovers a secret stash of books in the basement, along with a statue of a black cat, which turns out to be a magical familiar. Before Jane knows what’s happened, she’s a witch, and she’s forced to juggle romance, work, and magic.

“Sorcery and the Single Girl”, the second book in the Jane Madison series, will be out in September. What will Jane have to deal with in this episode?
In SORCERY, Jane is recruited by the Washington Coven, a powerful collection of witches. She has to decide just how much membership in the Coven means to her – and whether she’s willing to leave behind friends and family to make the magical connections she craves.

Why did you choose to write about witchcraft? Some people say that the topic has already been fully explored…
There are lots of books about witches, but not many of them that approach the topic with my brand of humor. I wanted to write a story about a woman who is capable, competent, and floundering in an environment wholly new to her. Witchcraft gave me the opportunity to explore all of those notions.

Will there be a third Jane Madison novel?
There will be – in fact, I’m writing it now! MAGIC AND THE MODERN GIRL will be in bookstores in October 2008.

You were a librarian – and so is Jane, your heroine. Do Jane Madison and you have a lot in common?
Jane has a topsy-turvy dating life, as did I. (I am grateful to say that my single days are behind me – I found my husband about a year after I had sworn off dating altogether.) Jane also has a best friend, with whom she shares all the complicated decisions of her life. I remain extremely close to a handful of girlfriends – the sorts of people I can call at any hour of the day or night, just to has through those problems that keep me tossing and turning in the wee hours of the morning.

There is also the “Glasswright Series”, a fantasy series. What is it about?
The Glasswrights Series is about Rani Trader, an apprentice in her country’s stained glass makers’ guild. Rani witnesses a murder, and she’s accused of being the killer, so she is forced to go undercover in her society’s strict castes, to unveil the true assassin.

How do you write? How do you beat the dreaded writer’s block?
I used to write for an hour every morning, after working out, but before showering and getting ready for work. Now, I find that publicity and promotion activities fill my morning writing time; I generally get my writing done on weekends (in three- or four-hours blocks) or by taking a week-long vacation from my day-job. During a nine-day Writing Marathon, I can complete approximately 35,000 words (about one third of a novel).

I have a home office on the ground floor of my three-story townhouse. I sit at a desk that I bought at IKEA about 15 years ago; it looks like leftover hardware from the space shuttle, but it has the best ergonomics of any computer desk I’ve ever used. I use a five-year-old Dell desktop computer, running Windows XP, and I write using WordPerfect 10. I keep an Excel spreadsheet to track my story outline. (When I’m traveling, all bets are off – I write on a hotel bed, on a couch, on a chaise lounge, wherever I can find a surface to balance the laptop I’m using — which might be my own, might be a friend’s, might be a loaner.)

So far – knock wood – I’ve never had writers’ block. I sit and write whenever I’m able to make the time.

How do you picture your readers or “Who do you write for”?
Publishers will say that my readers are young women, between the ages of 15 and 40. I consistently find, though, that a wide variety of people read my books. I write for people who are interested in taking journeys, in exploring alternative realities to the one in which we live.

What do you think about eBooks? Would you consider writing one?
I don’t personally care for reading eBooks; I spend approximately 11 hours a day in front of a computer now, and I don’t care to devote more time to pixels on a screen. GIRL’S GUIDE TO WITCHCRAFT and SORCERY AND THE SINGLE GIRL are both available as eBooks, so that readers who prefer the technology can enjoy them.

Which books would you advise for a perfect beach read? Have some favorite authors to feature?
In the realm of contemporary romantic comedy, I’ve fallen in love with the books of Laura Caldwell. I’ve also been reading a lot of young adult fiction recently, and I’ve been particularly taken with the science fiction trilogy UGLIES, PRETTIES, and SPECIALS, by Scott Westerfeld.

And now the famous Nothing-To-Do-With-Books question: you’ve just found $100 in your pocket, how will you use the money?
I’d probably end up in a bookstore, sipping an overpriced cafe au lait and browsing the mystery, science fiction, or non-fiction titles to find the perfect additions to my toppling-over to-be-read pile.

Would you like to add something, Mindy?
Thanks for the chance to answer these great questions!


“Tea or Coffee?”


Saturday evening. Going out or reading a book? Reading a book.
Holidays. Beach or Mountains ? Mountains.
Sleepy Town or Crazy Megalopolis? Crazy Megalopolis.
Picking a DVD. Comedy or Drama? Drama.
Shy or Easy-going ? Easy-going, but need alone time.
Serious or Funny ? Serious, but can crack a joke.
Love to Travel or Hate to Move? Business travel against my will, pleasure travel not often enough
Sporty Girl or Couch Potato? Not.
Leader or Follower? More often leader than not.


“Favorite…”


TV show: House
Movie : At the moment, ALL ABOUT EVE
Book: At the moment, Sherman Alexie’s, THE ABSOLUTELY TRUE DIARY OF A PART-TIME INDIAN
City: Washington, D.C.
Food: Ice cream (coffee with a fudge ribbon – no nuts!)
Music: Ocean waves on a deserted beach
Favourite place to write: Any place quiet enough to concentrate
Quote or motto: Thou Mayest (“timshel”), from Steinbeck’s THE GRAPES OF WRATH

Thank you, Mindy!
Visit Mindy’s website:
http://www.mindyklasky.com

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Richard WebsterBestselling author Richard Webster answers my questions about his books, the psychic world, pendulums, auras and past lives…

Hello Richard, I’m happy to welcome you on “Veronika asks”! Can you please introduce yourself to our readers?
Hi Veronika, I’m thrilled to be on “Veronika asks”! I’m a fulltime writer, based in New Zealand. I’ve written 93 books on many different subjects, but for the last thirty years almost all of them have been on psychic and occult topics.

If you could describe yourself with three words…
Born to write

I read some of your books and found them very interesting – “Practical Guide to Past-Life Memories”, “Color Magic for Beginners” or “Aura Reading for Beginners”, for instance. You believe that anybody can learn magic, discover past lives, see auras, use magic candles?
Yes, I believe we all have much more psychic potential than we realize, and this can be harnessed and used by anyone who is interested and prepared to learn.

How did you start writing?
I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to write. When I was nine my favorite author (Ronald Syme) spoke at my local library. Afterwards, I wrote him a fan letter and received a charming reply. My parents invited him home for dinner and he told us about his life as a fulltime author. By the end of the evening I couldn’t imagine a better career.

How do you work (when, where, how)?
I usually write one book while researching the next. I start writing about 8.00am and try to write 2,000 words a day. Sometimes I can do this by about 10.30, but usually it takes several hours, as I am easily distracted. I love spending time with my grandchildren, and frequently meet friends for coffee or lunch. I also spend a great deal of time in libraries and bookstores. These things all eat into my day.

Why are you so interested in magic?
My mother was extremely interested in magic and the psychic world. She read tealeaves and used the pendulum. A neighbor taught me the basics of palmistry when I was ten, and I joined the Theosophical Society when I was seventeen. Like writing, this interest seems to have been with me since early childhood.

Can everybody see auras? Can you see the aura only looking at a photo?
Yes, everybody can see auras, although most people need to practice before being able to see them whenever they wish. I don’t see auras everywhere I go, although I can if I want to. Sometimes I see them spontaneously. If someone is extremely angry, for instance, but is trying to conceal it, I can virtually always see his or her aura. Unfortunately, I can’t see auras in photographs.

How do all these great things you know about magic help you in your daily life? I imagine that with all the things you know, you must have a different vision of the world…
I guess they help me in daily life. Sometimes they cause me more trouble than anything else. When I was at high school, for instance, the teachers wouldn’t look me in the eye after they discovered I was hypnotizing the other students on the train to and from school. A few years ago, I was on 20:20 discussing psychic topics. As a result of that, a few of my regular clients stopped coming to me. They seemed to think my interest in these subjects was satanic! Fortunately, I’m used to this sort of thing as I’ve always had it. The biggest help to me is that I have no fear of death as I believe in reincarnation.

There is something I really want to ask, about the “Practical Guide to Past-Life Memories”. According to the Past-Life theory, I have great-grandchildren somewhere in the world (even if I am 16 years old)? Is it possible (because in that case, I already have a list of names and dates of birth of several of my great-grandchildren living in the USA :)? What do you think about it?
Yes, what you are saying is correct, although I haven’t taken it as far as you. I find life complicated enough with the relatives I have from this lifetime without adding even more.

Is it possible to discover information about your future using a pendulum? Or is it only possible about past information (according to what I read in the “Practical Guide to Past-Life Memories”)?
You can learn about the future using a pendulum in the same way you can uncover information from the past. I didn’t discuss that in “Practical Guide to Past-Life Memories” as it wasn’t relevant to that particular book. In practice, I seldom use my pendulum to part the veil of the future. However, if I have a choice to make and am unsure about which option to choose, I’ll let my pendulum decide for me.

What do you think about paganism? There are many different opinions about it…
I have always been fascinated with the spiritual life of people in the past. Consequently, paganism as practiced by the Greeks and Romans, in particular, is of great interest to me. This includes concepts such as “know thy self” and everything is actually One. I’m also interested in shamanism, which plays an important role in the modern Neo-Pagan revival movement.

How do you imagine your reader? I mean, when you’re thinking “there is somebody reading my book right now…” Who do you picture?
I imagine my readers are intelligent, curious and open-minded. They are keen to learn, and I hope my books read as if I’m conversing with them, rather than lecturing. I want them to be entertained as well as informed.

How can we improve our insight? Is there is a training?
I think the best way to improve our insight is by reading as much as possible, and experimenting and practicing with the information. I have attended countless courses and workshops over the years, and have learned from all of them, but most of what I’ve learned has come from reading followed by experimenting with one or two close friends.

Can you tell us more about your upcoming projects?
I have completed an Encyclopedia of Superstition, which will be published next year. I have almost finished a book on flower magic and will be following that with another book on angels.

Would you like to add something, Richard?
People sometimes ask why I write books on so many different subjects. My usual answer is that I’m a Sagittarian, with a Gemini moon, and in numerology I have a 5 Life Path. That probably explains it, but to me, the books follow a definite progression and record my own growth and development. Hopefully, I’ll continue to grow and develop for many years yet!

And now the nothing-to-do-with-books question: You’ve just found $100 in your pocket, what will you do with it?
I’d probably buy a Lotto ticket, spend some of it on my grandchildren, and give away the rest.


“Tea or Coffee?”

Saturday evening. Going out or reading a book ? My wife and I always go out. I worked as an entertainer for many years and my long-suffering wife ended up spending every Saturday night at home, as Fridays and Saturdays are the busiest nights for entertainers. Although I stopped working as an entertainer several years ago, I still find it exciting to go out on a Saturday night for fun, rather than for work.
Holidays. Beach or Mountains ? Mountains – maybe because I have beautiful beaches within walking distance.
Country or City ? Country. I live right on the edge of a city, which gives me easy access to excellent libraries and bookstores. However, I can also walk for ten minutes and be in the country. I love walking and am able to walk in the country almost every day.
Watching a movie. Comedy or Drama (or something else ?) ? Comedy. I avoid sad movies as I cry far too easily. I love alternative movies.
Shy or Easy-going ? A bit of both.
Serious or Funny ? A bit of both.
Traveler or not ? Yes. I started traveling when I was 20, and hope never to stop. I’m always planning for the next trip.
Sporty or not ? I like participating in sports, but am not interested in watching other people play. The exception to that is watching my grandson play soccer. I’m on the sideline every Saturday morning.
The Leader or not ? I’ll be the leader if necessary. I’m not a follower, either, and prefer to do my own thing. I think that’s a good quality, but it was considered a bad trait when I was at school.


“Favorite…”

TV show: Fawlty Towers
Movie : Pan’s Labyrinth
Book : “The Settlers of Carriacou” by Ronald Syme. (He was my favorite author as a child, and it’s entirely his fault that I make my living as a writer today.) I’m currently reading “Bad Luck and Trouble” by Lee Child, and am studying “The Complete Magician’s Tables” by Stephen Skinner.
City : London
Food : Salmon
Music : Monteverdi, Mozart, Beethoven, Neil Sedaka, Beatles and most 60s music.
Favourite place to write in : My office, when everyone is out of the house.
Quote or motto: “Writers’ write.”

Thank you, Richard!
Visit Richard’s website
http://www.psychic.co.nz/

Mary CunninghamMary Cunningham answers my questions about her time travel series “Cynthia’s Attic” and takes us through Time! Ready for a trip?

Hi Mary! Glad to welcome you on “Veronika asks”! Here we go! Please, introduce yourself to our readers…
Hi Veronika. It’s great to be with you. My husband, Ken, and I, are recent transplants to West Georgia. We have three grown children living in Kentucky, Michigan, and Iowa, and a thirteen-year-old granddaughter in Indiana. My dad was a journalist for many years and his human-interest stories sparked my love for writing.

If you could describe yourself with three words…
Compassionate, funny, insecure

Tell us more about “Cynthia’s Attic”. Especially about “The Missing Locket”.
I’m going to cheat and give this description right off the book.

Best friends, Cynthia and Augusta Lee, or ‘Gus’ as she prefers to be called, are as “different as bubble gum and broccoli.” They are, however, equal in their ability to get into trouble without much effort. In trying to escape the “boring summer” of 1964, the adventurous twelve-year-old girls stumble upon a trunk in Cynthia’s attic that has been in her family for three generations. They discover its mystical qualities when they are swept into the trunk and whisked back to 1914, literally into the lives of their twelve-year-old grandmothers, Clara and Bess. The mystery of a missing family locket is revealed, and Cynthia and Gus are compelled to solve its half-century disappearance. Their quest takes numerous twists and turns, including a life-and-death struggle on a large steamship traveling from England to America. Along with perilous escapades, they make important, sometimes humorous discoveries about their ancestors, and even manage to change history–for the better–along the way.”

The second book of the series, “The Magic Medallion” will be out in December 2006. Could you tell us more about what will happen?
Cynthia, Gus, magic trunk, time travel, more of the same…just kidding! At least in some respects. The girls still take that same magic trunk back to 1914 where an ill-fated trip to the circus leads to Blackie, a sinister hobo clown. Before Blackie can force them to become permanent clown troupe performers, the girls are rescued by Gabriella, a fortune-teller, and are entangled in the theft of her family’s treasure. Much to their dismay, Cynthia and Gus appear to be the family’s only hope of recovering a precious magic medallion. I truly enjoyed writing the Missing Locket, but I think The Magic Medallion is my favorite because a special character…a teenage cave guide…appears, out of nowhere, at an opportune time. My dad was a cave guide as a teenager. Hmmm? Could there be a connection?

How did you get this amazing idea? How (and when) did you start writing?
Interesting story. I’d just finished telling my best friend, Diana, about the recurring dream I’d had for almost 20 years, when I had a “light-bulb” moment. It occurred to me that the dream took place in the attic of my childhood friend, Cynthia. “Hmmm…” Diana thought. “Cynthia’s Attic. What a great title for a book!” The dreams stopped and the writing began. I decided it might be fun to write a “little” story about the dream and my fond memories of playing in Cynthia’s attic as a child. I should write a memoir! No…a picture book…maybe a song! (Good grief) Nothing seemed to strike me, so I just started writing. My four-page memoir eventually turned into a 33,000-word young reader novel, and took more than three years to write.
I began writing non-fiction…memoirs, mostly, but fantasy fiction is my true passion.

Are some characters from “Cynthia’s Attic” real? (Aunt Belle, Gus, Clara, or Bess…)
That’s the fun part! I just mentioned that Cynthia was my real childhood friend. Her character is loosely based, she wasn’t bossy, but was very pretty and petite, and, I don’t believe we ever had a fight. Clara is her real grandmother, and Bess is mine. I use family members in Book Two, “The Magic Medallion,” and also in Book Three (a work in progress),” Curse of the Bayou.”

How many books will the series count?
As many as my imagination can create! Three definitely, but we’ll have to see where the magical trail of Book Three, “Curse of the Bayou,” leads Cynthia and Gus.

If you had a trunk and could travel in Time, where would you go?
I’d go back in time to when my great-great-grandfather disappeared, and see if I could stop him from taking his ill-fated trip down the Mississippi to New Orleans (the basis for Curse of the Bayou). Although…if I stopped him, how would that have changed the life of my great-grandfather who had to take over raising his younger brothers and sisters when his father disappeared. Would he still marry my great-grandmother, or would his life have been altered? Would I even be here, writing books and talking to you??

How do you write in general (how, when, where…)? What do you do when comes the “writer’s block”?
I write exclusively in my office, sitting at my computer (although I will occasionally sit outside and take notes). I’m not as disciplined as most writers. If I don’t feel the words flowing within 5-10 minutes, I get up and do something else. I’ve found that if I force myself to write, it usually isn’t any good, and I have to spend more time rewriting, or end up deleting all. Usually, if I allow myself enough time, I can overcome writer’s block. I also depend on my husband to help me over “the block.” He’s had great ideas for new twists and turns in all three books.

Is “The Missing Locket” your first novel?
Yes. Before, I wrote mostly short, nonfiction, and wasn’t even sure I could write fiction until I began “Cynthia’s Attic.” Now it’s my passion.

Do you already have plans for an after “Cynthia’s Attic”?
I can’t even imagine life without Cynthia, Gus, and their magic attic! I may try another genre, but I don’t know, yet, what that would be.

And now the nothing-to-do-with-books question: You’ve just found 100 $ in your pocket, how will you use that money?
Well, obviously $100.00 would be a nice “find” for any of us, but it would only be a temporary bonus. I’d give it to one of the animal shelters in the area because that money would help many, many, dogs and cats. I have a soft place in my heart for shelters because that’s where we found our dear, sweet, Molly, the smartest little brown dog this side of the Atlantic.

Will you visit me again to talk about the Magic Medallion? 😉
I would love to! When do we start??

Would you like to add something?
I’ve always had regrets that I didn’t talk to my grandparents so that I could find out about their childhoods, and hear stories about their parents and grandparents. One of my reasons for writing “Cynthia’s Attic” was so that I could create adventures that I thought they might enjoy…adventures that we could enjoy, together. It’s been a fun journey; one I hope will continue for a long, long, time. One more thing: Having moved to Georgia, I now live 35 minutes away from Cynthia! We hadn’t seen each other in more than 22 years, but have renewed our life-long friendship. It’s like we’ve never been apart.

“Tea or Coffee?”

Saturday night. Going out or reading a book ?Going out to eat!
Holidays. Beach or Mountains ?Mountains. I lived in Florida for many years, and got my fill of beaches. I’m now living in the gorgeous mountains of Georgia.
Country or City ?Hmmm. Country, with easy access to the City!
Watching a movie. Comedy or Drama (or something else ?) ?Both! I love to laugh, but I love a good “tear-jerker,” too.
Shy or Easy-going ?Shy. Except when it comes to my books. They’ve given me the motivation to talk to large groups of people because I’m so passionate about them, and about writing.
Serious or Funny ?I’m a combination, although I’d rather laugh than be serious.
Traveler or not ?I think I’m a traveler at heart. I’ve moved 10 times in 22 years, and love the excitement of new people and new places. I do miss the friends I’ve left behind, though.
Sporty or not ?I AM Gus! A true tomboy. I’m a sports fanatic! I love to watch almost any sport on TV. I don’t play softball or basketball anymore, but enjoy golf, bike riding, and swimming.
The leader in the group or not ?Not! I’m a good worker, but not a good boss.

“Favorite…”

TV show: Ghost Whisperer
Movie : To Kill A Mockingbird
Book : Same as above! (To Kill A Mockingbird)
Music : Country
Food : Chocolate cake with chocolate icing (anything chocolate!)
City : New York City
Favorite place to write: my office
Quote or motto : “I live in my own little world, but it’s okay. They know me here.”

Thank you, Mary!
You can visit Mary’s site http://www.marycunninghambooks.com

Terie GarrisonDragons and Seasons’ Magic talking with Terie Garrison. Discover a whole new world… and a very fun author!

Hi Terie! Welcome on “Veronika asks”. So, would you like to introduce yourself?
I’m Terie Garrison, and, to paraphrase the AA intro, I’m a writer. For some reason I can’t understand, people think the writing life is glamourous. Me, all I do is work, read, write, and look after my house, cats, and garden. But I wouldn’t trade my life for anything. It’s just not exactly exciting…except for inside my head where I get to watch the ‘movies’ of my stories play out as I write them.

If you could describe yourself with three words…
Weird, peculiar, strange. (That’s what people have been calling me all my life, so I might as well roll with the punches.)

Now let’s talk a bit about “AutumnQuest”… How did you get that idea?
In May 2002, I went to a children’s writers conference in Greece. There was an editor there who edits what you might call ‘literary fantasy’–not just sword and sorcery, but books focused on characters. I wanted very much to be published by this editor, but I didn’t have anything suitable for her at the time. A month or so later, I read a notice about another editor looking for series, particularly ones with dragons. Fantasy is my first love, although I’d long abandoned it, both reading and writing. But I’d started reading it again about a year before the Greece conference.Well, all of the above combined…one editor wanting character-driven fantasy, another wanting dragon-related fantasy, my newly reborn love of reading fine fantasy (I think I was on a Robin Hobb kick at the time). Then I bought some crystals at a mind-body-spirit convention (lapis lazuli and fluorite, for those who might be interested), and a few days later, the first line of the book popped into my head: ‘When my brother told me it was a dragon egg, of course I didn’t believe him.’ From there, it was a matter of writing Donavah’s story. And rewriting it and rewriting it and rewriting….And now AutumnQuest is a real live book!

Why do you write fantasy and not another genre?
I don’t work exclusively in the fantasy genre. I have ideas percolating in a variety of genres. I’ve written a sports novel, but it, like most first novels, is stashed away in the bottom drawer not likely to see the light of day again. I’m also working on a mainstream novel dealing with forced marriage. And I have a few more fantasy books in mind, too. And some adventure books. And, well, whatever the muse delivers. As a friend of mine says, ‘Don’t wee on the muse.’

Tell us a bit more about the sequel, “WinterMaejic”…
Like the season of Winter, it is dark and introspective. Donavah goes through some intense ‘learning experiences’, that is, she begins to learn about the power she was born with. I hate spoilers, so I don’t want to say too much more than that.

I suppose there will be four books in the serie. Am I right? 🙂
Yes, indeed you are! There are, of course, two further books, one for Spring and one for Summer. These don’t have formal titles yet, but the books carry on the story to its conclusion. All four books reflect the Earth’s life cycles, with the Spring one bursting with life and newness, and the Summer one sorting things out into their bright new patterns.

You said you wanted to write since you were 10. Why?
Other than reading, studying, and doing my homework, I wasn’t really any good at anything as a child, not anything that other kids recognized, anyway. Other kids were funny, or good at sports, or at playing games, or at singing or playing a musical instrument. I was good at reading…oh boy. When my fifth-grade teacher made a BIG deal about some limericks I wrote, it finally clicked: I was good at writing. Since I also loved reading, from that moment on, I knew that I wanted to write things that others could read and enjoy as much as I did the books I read.

You started another series, called “The Book Addicts Club”. What can you tell us about it?
Well, I have to start out by saying that I haven’t sold it yet. It’s for younger kids, say 8- to 11-year-olds, and is about a group of kids who like to read. In the first book, there’s a new kid at school, and the main characters, Marcie and Gina, stumble across his secret. Adventure ensues. There’s an element of fantasy, as each book has a ghost, but the stories are mainly adventure stories.

How do you picture your reader? You know, when you say that “there is somebody reading my book right now…”
I envision a young person who likes reading not only for the story, but also for the actual writing. Story is, of course, the most important thing, but I appreciate fine writing myself and strive for my own to reach toward that ideal. Of course, I picture this reader curled up with my book, engrossed to the exclusion of just about everything else. Hey, I can dream, can’t I?

How do you usually work (when, where…)? What about writer’s block?
For my job, I sit in front of a computer all day writing manuals for software. I can’t bear the thought of going home and spending more hours sitting in front of a computer writing. So I write my first drafts by hand. I bought a lovely fountain pen more than ten years ago, and all of my first drafts since then have been written with this pen. (It also turned me into a collector of modern Waterman pens, but that’s a different story.) Because I write with pen and paper, I can work anywhere: the sofa, the easy chair, in bed, out in the garden, at a park, in the town square. I’ve spent hours sitting at Stonehenge writing, and at lesser-known stone circles, you can actually sit there leaning against the stone while you write. Talk about inspiring!I’ve never had a problem with writer’s block, per se. My big problem is self-discipline–making myself sit down and write. On the other hand, I wonder if what others call ‘writer’s block’ is the same thing I call ‘lack of self-discipline’. I don’t think so, but I wonder sometimes.

What’s the most difficult when writing a novel?
For me, it’s often just making myself sit down and do it. As I said above, I don’t have as much self-discipline as I’d like. Also, because my day job is also writing, I spend a certain amount of my creativity there. Luckily, manuals are technical and so don’t often use up so much of my day’s allotment of creativity as to leave me dry when I get home.

Do you have some piece of advice for aspiring writers?
BIC: Butt In Chair. There’s a cliché that a lot of wannabe writers simply want ‘to have written’, but they don’t want to do the actual writing. If you want to be a writer, you have to write. To me, that’s what separates the wannabes from the real writers: whether they’re actually writing or not. And the only way to actually write is, well, to actually write–to put your rear end in the chair and do it.

Would you like to add something, Terie?
I guess what I’d most like to tell young people is to get comfortable inside your own skin. Be yourself and don’t worry about what others think. That’s hard when you’re a teenager, but I still think it’s a worthwhile goal to strive for.

And now the nothing-to-do-with-books question : You’ve just found 100 $ in your pocket, how will you use it?
Buy something to treat myself–probably more books and candles, and maybe some new bubble bath.


“Tea or Coffee?”

Saturday evening. Going out or reading a book ?Read a book. Which pretty much IS what I do on Saturday nights!
Holidays. Beach or Mountains ?Definitely the mountains. I grew up in a beach city and beaches hold no charm for me. I love taking hikes in the trees, especially if I can sit somewhere and write for a bit.
Country or City ?Country. I grew up in the city. I don’t need the hustle and bustle of that; I prefer the slow quietness of the countryside.
Watching a movie. Comedy or Drama (or something else ?) ?It depends on my mood. I do love period dramas. My favourite is the BBC mini-series of Pride and Prejudice.
Shy or Easy-going ?Mostly easy-going. Sometimes stressed and frazzled.
Serious or Funny ?I’d like to say funny, but I’m afraid I’m more serious than I’d care to admit. I used to be one of those very serious teenagers who took every little thing to heart. I’ve tried to lighten up at bit as I’ve gotten older.
Traveler or not ?I enjoy travel, but am naturally a home-body. I moved from Southern California to England in 2000, and I love to explore my adopted country. I usually take one or two week-long trips to a different part of the UK every year.
Sporty or not ?I used to be a long-distance cyclist, but I’ve not done much cycling lately. I do love going out for very long rides, but I’m not in shape for that anymore. And if it has a ball, Terie does NOT play.
The leader in the group or not ?Only reluctantly.

“Favorite…”

TV show: Star Trek: The Original Series and Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Movie : Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn (I cry at the end every single time)
Book : Can’t say just one. Lord of the Rings, Jane Eyre, Farseer Trilogy by Robin Hobb–you better shut me up now before it gets out of hand
Music : David Bowie
Food : Spaghetti
City : Hard to say just one. I went to Berlin a few weeks ago for the first time and absolutely fell in love with it.
Favorite place to write : Outdoors in the English countryside, preferably in a place of historical significance, in the sunshine. Unfortunately, this opportunity doesn’t happen nearly as often as I’d like.
Quote or motto : ‘You must write for children in the way as you do for adults, only better.’ Maksim Gorky

Thank you, Terie!
Terie’s website http://www.teriegarrison.com

Kelly McClymerA magical interview with Kelly McClymer, author of “The Salem Witch Tryouts”  Wands in hand, get ready!

Hi Kelly! How about a few words about you?
About me? Well… I have been writing for as long as I can remember. I’ve taken many detours in life and didn’t end up publishing a novel until 2000, a few years after I decided to write a novel instead of short stories. My first love is science fiction, but I read eclectically and voraciously, and I encourage others to do the same because it can be wonderful to find a familar old friend in a book, and it can also be electrifying to go somewhere you weren’t expecting when you read something different.

Virgos are usually shy, meticulous, quite reliable but quite overcitical. Do you think you’re a typical Virgo?
I’m definitely an on the cusp Virgo/Libra. I am horribly shy, have unmet aspirations toward being meticulous, and am–usually–five minutes early for appointments. One of my more frequent nightmares involves being late/remembering something I had to do when it is too late. I’m very hard on myself, but try not to be so on others–but am excellent at irritating everyone with my highly analytical examination of everything from why I like butter on my toast to why my characters act the way they do in my books.

Can you tell us more about “The Salem Witch Tryouts”?
“The Salem Witch Tryouts” is my first attempt at writing for young adults. In fact, when the idea came to me, my first thought (overcritical Virgo anyone?) was “What do you know about teenagers? You were a teenager in the dark ages!” Pru, my cheerleading witch protagonist, had no such qualms. She wanted me to write her story. So I put my doubts aside and wrote her story. I had a blast visiting someplace I’ve never been (I was the quiet newsletter editor in high school, my sport was bowling…don’t laugh!…and I did the makeup for our class musical SOUTH PACIFIC my senior year). The funny thing is, after I had written the first draft (which I dove in and wrote during NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month in November), I realized that I was actually quite qualified to write young adult fiction. Besides have three children, two still in the teen years, I had been reading young adult fiction all along (aloud to my children, and to keep up with what they were interested in, as well). One of my favorite books is still Madeleine L’Engel’s “A Wrinkle in Time”, and my children (should I say offspring, since they are now taller than I am?) and I still discuss Harry Potter and the Animorph series of books that we read together.

Is “The Salem Witch Tryouts” your first book?
“The Salem Witch Tryouts” is my first young adult book written (but not published; the deal I had with my publisher was that I would write a book…”Getting to Third Date”… for their young adult romantic comedy line first, and then they would bring out the first Salem book while I wrote the second). I have also published seven historical romance novels and have about a dozen short science fiction stories that may yet see the light of day outside my filing cabinet drawer.

Why did you want a cheerleader to be the main character?
The cheerleading witch character came to me in one fell swoop when I misheard someone who was actually saying the Salem Witch trials. I had been a huge ‘Bewitched’ (the series, not the movie) fan, and I instantly pictured a modern version of poor Tabitha being yanked from a mortal school, where she excelled, and into a witch school, where she would be required to take remedial magic classes. Not that that would be bad enough, but the cheerleader aspect lent even more angst–cheering in 3-D has got to be more complicated, which would become obvious to her, of course, during tryouts. Although I wasn’t a cheerleader in high school, my daughter was for a year and I came to appreciate how much hard work, skill, timing, and risk there is in the sport (and it is a sport!). I knew that there would be room to play with the expectations some still have about cheerleading as fluff.

If you could have a magic wand, what would you do first?
Oh, that’s easy. I’d make everyone ease up on the whole ‘those who don’t do things like I do are wrong’ vibe that has pervaded the world since human beings started realizing they could throw rocks at each other.

How do you write? Wat do you do when comes the writer’s block?
My process changes with every project. When I first seriously started writing short science fiction (back in the Dark Ages), I belonged to a critique group that meant one Saturday a month. I’d think about the story I wanted to write for a month (while I worked, took care of my daughter, and went to school). On Friday night, I’d sit down at the computer and draft the story while my husband and I watched our favorite Friday night TV. Saturday morning, I’d revise, and head off to get the story slashed and burned by some excellent and insightful fellow writers. For Salem, I wrote the first draft in a month (as a challenge to myself, as part of NaNoWriMo, and because that worked best to keep out the doubts I had about being able to write young adult fiction without getting all preachy with it). For the sequel to Salem (“Competition’s A Witch”), I used a collage process, and took my AlphaSmart to Starbucks many days to just immerse myself in the story and avoid distractions like housework and TV (People’s Court rocks…how sad is that? 🙂

Could we know who drew the cover of “The Salem Witch Tryouts”? It’s lovely! Did you pick it yourself?
Kirsten Ulve did the cover (and the cover for the sequel, too, which also rocks, and I hope to be able to share it soon). I didn’t have a thing to do with it, except for saying that Pru’s hair was longish blonde and the school colors of the witches were orange, black and red…which, if you’ve ever seen my artwork, is a very good thing!

Do you already have another project?
I just finished revisions of the sequel for Salem, so I’m diving into a book that has been bedeviling me for about three months now. I don’t want to say much about it, except that I love it, and it represents another sharp left turn for me.

And now the nothing-to-do-with-books question : You’ve just found 100 $ in your pocket, what will you do with it? Without thinking too much 🙂
No sweat! First stop, my local Borders bookstore. Load up on books. Second stop, my local Starbucks (not far from said Borders) for a venti caramel macchiatto (sp?). Then, phone off the hook and let the reading begin.


“Tea or Coffee?”

Saturday evening. Book or Disco?Book. Naturally.
Holidays. Beach or Mountains?Beach. I was born in Charleston, South Carolina and spent many a childhood hour on the beach at Sullivan’s Island. It’s in my blood.
Country or City?Country, with outings to the city.
Watching a movie. Comedy or Drama (or something else ?)? Just saw Pirates of the Carribean 2. Loved it. I want III *now* (anyone got a preproduction bootleg copy?…I’d be willing to trade a goth 17 year old who should be out of braces soon…)
Shy or Easy-going? Both…most of the time 🙂
Serious or Funny? Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart (funny, with an edge of reality)
Traveler or not?Just call me the 10 Percent Traveller–the rest of the time I’m a homebody.
Sporty Girl or Couch Potato?I was on the *bowling* team in high school!
Leader or Follower?Sometimes a leader. Reluctantly. I grok Orwell in Animal Farm. Power corrupts.


“Favorite…”


TV show: past tense: Buffy; present: Flip This House
Movie: right now? Pirates II
Book: To Kill a Mockingbird
Music: sappy, sentimental…and rock, of course
City: London
Place to write in: Starbucks
Sentence or motto: You never know until you try.

Thanks, Kelly!
Have a look at Kelly’s website: http://kellymcclymer.com