– Top 5 Things readers need to know about the book
1. This is my first novel published, but my third novel written.
2. I have four fabulous critique partners and this novel wouldn’t exist without them
3. This novel also wouldn’t exist without support from my family (seriously, it takes a village)
4. Leslie and Lars are kind of based on Leslie Knope (if Leslie were jaded after having lived for decades and decades) and Ron Swanson
5. Yes, Mrs. Potter totally go her name when I was stumped for a surname and happened to glance up and see my Harry Potter novels on my bookshelf
– Who/What was your inspiration for becoming a writer? How long have you been writing?
This will probably sound cheesy as all get out, but my best friend, Jeylan. She was writing a novel and when I told her that I was, too, she basically withheld her novel until I showed her mine. It sounds so cruel when I write it out, but if I hadn’t traded manuscripts with her, there’s a good chance CHARM would never have made it to this point.
– Which of your characters would you say you are most like?
I like to think I’m like Leslie, willing to make tough choices and something of a caretaker. But probably I’m also (at least a little bit) Whiskey, who lives life like she doesn’t owe anything to anyone.
– What (if anything) was your inspiration behind By A Charm And A Curse?
I first had an image of a girl falling from a great height while listening to Coin-Operated Boy by the Dresden Dolls, and I wrote a short story (what’s now chapter three, essentially) in one day while listening to that song on repeat. But as it grew into a novel, I was inspired by fairy tales and I wanted to try to invoke some of the same feelings a person has when they read those kinds of stories.
– If your book was to be turned into a movie who would you cast as your leads?
Taron Egerton for Ben and Kara Hayward for Emma. 🙂
– Did you have to research anything for your book?
I did! First I looked up vintage photos of circuses and carnivals, because I wanted LeGrand’s to feel like it had been around for ages. I also wanted inspiration for acts there would be in the carnival. Marcel is a knife thrower because of some of the fantastic pictures I found, and once I found a photo of a small girl (four or five) standing bareback on a horse, I knew I needed equestrians. There were a few things that didn’t make it; I really wanted to feature fire eaters more than what’s currently in there. And I also looked up circus jargon so I could pepper those in to make everything more grounded in reality.
– In 5 words how would you describe By A Charm And A Curse?
Cursed kisses and real-life magic.
– Which Hogwarts house would your main character be in?
Emma is a Slytherin, with a little bit of Gryffindor mixed in, but Ben is ALL Hufflepuff.
– What’s on your playlist? Does the music go with your book?
Music is super important to me when I write. Whenever I wrote Emma, I listened to this band called Kitten, their song Johnny, Johnny, Johnny in particular. And for Ben, it was The Rubens and their song Elvis. When I needed to capture the feel of the carnival in general, I’d go back to Coin-Operated Boy or Rasputina’s cover of Rock and Roll.