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Saturday, March 15, 2014

(MMGM) Lauren Magaziner, author of The Only Thing Worse Than Witches {Interview}

I'm so excited to have the very funny Lauren Magaziner stopping by the March MG Madness today to chat about her book...

The Only Thing Worse Than Witches
by Lauren Magaziner

Roald Dahl meets Eva Ibbotson in this hilarious middle grade debut perfect for reading aloud

Rupert Campbell is fascinated by the witches who live nearby. He dreams of broomstick tours and souvenir potions, but Rupert’s mother forbids him from even looking at that part of town. The closest he can get to a witchy experience is sitting in class with his awful teacher Mrs. Frabbleknacker, who smells like bellybutton lint and forbids Rupert’s classmates from talking to each other before, during, and after class. So when he sees an ad to become a witch’s apprentice, Rupert simply can’t resist applying.

But Witchling Two isn’t exactly what Rupert expected. With a hankering for lollipops and the magical aptitude of a toad, she needs all the help she can get to pass her exams and become a full-fledged witch. She’s determined to help Rupert stand up to dreadful Mrs. Frabbleknacker too, but the witchling's magic will be as useful as a clump of seaweed unless Rupert can figure out a way to help her improve her spellcasting—and fast!

What three words best describe The Only Thing Worse Than Witches?
Can you give us your best one sentence pitch to convince readers, especially reluctant readers, to give The Only Thing Worse Than Witches a try?
International spy thriller meets sci-fi whodunnit meets heart-wrenching contemporary meets supernatural adventure... is not this book; however, this book DOES have a boy who becomes the apprentice to a witch-in-training, disastrous magical blunders, a witchy seaside town, terrifying bunnies, a torturous teacher that smells like mushy bananas, Bologna Macaroni ice cream, and laughs on every page.
Grab a copy of The Only Thing Worse Than Witches and answer the following:
favorite chapter? Aughhhh it's a tie between a few, but today I'm really digging the chapter called “A Potion to Beat All Potions”

favorite page? Page 217.

flip to a random page and give us a 1-2 sentence teaser? “‘Children,’ she said, as though she was saying something truly awful like Root Canal or Pickled Sausages. ‘Today we will study vocabulary.’”
What inspired The Only Thing Worse Than Witches?  How did the story come to be?
When I was studying abroad in Edinburgh, Scotland, all the cobblestones and castles started getting me in a really witchy mood-- I knew I simply had to write a witch book. I wrote a few false starts, but it wasn't until I went on spring break to Positano, Italy when everything clicked. The thought of creepy witches residing in a sunny seaside town made me giggle. On the flight back to Edinburgh, I picked up my pen and began drafting The Only Thing Worse Than Witches! And yes, that first chapter I wrote on the plane is still in the book today (though it's not chapter 1 anymore).
There are some memorable characters in The Only Thing Worse Than Witches, do you have a favorite? What do you love about him/her? Did any of your characters end up surprising even you with the way they turned out?
I don't have just one favorite--I love them ALL. (How's that for a diplomatic answer!) But for purposes of answering this question more interestingly: I suppose I'm a little partial to Witchling Two. In my opinion, she's the funniest character. She’s a complete wackadoodle, but in a very adorable way. She can't do a single spell correctly and messes up constantly, but she never lets it get her down. She has a sunshiny, energetic way about her that makes her very fun to write.

Some of the witches quite surprised me. A few turned out very differently than I had originally planned, but to clarify how would be a bit spoilery...

If you were a witch, what kind of potion or charm would you make sure you always had on hand?
A chocolate potion for snacking, obviously.
As a middle-grade author, why do you think middle-grade is so important? What do you love about writing and reading middle-grade?
Middle grade is fun! It’s funny! It's charming! It can be silly and goofy and wacky and weird. I love middle grade for the laughter. As a kid, I always gravitated toward books that made me chortle; I think kids love to laugh. Middle grade is where a life-long love of independent reading starts, so it's important to have books that will grab kids by the eyeballs and never let them go--and make them realize that reading can be pure joy.
What is your all time favorite middle-grade book, middle-grade hero, and middle-grade heroine?
Book: Sideways Stories From Wayside School by Louis Sachar
Hero: Harry Potter from Harry Potter
Heroine: Matilda from Matilda

Fill in the blanks:
I’m really awesome at Binge-watching television.

I’m really embarrassed to admit that I binge watch a lot of television.

The last great book I read was Hope Is a Ferris Wheel by Robin Herrera--a funny, adorable, sweet, smart, emotional roller coaster middle grade.
If you were to create and bake a cupcake inspired by The Only Thing Worse Than Witches, what would it look and taste like, and what would you call it?


It would be three feet tall, with alternating layers of cake, icing, ice cream, cookies, donuts, and lollipops. You would need a jaw-unhinging spell just to take a bite! (You'd best have a witch close by to help you.)

It would have lollipop the size of a head sticking out of it, and the top would be sprinkled with shredded carrots. The cupcake wrapper would have fortune cookie fortunes written all over it.

The Dreaded Fairfoul Witch Cupcake would morph tastes in your mouth. First it would taste like oodles and oodles of sugar, then sharp cheddar cheese, then hot french fries just out of the oiler, then dark chocolate with a bit of a bite, then a big bowl of hearty homemade soup, then the creamiest ice cream that ever were, then the most delicious, melty, warm-summer sea salt molasses paddle. The taste-splosion would made you feel tickled pink.

Fine print: the side effect of eating this cupcake will make you have side-splitting laughter for hours upon end (or at least until the cupcake passes through your digestive tract). But in the manufacturer's defense, the name of the cupcake does say EAT IF YOU DARE.

Thanks so much for stopping by Lauren! And that cupcake is AHH-MAZING and I want a dozen!!!

Lauren Magaziner recently graduated from Hamilton College. She lives in Brooklyn, New York and works in children's publishing. Her debut novel, The Only Thing Worse Than Witches, releases from Dial/Penguin in August 2014.


Anonymous said...

I would like that chocolate potion, too, please.

Thanks for sharing this book and interview!

Brenda said...

Great interview and gots to love witchy books.

Jillyn said...

Witch books were my absolute FAVORITE when I was younger. This one would fit in alongside them nicely!

Michelle @ In Libris Veritas said...

I love books like this, so fun and adventurous. I would love to go to Edinburgh, or just Scotland in general. One of my drafts is set in Inverness.

Orchid said...

Great interview. It's cool that you like all of your characters, but I can see why you talked more about the one.