What inspired 13 on Halloween?
I actually started to write a trilogy a while back when I first started writing. The first book in the trilogy was called Wanda and The Witch Kingdom. Wanda is Roxie’s same age and her family has lots and lots of secrets. WWK takes place in a Chicago suburb like 13 ON HALLOWEEN. The story of WWK never left me. I see Roxie and Wanda as friends. I believe that Wanda will meet Roxie in book 2 of the Teen Halloween Series, 14 ON HALLOWEEN.
How much of yourself is on the page?
I guess every book has pieces of me in it. In middle school I had a very best friend. And one day, that very best friend became really good friends with another girl. It was the three of us for a while. But for some reason the threesome didn’t work out and my best friend became very best friends with the other girl. Middle school is dramatic. Friendships are important. I wanted to write a humorous book that explored popularity and friendships probably because of what happened to me in middle school.
Do you believe in luck?
So much of 13 ON HALLOWEEN explores ideas of good luck and bad luck and lucky charms. Even what it means to be lucky. I think the way we look at things has a lot to do with luck. I think positive people get lucky more often. I don’t really have one good luck charm or a lucky outfit like Roxie, but I do have some yellow polka-dot socks because they just are adorable. I like to write in them. My husband and I lived in Big Sur for two years. It’s a very remote place along the coast of central California. It’s beautiful and so rugged even the Spanish missionaries wouldn’t venture into the wild. The Spanish labeled the region El Sur Grande [which means Big Sur] and left it wild. The Spanish settled and built missions in every other part of California but Big Sur. And after I lived there for a while, I noticed that people who live in nature [or make their living in it] seem to have more good luck charms than people who live in urban areas. When I first moved there a lovely woman named Helga asked if I had a piece of jade. When I said I didn’t, she said I must carry a piece with me all the time. For protection. It wasn’t just Helga that believed this, I found most people who live in the area also believe that jade has the power of protection. I lived in LA up until the time that we moved to Big Sur. I’d never lived that remotely in my life. I asked Helga what I needed to be protected from. She said boulders falling. Trees. You never know what might happen. I bought a small piece of jade that day. I still keep it with me. Sometimes I think people make their own luck. But, after living in Big Sur, I believe that carrying a little something can help tooJ
There’s a quote in my novel Winnemucca that explains how I feel about luck and lucky charms:
“I scooped up the dirt with my handcuffed hands knowing things that don’t have any power over us do sometimes, if you believe in them. Maybe that was the only kind of magic I’d ever find in the wide world.”
What was the luckiest thing that’s ever happened to you?
Meeting my husband.
The unluckiest?
Well, very early this morning when I arrived at 1 AM after a road trip to San Diego, my house was covered in worms. Eeew. Something that infested the Oak Trees this year. I’m told it happens every six years. Kind of like cicadas in Chicago. But this year everyone says that the worms are really bad. I DK, as long as they don’t start creeping inside my house. YUCK. It was pretty epic coming home last night to a “wiggling” house. LOL!
So what’s 13 ON HALLOWEEN about?
Twelve-year-old Roxie wants to be like Adrianne, the peacock [popular girl] in class who gets everything she wants––a trampoline, a flock to prowl around the mall with, and most especially invitations to parties despite the fact that Adrianne tarantulas [scares the heck out of people] and hamsters [hops from one thing to the other without really doing anything] and cats [completely annoys Roxie] and owls [knows everything] and eagles [gets all the attention] her way to get it all. But everything changes when Roxie invites all the peacocks in the eighth grade to her birthday party on Halloween and they all come. And a boy, the boy, actually talks to Roxie. Roxie’s having the best night of her life until the peacocks decide they want to celebrate her birthday in a way she never expected. In her attic. With the lights out. And a pact to swear to never tell a living soul what happens there.
13 ON HALLOWEEN trailer:
Why do you like Halloween so much?
In legend, it’s the time that the veil is thinnest between the spiritual world and the mortal world and that idea is fascinating to me. Plus, where I grew up there was a local ghost story which made the idea of ghosts and spirits likely. And my mother is half Irish so she told some amazing tales about “The Great Beyond.” It’s fun to make-believe. I guess I just never grew out of it.
What are you working on now?
The story is called TRANSFER STUDENT, about Ashley, a Beverley Hills surfer fashionista, who swipes lives with Rhoe, a boy geek alien from Planet Retha, when his teleporting experiment develops an unintended side-effect––swapping lives with Ashley. They survive each others’ lives only to fall in love with each other a galaxy apart. Their story is told in two POVs. Read the excerpt here. http://laurasmagicday.wordpress.com/2011/08/26/ya-indie-carnival-teasers/#more-349
The pic below is of me in high school, wearing part of the belly dancing outfit described in 13 ON HALLOWEEN.