Title: WHEN MY HEART WAS WICKED
Author: Tricia Stirling
Pub. Date: February 24, 2015
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
“I used to be one of those girls. The kind who loved to deliver bad news. When I colored my hair, I imagined it seeping into my scalp, black dye pooling into my veins.
But that was the old Lacy. Now, when I cast spells, they are always for good.”
16-year-old Lacy believes that magic and science can work side by side. She’s a botanist who knows how to harness the healing power of plants. So when her father dies, Lacy tries to stay with her step-mother in Chico, where her magic is good and healing. She fears the darkness that her real mother, Cheyenne, brings out, stripping away everything that is light and kind.
Yet Cheyenne never stays away for long. Beautiful, bewitching, unstable Cheyenne who will stop at nothing, not even black magic, to keep control of her daughter’s heart. She forces Lacy to accompany her to Sacramento, and before long, the “old” Lacy starts to resurface.
But when Lacy survives a traumatic encounter, she finds herself faced with a choice. Will she use her powers to exact revenge and spiral into the darkness forever? Or will she find the strength to embrace the light?
- Quickly, give us the title and genre of your book and a 30-word or less tagline:
When My Heart Was Wicked, YA, Magical Realism: In real life, she’s probably out there, out in this cold dark night. Spying on us once again. Watching through our windows. Waiting. Counting down.
- Who is your intended audience and why should they read your book? Girls, but also women. The child forced to be the parent to the unstable mother—it’s an age old story and one to which I think many women and girls can relate. I don’t want to say that Cheyenne has this disorder or that disorder, but when the mother is sick—mentally I mean—the child has to struggle to find a way not only to survive, but to become his or her own person. I wrote it through a prism of magic, because as my friend Maureen says, “surviving troubled parents requires a certain level of magic.”
- How did you come up with the title of your book or series?
I actually didn’t come up with the title. I know–funny. I wrote the book under the working title, “What the Butterfly Knows.” But Scholastic already has a book called When the Butterflies Came, and they didn’t want readers to be confused by the similar titles. So between my agent, my editor, and myself, we threw title ideas around, and someone came up with When My Heart Was Wicked. Shout out to whoever it was!
- Tell us a little bit about your cover art. Who designed it? Why did you go with that particular image/artwork?
I just love the cover. I couldn’t be happier with it. But the truth is, I had nothing to do with it. It was designed by Jeannine Riske, and Murilo Maciel did the artwork. I will tell you that when I saw it, I gasped. I was immediately smitten. And the girl in the picture—I don’t know how they did that. She’s totally Lacy. It’s uncanny.
- Who is your favorite character from your book and why? Well Lacy, but after her, Anna. I want to say Cheyenne, because she’s fun to write, she is forever fascinating to me, and I think it would make me sound edgy to say she’s my favorite. But Anna is so steady. She’s just this young woman who never asked for a daughter but got one, and she stuck it out through the hard times and won the girl’s love.
- How about your least favorite character? What makes them less appealing to you? Oh Drake! I don’t want to give anything away. But he just knows he’s all that. It’s all about impressing his friends and building his own ego. I knew several boys like this when I was young. I’m sure the ones I knew had complex inner-lives, but I sure never saw it.
- If you could change ONE thing about your novel, what would it be? Why?
I wouldn’t change a thing! If I’d wanted to, I would have done it! My agent, Molly Ker Hawn, and my editor at Scholastic, Mallory Kass, both had plenty of edits for me. But everything they wanted was completely in line with what I was trying to do. I never once had the sense that their notes were causing me to stray from my original intended story.
- whats the next project for you?
I’m working on a book that takes place in a town very similar to, but not quite, Santa Cruz. It has a lot of water in it, so I’ve been calling it my “water book.”
9.What are you reading right now?
My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me, which is a collection of new interpretations of fairy tales from contemporary authors. The Good Sister by Jamie Kain. The Signature of all Things by Elizabeth Gilbert. A book about Poison by Mark Siddall. Fire & Flood by Victoria Scott. Collages by Anais Nin. I’m always juggling several reads at one time.
- Any advice for up coming authors?
Carry your journal everywhere you go, and read everything. I loved Page After Page by Heather Sellers for writers who are feeling stuck, and Hooked by Les Edgerton for writers who aren’t sure they know what they’re doing as far as telling a compelling story with a plot that works. Also, it’s okay to be curious about things you don’t plan to write about. For instance, sometimes I feel guilty, like I’m wasting my time, when I go on youtube and watch videos of celebrities sticking their tongues out and twerking. But I think it’s okay. It’s all research.
I am a writer. I am also a mother, daughter, wife, sometimes crafter, and voracious reader. I’m outdoorsy and kind of shy. As a child, I was kicked out of girlscouts. I love cheese and bread. I love Anthopologie and Mary Margaret’s apartment in Once Upon a Time. I’m a sloppy dogloving person, but I admire the sleek cool of cats. My favorite writers include Alice Hoffman, Janet Fitch, Donna Tarte, and Aimee Bender. Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm were also good.
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