1. Hi Tracy! Can you tell us how you become fascinated by wishes and their potential consequences?
Wishing is really an act of optimism and belief in possibility. I try to always be open to new ideas and possibilities. I think anyone with an open mind, heart, or spirit is charmed by wishing. When I was doing research for The Wish Stealers, I found that in almost every culture, people wish--it is the first whisper of hope. In Africa members of the Zula tribe wish if they spot a striped weasel; this little creature is believed to have the stamina to carry a wish until it comes true. In America, people often wish blowing out their birthday candles, witnessing a shooting star, finding a four-leaf clover, or losing an eyelash…
A striped weasel--make a wish, he'll carry it to fruition!
2. That's so beautiful. I never realized that wishing is part of an international culture and took so many different forms. Where did the idea for The Wish Stealers come from?
When I first moved to Los Angeles in my early 20's filled with vague dreams of a fulfilling creative career, I slammed head first into something awful--WISH STEALERS--strangers, acquaintances, even friends who were thrilled to spout out how many people fail at creative careers. They stated what the odds are for failure, why back up plans should come first, and how being realistic was more important than dreaming.
I scrawled on a Post-it note, after one particularly negative conversation: “Mr. Wunderkiller! Wish Stealer!” I underlined the words three times and threw the Post-it in a drawer. The idea of physically stealing coins out of a fountain, and the larger metaphor of people who shoot down a dream fascinated me. The idea for THE WISH STEAELRS was born.
In 6th grade I was similar to Griffin in that I was excited for the first day of school, had long hair (brown not red), and loved English--especially reading and writing in my journal. Unlike Griffin, I did not rock out on the bass guitar, but played the piano and hated practicing!
4. In The Wish Stealers, Griffin "returns" an old lady's stolen wish for a puppy. What stolen wish do you think it'd be fun to return?
I think if I could return a wish I like to return a wish that would set things right for someone or reverse a great sorrow. Returning the “puppy wish” in my book would be a delight and joy-- to see someone so instantly satisfied and happy, but I'd love to return a wish that would bring about someone finding deep love, or for a child to stop being scared and be protected, or for something unfair to be corrected.
5. *sigh* If only that could be done! What message, if any, do you hope readers will take out of reading your book?
Hope and empowerment to never let anyone steal their dreams or knock the inspiration out of them before they even attempt to reach their goal. Griffin gets knocked down, but she gets right back up, faces setbacks with steady courage, and creates her own happy ending.
I have too many favorites to pick one! But a favorite meal would be spinach gnocchi, a fresh salad, and some kind of crazy chocolate dessert.
7. Can you tell readers what's next for you in terms of writing?
I just finished writing a YA book and am working on a middle-grade book--I'm really excited for both of them...
Thanks for the great answers, Tracy! Your answers were beautiful and helped me understand the self-empowerment that you hope readers will get out of reading this book. The Wish Stealers really is a great read for late elementary/early middle school kids.
And would you look at that! Here's your chance to read this book! Thanks to the generosity of Simon & Schuster, I have FIVE (5) finished copies of The Wish Stealers to give away to 5 lucky winners!
To enter: fill out the form here, making sure to answer the question!
This giveaway is open to US only (no PO boxes), and ends Friday, March 26, 2010. Good luck!