Good morning, awesome book lovers and book nerds! I hope everyone is having a wonderful week. I certainly am, and I am super excited to be hosting a wonderful author on our blog today!
I had the lucky opportunity to read an early copy of By a Charm and a Curse by Jaime Questell. It was a beautiful book about magic and love and what it takes to end a curse that protects those affected by it. I found Jaime’s debut novel to be refreshing and unique. This is definitely a book you are not going to want to miss, especially if you love carnivals and dark magic.
Here is the summary of By a Charm and a Curse, provided by Goodreads:
Le Grand’s Carnival Fantastic isn’t like other traveling circuses. It’s bound by a charm, held together by a centuries-old curse, that protects its members from ever growing older or getting hurt. Emmaline King is drawn to the circus like a moth to a flame…and unwittingly recruited into its folds by a mysterious teen boy whose kiss is as cold as ice.
Forced to travel through Texas as the new Girl in the Box, Emmaline is completely trapped. Breaking the curse seems like her only chance at freedom, but with no curse, there’s no charm, either—dooming everyone who calls the Carnival Fantastic home. Including the boy she’s afraid she’s falling for.
Everything—including his life—could end with just one kiss.
Now doesn’t this book just sound AMAZING?! I definitely found it to be!
But, anyway, on with the show (see what I did there)! Besides getting an early review copy of By a Charm and a Curse, I had the wonderful opportunity to interview the author of the novel, Jaime Questell. She was an absolute blast to get to know and I am very thankful to her, as well as her publicist, for letting me host her on the blog! And I find that this post is even more special because this is also my first ever interview hosted on the blog! I am super stoked for you all to get to know Jaime!
It’s time to draw the curtains aside and let the show begin!
- Have you always wanted to be an author? If not, what was your first dream job?
I always wanted to be a graphic designer, which is what I do now! I love it, it’s like solving puzzles with colors and shapes and text. Although, when I was younger, I was convinced I’d be a fashion designer.
- What was the hardest part of getting published for you?
Learning to not compare my process/reviews/expectations to my peers. It’s so hard to remember that everyone goes through struggles in the publishing industry, and just because they don’t talk about it, doesn’t mean they don’t have their own frustrations.
- What was your favorite part of the publishing process?
I won’t lie – I love getting ARCs. And getting to know my fellow debuts has been pretty awesome, too.
- Where did the inspiration come from for By a Charm and a Curse?
I had been listening to the Dresden Dolls song Coin-Operated Boy and had an image of a girl falling from a great height. That got me thinking, where did she fall from? And did she survive? What happened next? That turned into a short story, which my crit partners demanded I expand. That turned into CHARM!
- The curse in By a Charm and a Curse is unlike anything I’ve read! How did the idea for the curse come about?
It kind of emerged as a very warped version of the curse from Beauty and the Beast. But instead of cursing the other carnival employees and performers, I wanted to see what would happen if they benefited from the curse. How quickly would that warp them, and what would they do to keep the status quo?
(Side note: if you would like to read more about the curse, check out this post on Entangled Teen).
- Did you have By a Charm and a Curse mapped out before you started writing?
For the most part, I’m a huge plotter, but CHARM was just one of those things and it felt like my fingers knew what was happening almost before my brain did. It is the easiest thing I have ever written, and I hope something comes along to take that title from it!
- There is an array of characters in By a Charm and a Curse. Were any of those characters based on people you know?
Some have touches of people I know, and some are based on characters I like. Leslie and Lars are riffs on Leslie Knope and Ron Swanson. Gin and Whiskey have a touch of my own daughters in them. And Juliet loves food as much as I do.
- Who was your favorite character to write?
Whiskey has the best lines and was so much fun to write. I can’t help it – I always have a Whiskey-esque character in everything I write.
- Was there any specific chapter/scene you enjoyed writing the most?
I loved the scene in the gas station. It was so interesting to try to figure out what these characters, whose lives are so different from anything I’ve known, would do for fun. A gas station food fight felt very appropriate.
- What was it like writing in two different character perspectives?
In some ways it was harder, making sure their voices were different enough that a reader could know what chapter they were in without referencing the chapter pages, but in some ways it felt like a cheat! With two POVs, I could tell the reader things I needed them to know but that the character wouldn’t know, and it made things so much easier!
- If you were part of a charmed carnival, what act would you perform?
I really want to say that I’d do something graceful where I could wear a sparkly costume, like the lyra hoop, but I’m so uncoordinated. I’d probably be better off slinging cotton candy or corn dogs. 😀
- Were there any songs you had to listen to while writing?
Yes! Music is so helpful to me when writing. When I wrote Emma, I’d listen to this band Kitten, and when I wrote Ben, I’d listen to the Rubens. When I wanted to get the feel of the carnival, I’d listen to that Dresden Dolls song or a cover of Rock and Roll by Rasputina.
- As a Harry Potter fan, I have to ask: what is your Hogwarts’s House? 😊
Gryffindor! Though I think I have a touch of Slytherin, to be honest.
- If you could have your book turned into anything (movie, Broadway musical, dance number, etc.), what would it be?
I’d want CHARM to be one really well done season of TV. I feel like there’s more than could be fit into a movie, but not enough for multiple seasons. Though I wouldn’t say no to a movie!
- Any advise to writers and aspiring authors?
Self-care is so important. Whether that means taking breaks while drafting, reading to refuel your creative well, knowing when to take a step away from social media…because you can’t write when you feel like crap.
- Were there any books/authors that had inspiration on your work?
Too many! As I mentioned, I love Holly Black. I’m also inspired by Leigh Bardugo, Laini Taylor, Maggie Stievfater, Kelley Armstrong, Stephanie Garber, Lisa Maxwell, Zoraida Cordova…I could go on all day.
- What book(s) are you currently reading?
Umm, also too many! You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone by Rachel Lynn Solomon; Nothing Left to Burn by Heather Ezell; and Missing, Presumed by Susie Steiner. I’m also really exited to read The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert; Everless by SaraH Holland; Nice Try, Jane Sinner by Lianne Oelke; and American Panda by Gloria Chao.
Thank you so much, Jaime, for stopping by and I had a great time getting the chance to interview you! Thank you to Entangled Teen and Jaime’s publicist for making this possible! It was an absolutely pleasure hosting you on the blog!
By a Charm and a Curse hits shelves February 6, 2018, so don’t forget to mark your calendar! If you love magic with a mix of romance, I’d definitely add By a Charm and a Curse to your Books-to-Buy list!
That’s all for today, everyone! Thank you again to the wonderful people at Entangled Teen!