Monday, November 28, 2011

Carolyn MacCullough Interview

Book Nerd Author Interview

Carolyn MacCullough received her MFA in creative writing from the New School and is the author of three previous young adult novels. She lives with her husband in Brooklyn.

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Where were you born and where do you call home? 

I was born in CT, but now live in New York. I lived in Brooklyn for a long time before moving with my husband and children out of the city.

Tell us your latest news. 

Hmmm...I have a 2 year old and a 7 month old so I'm a little "baby focused" right now. But as for publishing news...this year, foreign rights for Once a Witch and Always a Witch have sold in Brazil, Spain, Turkey, Indonesia, and Poland.

What is your favorite food? 


Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? 

Yes, those first ten minutes of each new writing session--it's so hard to get into the moment and then suddenly I do and my fingers are flying across the keyboard and an hour or two can pass and I won't notice. But those first ten minutes (and the time leading up to getting myself to actually sit in the chair, stop checking email/FB and actually write--oh, that's hard!)

Who or what has influenced your writing, and in what way? 

My mother for sure. She was a middle and high school English teacher so I was reading all of the books she was teaching--a lot of Greek myths, fairy tales, etc. She always encouraged my early efforts so I feel lucky.

What is your work schedule like when you're writing? 

I go by word count instead of pages. So I try to write 2000-2500 words a day--but now, being a full time stay at home mom of those two above mentioned babies--well, finding time to actually write has just gotten a lot harder!

When did you write your first book and how old were you? 

I was in third grade and I wrote a "book" about a princess befriending the dragon who has imprisoned her in a tower.

How many books have you written? Which is your favorite? 

I've written 5 so far and I couldn't tell you which was my favorite--kind of like choosing who your favorite kid is!

Have you ever read a book more than once? 

Oh yes, lots of times! The Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Hobbit, The Blue Sword and The Hero and the Crown--oh and I've read all the Harry Potter books multiple times!

Did you learn anything from writing Always a Witch and what was it? 

I learned some cool facts about witches in general throughout the ages when writing these books. For example, witches originally were supposed to ride broomsticks while warlocks rode pitchforks. (Neither sounds very comfortable!)

Do you have plans for a new book? Is this book part of a series? 

I do have plans for a new book--a YA paranormal set by the sea based on a Greek myth--it's a stand alone. After writing a book and its sequel, I'm looking forward to writing a stand alone.

If you could leave your readers with one legacy, what would you want it to be? 

Take heart and inspiration from the world around you. Look for the beauty in most anything you can.

How do you develop your plots and characters? Do you use any set formula? 

I wish I had a formula--a magic formula that I could drink so it would all be easy. Usually, I start hearing my characters in my head first telling me their stories. I try to listen closely. Then I ask myself what does this character truly want--and how is she going to try and go get it. What's going to stop her along the way...that's usually how my plots start to thicken.

Are your works based on someone you know or events in your life? 

I think all my characters have little bits of me, but just a little. I actively try to make my characters do and say things that I would never do or say. It's more fun that way.

Are there any tips you would give a book club to better navigate their discussion of your book? 

There's a great discussion guide for Once a Witch on my website It was written by the talented folks at Clarion--my publishing company.

What inspired you to write this particular book? Is there a story about the writing of this novel that begs to be told? 

Once a Witch was inspired by that fact that I hate to exercise. And yet I tried one April to become a runner. Every day (okay every other day) I would run through beautiful brownstone Brooklyn and I used to pass this same little stone gargoyle statue outside of a really cool looking old townhouse. I used to think about all the stories this gargoyle could tell me if only he could talk. Then, I used to try and imagine what it would be like if you had the power to make stone statues speak. And suddenly, I started hearing Tamsin’s voice in my head telling me all about how miserable she was to be born into a family of people who all had kinds of Talents like being able to make stone statues talk, except she didn’t. She wasn’t Talented at all. I started thinking about what she would do if only she were magically gifted. And that started me off on the journey to writing this book.

Who is your favorite character in this book, and why? 

Oh, that would have to be Tamsin. She's so determined and brave and yet rash at the same time. But I also love Rowena--she's so nasty that she's fun to write.

What was your favorite chapter to write and why? 

When Gabriel and Tamsin meet again in the 1800's. And he's mad at her! But then they kiss and make up...

Can you share a little of your current work with us? 

I would love to! But I'm still in the "very early just sort of dreaming and taking notes about it" stages.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published. 

Definitely hearing from readers. I love that part. (Especially when they write to tell me that they like the books!)

Favorite places to travel? 

Italy! I love it there.

What advice would you give to writers just starting out? 

Read! Read everything you can for inspiration and education and enjoyment. It'll help you when you start to construct your own stories and characters.

What new author has grasped your interest? 

She's not exactly new, but I love Laini Taylor's books; Lips Touch Three Times and also her new one Daughter of Smoke and Bone. She seems like she's got an amazing and wild imagination.

What is your favorite Quote? 

It's from Madeline L'Engle and it always comforts me when I'm scared to sit down and write. She said, "Inspiration usually comes during work rather than before it.”

Since the gripping conclusion of Once a Witch, Tamsin Greene has been haunted by her grandmother’s prophecy that she will soon be forced to make a crucial decision—one so terrible that it could harm her family forever. When she discovers that her enemy, Alistair Knight, went back in time to Victorian-era New York in order to destroy her family, Tamsin is forced to follow him into the past. Stranded all alone in the nineteenth century, Tamsin soon finds herself disguised as a lady’s maid in the terrifying mansion of the evil Knight family, avoiding the watchful eye of the vicious matron, La Spider, and fending off the advances of Liam Knight. As time runs out, both families square off in a thrilling display of magic. And to her horror, Tamsin finally understands the nature of her fateful choice.

Always a Witch is a marvelous and pleasing continuation to Carolyn MacCullough’s Once a Witch. It started right where it left off and another adventure began. The outline of the story was planned out well and MacCullough definitely knew how everything was going to happen. This time around, Tamsin must make a choice that can change the fate of her family’s entire future. Usually when a story involves time traveling, it can tend to be confusing and get the reader out of place, but I found it to be easy to follow. It takes the reader to
the 1800’s in which the author does a wonderful job describing what New York looked like. You can definitely tell that she has done her research. It was a quick read but it was full of fantasy and magic.

I thought the plot was wonderful. Tamsin takes the reader into an adventure where she is thrown back in time to save her family. The characters, old and new, are brilliantly crafted and it was fun reading how Tamsin playing a different person back in time. The process of her time traveling reveals many secrets about not only the Knight family, but her family as well. Tamsin has become an incredible and tough main character that isn’t afraid to do what is right and what needs to be done, however how difficult it is. All of the characters seemed to be well written and fleshed out.

The Talents each character introduced were fascinating and amazing. The setting mainly occurred in the 1800’s but the outlook was different inside the mansion. The story was fun, carried enjoyable dialogue, built interesting characters, created likeable protagonists, and produced a fulfilling ending.

You can purchase Once a Witch at these following retailers.
Click LINKS below:

Hardback Cover

Paperback Cover

Tamsin Greene comes from a long line of witches, and she was supposed to be one of the most Talented among them. But Tamsin's magic never showed up. Now seventeen, Tamsin attends boarding school in Manhattan, far from her family. But when a handsome young professor mistakes her for her very Talented sister, Tamsin agrees to find a lost family heirloom for him. The search—and the stranger—will prove to be more sinister than they first appeared, ultimately sending Tamsin on a treasure hunt through time that will unlock the secret of her true identity, unearth the sins of her family, and unleash a power so vengeful that it could destroy them all. This is a spellbinding display of storytelling that will exhilarate, enthrall, and thoroughly enchant.
You can purchase Always a Witch at these following retailers.
Click LINKS below:

And now, The Giveaways. 
Thank you Carolyn MacCullough for making this giveaway possible.

1 Winner will receive one Personalized copy of Always a Witch by Carloyn MacCullough.

***If you're an Author and would like to do an Interview and Giveaway, you can e-mail me at****


  1. Once a Witch, Always a Witch
    I really like how it goes together! Nice :)
    Thank you for another great interview and giveaway!

  2. I don't have a favorite place but I'd loooooooooooove to travel to England or the UK in general!!
    thank you for this!!!!!

  3. I cant think of 1 favourite place to travel but i did love Port Lincoln where my sister lives - gorgeous beaches, loads to do & the sea-smell is the BEST!
    Thanks for an awesome giveaway :)
    Kel xx

  4. I have Once A Witch waiting to be read.
    Cant wait to though!
    Thanks for this wonderful giveaway like always :)

  5. love the titles of the books. ive read once a witch and LOVED it
    i would love to visit all the places that my closest FB friends live :)

  6. Oh another one I want to win...GOO LUCK me!! I LOVE THE INTERVIEW as well!! :)))))

    Oh I would love to travel outside the US....or maybe a Island with all my BFF's from FB and else where!!;)))

    Bella:) thanks again love!

  7. Thanks so much for the chance. I really want this book. Loved the first. I went to France and loved it. Such a beautiful place.

  8. I have never traveled anywhere outside of the US. So basically I like to travel to see family and am hoping to go to Orlando next year to take my son to LegoLand and Disneyworld! I love LOVE LOVE that your blog is so full of different books. You give me so many book Ideas! Thank you!

  9. I loved Arizona. Although I also loved going to Cuba. These books sound great! I had heard of Always a Witch but not Once a Witch. Thank you for the giveaway!!

  10. I loved Once a Witch ;) And I can't wait to read Always a Witch!!! I've never travelled to America as I live in Europe but I've been to loads of places round here^^
    Another Harry Potter fan!!! yay ;)
    Thanks for the giveaway
    The wolfs library

  11. I don't get to travel much at all. But the Gold Coast QLD in Australia was probably the best place I've been too, who doesn't love theme parks?!

    This book sounds amazing! Thanks so much for an awesome interview & giveaway! :)

  12. I love to travel to beaches or amazing landmarks and theme parks. If possible I wanted to go out of the country. I've always wanted to visit Paris. :))

  13. My favourite place to travel to is Paris :)

  14. Beautiful place to travel is Costa Rica! :)

  15. My favorite place to travel? Not much of a traveller these days. I used to love to go to Italy every year, just to visit and roam through the museums. :-)

  16. Thanks for the giveaway !
    The best place that I want to travel to is London !
    Love the historical buildings there !


  17. Hi!
    I really enjoy going to Cap Hatteras with my family! I love the beach and hot sunny days! Thanks for the giveaway!


  18. Favorite place to travel? Mmmmmm..... Egypt! :) I've read so many books on Ancient Egypt. ><

    Thank you for the interview and giveaway!!!

  19. I travel in books!!
    Sounds great! would love to read this. Thanks

  20. I would love to travel just about anywhere but for now in our lives I am happy just getting away and spending time with family. Thanks for the giveaway.

    Terri m

  21. Egypt. I've always wanted to go there because i've always been interested in archaeology.


  22. One my favorite places is NC, TN, GA area during October. It is cooler than FL, close driving distance and the leaves and atmosphere is peaceful.

    your1chef at aol dot com

  23. My favorite place to travel is the British Isles. I'm cheating because that means I get to use Northern Ireland, Wales, Scotland, and England, all of which I love. Wales or Northern Ireland would have to be my absolute favorite though.

  24. This sounds like a great book! I love paranormal books in general whether they are Young Adult, Urban Fantasy, Fantasy, etc :) I'm pretty open to all but this one looks great and I like <3 the cover a lot ;) thanks to the lovely blog host and the author for this giveaway :)

    swtlilangel4jc at yahoo dot com

  25. What a great giveaway thank you so much ! great interview thanks for sharing can't wait to read Always a Witch !

  26. I have not traveled any place outside the U.S., but based on a book I am reading now, I really want to go to Prague! It sounds amazing and ghostly!
    Thanks for the giveaway!

  27. What a wonderful giveaway opportunity! I want this book! It's on my TBR list if I don't win =)

    My favorite place to travel to is the Rocky Mountains - Colorado, in particular. I love it there in the summer.

    Gena Robertson

  28. Hmm, I haven't really been many places, but I would love to go to Austalia