I am so excited to be hosting Lindsay Ribar, author of The Art of Wishing, here at Read and Reviewed as part of the 2013 Debut Author’s Bash, hosted by YAReads. Please go HERE to view the full schedule of stops!
I absolutely loved The Art of Wishing, so was really pleased to be paired with Lindsay for this event. I adored the mix of magic and contemporary, the way music was written and used throughout the story, and the quick wit and humor of the characters. If you’re looking for a break from your usual paranormal fare, do give Lindsay’s book – which features genies! – a try!
He can grant her wishes, but only she can save his life.
Margo McKenna has a plan for just about everything, from landing the lead in her high school play to getting into a good college. So when she finds herself in possession of a genie’s ring and the chance to make three wishes, she doesn’t know what to do. Why should she put her life into someone else’s hands?
But Oliver is more than just a genie — he’s also a sophomore at Margo’s high school, and he’s on the run from a murderer. As he and Margo grow closer, she discovers that it will take more than three wishes to save him.
A whole lot more.
Hi, Lindsay! I’m so excited to be interviewing you as part of the Debut Author Bash. To get us started, let’s talk about your book! Did you always know you wanted to be a writer?
Not in the professional sense, no. I wanted to be a dancer, a teacher, an actor (that last one got me most of the way through college), and probably a lot of other things along the way – but I didn’t think seriously about writing as a career until a few years after college, when I’d already started working in the publishing industry. It’s always been a hobby, though. Whatever else I was focused on at any given time, writing was always in the background. Usually in fanfiction form, though, if we’re being honest.
I’ve read in previous interviews that Oliver is your favorite character. (He’s mine, too!) What do you like best about him? And can you tell us something about him that we don’t know?
I think my favorite part of writing Oliver was discovering how much he enjoys what he does: granting wishes, giving people what they want, making his masters happy. He’s got his fair share of angst (what supernatural being doesn’t? Actually, what human being doesn’t?), but overall he’s pretty optimistic and easygoing. Even when it comes to people that he maybe shouldn’t be so optimistic about. *coughXaviercough*
Something you don’t know about Oliver? Hmm. Well, Oliver’s favorite song (because he has a soft spot for upbeat sadness) is “Homeward Bound” by Simon and Garfunkel. His least favorite song is “Run For Your Life” by the Beatles. (For a while there, it was “Genie in a Bottle” by Christina Aguilera – but now he kinda likes it. Sort of ironically… but also sort of not ironically at all.)
Do any aspects of Oliver or Margo remind you of yourself? In what way?
Oh, not just Oliver and Margo. Nearly every single character in The Art of Wishing is based on some part of me, or something I’ve felt or experienced. Writing is kind of like acting in that way, at least to me; unless the characters I write are rooted in something I can relate to, they’re going to feel false. Margo, for example, has a huge ego about the things she knows she can do well – but at the same time, she’s reluctant to do things, especially artistic things, when she thinks the outcome might not be ideal. (Hence her first wish!) That’s very me. Likewise Oliver’s inclination to go along with other people’s plans, rather than planning things himself – and while that mind-reading thing he does, where he can tell exactly what people want from him, might be a fantasy thing, but there have definitely been times when I wished I could do that! Vicky’s self-awareness about other people’s perceptions of her… Naomi’s tendency to assume everyone always agrees with her… even Xavier’s jealousy. Those are all me.
I absolutely loved the humor found in The Art of Wishing. Are you as good with the quips and comebacks as your characters?
Oh geez, definitely not. That’s part of the reason why I like writing fiction so much: you have all the time in the world to think of that perfect comeback – the comeback that, in real life, always occurs to you ten minutes past the moment where it would’ve been relevant.
I know The Art of Wishing was originally supposed to be the first book of a trilogy. Why did you change the series to two books instead of three? Did your original idea for the story change? Or were you just able to condense it more than you’d originally thought?
Changing it from a trilogy into a duology was a mutual decision between my editor, Kathy Dawson, and me. I’d originally planned a very specific story that would span three books, but once I started writing that second book, everything changed – which shouldn’t have been surprising, since things never go the way I plan when I’m writing. The story evolved into something totally new, and I no longer needed three books to tell it!
You’ve talked before about your love of music, and that you’ve got songs for various parts of your books and characters. What songs remind you of “Oliver,” “Margo,” and “Oliver and Margo”?
Just to name a few…
- “When I’m Up (I Can’t Get Down)” by Great Big Sea
- “Consequence Free” by Great Big Sea
- “Lake of Silver Bells” by Carbon Leaf
- “Chokehold” by Adam Lambert (don’t tell Margo about this one)
- “Stinging Velvet” by Neko Case (in the book, she actually mentions that this is her favorite song!)
- “Zuma” by Coyote Grace
- “The Story” by Brandi Carlile
- “Joking” by the Indigo Girls
- “Come Around” by Sarah Jarosz
Oliver and Margo together:
- “Faster” by Matt Nathanson
- “Seed” by Carbon Leaf
- “Always” by Panic! at the Disco
- “Alone With You” by Alpha Rev
- “I Will Wait” by Mumford & Sons
What’s your favorite line from The Art of Wishing?
Well, I’m not going to tell you what it is – but I will say that it’s near the top of page 160 in the hardcover edition of the book….
Any chance we can get some sort of teaser from The Fourth Wish? I’m sure I’m not alone in my anticipation of the next book!
A teaser, hmm? All right. Three things about The Fourth Wish:
- A new character enters the mix: another blast from Oliver’s past, though slightly less stabby than Xavier was.
- Margo loses something very important, and doesn’t realize it until long after she probably should.
- Oliver meets Margo’s mom. It’s… not entirely awkward…?
Okay, now let’s talk about you and your love of music!
Best concert you’ve ever been to?
Oh, this one’s a tie. The first was an Amy Ray show in August of 2009. She played a little venue called the Beachcomber, out on the tail end of Cape Cod… right in the middle of a hurricane. I drove out with some friends, and we got right up front, near the stage. Amy and her band rocked out, with the wind howling outside, and it was pretty surreal. Plus, she ended her set with a song I’d requested in New York two nights before!
The second was a Carbon Leaf show on last year’s Rock Boat (which is basically a music festival on a cruise ship). They played on the top deck of the ship, right after the sun went down – and there’s a lot to be said for hearing your favorite songs out on the open water, with the wind whipping through your hair.
Bat Boy. No question. And if your next question is “Why?” then you should take a few minutes to listen to “Show You a Thing or Two” or “Apology to a Cow” or even “Hold Me, Bat Boy.” Those songs are all the perfect combination of catchy, heartfelt, and 105% ridiculous. I love them.
Top Five Songs Played on your iPod/MP3 player?
- “Lake of Silver Bells” by Carbon Leaf
- “Seed” by Carbon Leaf
- “Bus Bus” by Amy Ray
- “Stand Around” by Alpha Rev
- “Tip Toe” by Carbon Leaf
All-time favorite artist/group?
Carbon Leaf – in case my top five list didn’t give it away! If you haven’t heard them, definitely look them up. I usually describe them as “Celtic-influenced southern indie rock,” but their style is so much more “let’s-try-everything!” than that – which is a lot of the reason why I love them.
All right, now let’s talk books! What would you like to see MORE of in the YA world?
I’d love to see more books that deal with gender and sexuality in non-traditional (and non-binary) ways. Bring on the androgynous or gender-fluid characters! The bi- or pan-sexual characters! Seriously, I’m surrounded by awesome people like this in real life – so I’d really like to see more of them in fiction, too.
You’ve mentioned in various places how much you love werewolves. What is it about them that grabs your attention so much? And what is your favorite book(s) that includes werewolves?
I think I mostly love werewolves because I’m a sucker for a double identity. People who can turn into other thing, or people who are superheroes or killer monsters when the sun goes down, or people who have deadly secrets that they can’t even tell their closest friends. I love that stuff.
My favorite book that includes werewolves is definitely Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, because Remus Lupin is my literary boyfriend. But my favorite book about werewolves has to be Bitten by Kelley Armstrong. Jeremy Danvers = yum.
Yes to Remus Lupin! He’s hands-down my favorite Hogwarts professor.
Okay, so I know you’re a fan of kissing in books. Can you tell us what your favorite literary kissing scene is?
Right now, I’d have to point to that first kiss between Cath and Levi in Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl. It’s everything I’ve ever wanted out of kissing and fiction and also life.
What are your top three favorite books that you’ve read so far in 2013?
It’s so hard to pick three! I’ve been reading so much this year, and so many of my friends have books out, and I don’t want to leave anyone out. But… aaahhhh, okay, here goes:
- Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
- The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
- The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater
Runners-up include The Summer Prince by Alaya Dawn Johnson, Red by Alison Cherry, OCD Love Story by Corey Ann Haydu, Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke, Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage, Better Nate Than Ever by Tim Federle, Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan, and about five zillion others oh my god don’t even get me started.
What are your most anticipated 2014 releases? I’m always looking for an excuse to expand my to-read list. :)
This one’s a little bit easier, since I can pick two right off the top of my head: Pointe by Brandy Colbert (which I’ve already read and fallen in love with) and Nearly Gone by Elle Cosimano (which I haven’t yet).
Thank you for your time! I’m so excited to get a chance to interview you as part of the Debut Author Bash. I can’t wait to see what comes next for Oliver and Margo in The Fourth Wish!
Thanks for having me! It’s been a pleasure – and I hope you enjoy The Fourth Wish when it comes out!
Lindsay is giving away  signed copy of The Art of Wishing to a lucky US entrant! Please go to Rafflecopter HERE to enter! Giveaway runs through September 30th. Good luck!
About the Author:
Lindsay Ribar grew up in New Jersey, where the only logical thing to do after high school was to move to New York. She majored in drama and English literature at NYU, and now works in book publishing, where she reads other people’s novels by day and writes her own by night. She owns approximately twelve bazillion CD’s, attends far too many concerts, and mainlines nerdy television shows like it’s going out of style. She is fond of wine, Ireland, musicals, long walks around Manhattan, and the color blue.