Spell Fire, The Teen Wytche Saga #3 By Ariella Moon
Summary New school. New friends. New reputation. High school sophomore Ainslie Avalon-Bennett works hard to hide her Crazy Girl past. But as long as her best friend’s disappearance remains unsolved, she can’t shake the depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder that once landed her in a mental ward. Ainslie’s tenuous control over her life shatters when her warring parents ditch her at Christmas. While they take a cruise to “work things out,” Ainslie must spend the holiday in Palm Springs with her aunt and uncle, owners of a struggling Mystery School and occult store. Plunged into the world of fire fortunes, dragons, entity eaters, and an ailing spell book, Ainslie is well beyond her comfort zone. Then she meets a boy who spikes her pulse and calms her OCD. But will she lose him once he discovers her past? Or will his deadly secret, hidden in plain view, be their undoing?
Author Ariella Moon Ariella Moon writes about magic, friendship, secrets, and love in her Young Adult novels, Spell Check, Spell Struck, and Spell Fire, Books 1, 2, & 3 in The Teen Wytche Saga. Ariella spent her childhood searching for a magical wardrobe that would transport her to Narnia. Extreme math anxiety, and taller students who mistook her for a leaning post, marred Ariella’s teen years. Despite these horrors, she graduated summa cum laude from the University of California at Davis. An author and shaman, she now lives a nearly normal life with her extraordinary daughter, shamelessly spoiled dog, and an enormous dragon.
- What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
My daughter inspired me to write the Teen Wytche Saga, and in many ways she inspired the character of Ainslie in Spell Fire. My daughter was an advanced reader from a very early age, and it was difficult to find appropriate books for her. By the time she reached middle school, the Young Adult market was flooded with very dark stories. I wanted to write a series that would appeal to advanced younger readers and teens. The Teen Wytche Saga deals with serious issues, but never takes you down too dark or scary a road.
- Who is your favorite character in the book?
I love Ainslie’s vulnerability, loyalty, and courage. She perseveres in the face of great obstacles.
- Which came first, the title or the novel?
The novel came first. Its original title was Ditched for the Holidays. Before I submitted the manuscript to Astraea Press, I changed the title to Spell Fire to better identify the book as part of the Teen Wytche Saga. The first two books in the series are Spell Check and Spell Struck.
- What scene in the book are you most proud of, and why?
I am most proud of the scenes where Ainslie’s obsessive-compulsive disorder is at its worse. Hopefully I correctly captured what it is like to suffer from OCD. My heart goes out to the teens and twenty-somethings I know who suffer from this debilitating disorder.
- Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you’ve learned as a writer from then to now?
It is really important to get feedback on your writing, either through a critique group or writing contests. Both helped me identify an issue I had with point of view. I head hopped too much. My writing improved greatly after I became aware of the problem. Once I had mastered the basics, I tackled Deep POV. In my second book, Spell Struck, I have two strong alternating narrators. Book #4 will have at least two points of view. To grow as a writer, be open to constructive criticism. If you enter three writing contests and three judges comment on the same weakness, pay attention.
- What do you like most about the cover of the book?
I love the covers Amanda Matthews designed for Spell Check, Spell Struck, and Spell Fire. They are eye-catching and immediately signal Young Adult paranormal. The first two books are romances so they have a girl and guy on the cover. Spell Fire has some romance, but it is more a magical coming of age and fish out of water book. It has a girl and a dragon on the cover.
- What new release book are you looking most forward to?
I preordered Gail Carriger’s Curtsies & Conspiracies, which came out in November. I’ve been hoarding it. If I start it now, I’ll never get my work done.
- What was your favorite book you've read this year?
I read and loved Gail Carriger’s entire Parasol Protectorate series this year. It’s steampunk with werewolves and vampires, and normally I wouldn’t read anything with vampires.
- What’s up next for you?
I am revising the manuscript for the first book in a middle grade fantasy trilogy. I am eager to finish it so I can return to the Teen Wytche Saga!
- Is there anything that you would like to add?
Thank you so much for the interview! I hope your readers enjoy Spell Fire and the rest of the Teen Wytche Saga!
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