Author Crush Friday with Madeline J. Reynolds
Glitter girls, you have pressing questions for your favorite authors and we have their answers. Welcome to our weekly segment, Author Crush Fridays.
We love asking questions and we love the answers from some of our favorite authors. Today we’re talking to Madeline J. Reynolds, debut author of the luscious new fantasy, Illusions (November 6, 2018; Entangled Teen). Thank you for talking to us today, Madeline! We’re honored! If you haven’t picked up Illusions yet, run, don’t walk to grab this one at your local bookstore!
GLITTER: Tell us five random facts about yourself.
MADELINE: -I was born and raised in Minnesota
-I am obsessed with spicy food. The hotter the better
-I am a cat mom with an adorable cat named Miishka
-I am obsessed with all things NYC and every time I go is a magical experience
-I have a background in theatre and went to a performing arts high school where I was a theatre major
GLITTER: Tell us about your journey to become a writer. From first draft to getting an agent to the book you have now.
MADELINE: Prior to ILLUSIONS, I had written two other books that had been shelved. I had a writing group I was working with comprised of people I had met at a local writing workshop in Chicago and I new I was ready to embark on a new project with heir wisdom and support. After the idea for ILLUSIONS first struck me, the initial draft took about 8 months to complete. Once I was feeling good about the book and that it was ready to send out, it just so happened that #PitMad was about to happen on Twitter. I wasn’t necessarily expecting that anything would come of it but I thought “What the hell” and decided to put out a few pitches. That day I got several requests from editors and agents. My editor at Entangled Teen and my former agent came in at around the same time from this pitching contest and now, a little under two years later after I first received the offer for the book deal, ILLUSIONS is about to be released. It was a whirlwind, to say the least.
GLITTER: How would you describe Illusions to a new reader?
MADELINE: One of the things I always ask people first is if they have seen the film The Prestige, because this gives a good sense of the general aesthetic and time period. I go on to say that it is about the apprentices to two stage magicians in Victorian era London. One of the boys, Sav, is hoping to step out from behind his master’s shadow and gain fame and adoration. Thomas, however, wants nothing more than to attend university and write his poetry. He is forced into this world though because he has a secret that he is hiding in plain sight: he has real magic. The apprentices fall for one another and struggle to hide their romance as well as Thomas’s secret abilities.
GLITTER: What one question sparked the birth of Illusions?
MADELINE: What if an illusion being performed onstage and presented as a mere trick was real magic hiding in plain sight?
GLITTER: Is Illusions your first novel written?
MADELINE: ILLUSIONS is actually the third novel I’ve written. Previously I had written a high fantasy book about elves and humans and I had also written an urban fantasy set in Upstate New York and Manhattan. I appreciate the first two books I wrote immensely because they taught me how to write a novel and ultimately needed to get them out of my system. That being said, they are both shelved for very good reason and neither will be seeing the light of day any time soon.
GLITTER: Did you always want to be an author? Did you ever feel like giving up? Did you receive rejection letters in the beginning? How did you get over them?
MADELINE: I can honestly that I didn’t always know I wanted to be an author. I always knew that I had a passion for writing and as a kid I had dabbled in writing short stories and poems. When it came down to what I wanted to study and pursue in college, I wanted to write but focused on journalism since in m mind that was the more practical way to write but still try to find a job. When the call for fiction writing came to me once again, I wrote several novels, workshopped them at a writing studio here in Chicago, StoryStudio, and had previously sent out query letters only to receive rejections in return Looking back, I am so glad that those books were not picked up because they definitely were not ready and I still needed a lot of practice and learning as a writer. That said, at the time the rejection was still hard to swallow and hurt. What kept me going was the support of the lovely people in my writing group, my passion for the craft, and diving into new projects to keep myself preoccupied.
GLITTER: Do you have any crazy writing rituals?
MADELINE: I can’t say I have any particular rituals. Previously, when I could devote an entire day to writing I would sometimes clean my apartment first to help clear my head but with how busy I have been, I really haven’t had time for that. I fit in my writing time when I can and honestly, these days, I rarely even write in my own apartment. I usually find a coffee shop to go write at. It helps to keep me from distracting myself and I also enjoy being around the energy of other people working on things.
GLITTER: What is one thing you can’t write without?
MADELINE: COFFEE. Definitely lots of coffee.
GLITTER: What is one thing you are most passionate about in life?
MADELINE: Storytelling. With all of my different pursuits throughout my life, whether it be theatre, journalism, or writing fiction, I think all of these loves have come down to a passion for telling stories in one form or another.
GLITTER: What are you currently working on?
MADELINE: Currently I am working on another historical fantasy, this one set in 1920’s Chicago and involving gangs and magical prohibition. I don’t want to give too much away just yet but I will also mention that it is a retelling of a certain Shakespearean play.