Writing Thesis: A Snicker of Magic
Abstract: When twelve-year-old Felicity Pickle moves to Midnight Gulch, Tennessee, she’s certain this quirky mountain town will be the same as every other place she’s kicked her sneakers through. But she’s wrong; Midnight Gulch used to be a magical place. And if Felicity can figure out how to break a century-old curse, she just might bring the magic back … and finally find a home for her wandering heart.
Faculty Advisor: Mallory Kass
Release Date: February 25, 2014
Hometown: Chattanooga, Tennessee
Minor(s): Coffee Consumption, Care of Fuzzy Wonderdogs
Most Likely To: Work a random quote from Goonies into any conversation
Friday Night Whereabouts:
_X_ Missing in Action
# Books Queried Before A SNICKER OF MAGIC: 1 (I’m so glad it didn’t get picked up!)
Quote from Thesis: “The way he said her name made my heart cramp. In all my years of word collecting, I’ve learned this to be a tried and true fact: I can very often tell how much a person loves another person by the way they say their name. I think that’s one of the best feelings in the world, when you know your name is safe in another person’s mouth. When you know they’ll never shout it like a cuss word, but say it or whisper it like a once upon a time.”
What inspired A SNICKER OF MAGIC?
I thought A SNICKER OF MAGIC was inspired by my favorite band, The Avett Brothers. I finally heard them play live a few years ago, and the atmosphere was rowdy, wild, and enchanting. People were dancing in the aisles and screaming out beautiful lyrics. It was more like a magic show than a concert. I think that concert (and their music, in general) helped me find my way to Midnight Gulch. But I really wrote A SNICKER OF MAGIC because I was homesick for people I love and miss (my grandparents, in particular). Hearing the word “home” makes me think of my family, as much as any particular place. I think loving people, and being loved, is the best magic anybody can experience in a lifetime.
What part of release were you most looking forward to?
I was most excited about giving my parents the finished copy of the book. They’ve been thrilled about all of this but never doubted it would happen. Sharing the book with them was just as sweet an experience as I hoped it would be.
If you could give one piece of advice to upcoming 2014 and 2015 debuts, what would it be?
If your head starts to spin a little bit, reach out to other writers, and reach out to your agent. My agent (Suzie Townsend) is so wonderful about encouraging me through this process. Other writers who’ve been at this a bit longer have also reached out to me during my debut month, which has been so kind. Apparently, it’s normal to have this roller-coaster experience of crazy-joy one minute and then crazy-anxiety the next. Sometimes it’s great to have someone who helps you sort out your priorities and re-focus. And sometimes all you need is to hear someone say, “This is all totally normal. You’re fine.”
What is your advice to teens who have dreams of being published?
By the time I was a teenager, I knew that I wanted to be published. Some people are ready by then, for sure, but I wasn’t. My writing wasn’t where it needed to be, and I don’t think I could have handled it emotionally either. I’m all about setting big goals and going after your dreams. But I think it can be dangerous to think: I will accomplish THIS THING by the time I am THIS AGE. There are so many factors about timing that are beyond your control. If your dream of publication comes true now, that’s awesome. But if it not, that doesn’t mean it won’t happen later (and be even better when it does). Don’t let the obsession with publication cause you to miss out on the joy of writing. Read widely. Write bravely. Get feedback on your work from teachers and friends, when you’re ready for it. And don’t be discouraged if your dream of publication hasn’t come true by the time you’re 20. Or 67. Or 112. If it takes a bit longer for you to get there, that’s only going to make it sweeter when it happens. Goonies never say die.
Natalie Lloyd lives in a quirky city tucked deep into the mountains where she writes and daydreams in a little blue house surrounded by rosebushes and midnight birds. Her dog, Biscuit, hears all her stories first. So far, she hasn’t complained.
A SNICKER OF MAGIC, which released February 25, 2014, from Scholastic, is her debut novel.