Author Chat with Lauren Magaziner (Wizardmatch), Plus Giveaway!
Today we're excited to chat with Lauren Magaziner, author of Wizardmatch. Read on for more about Lauren and her book, plus a giveaway!
Meet Lauren Magaziner!
Lauren Magaziner grew up in New Hope, Pennsylvania, and is a proud graduate of Hamilton College. She currently lives in Brooklyn, New York. Lauren is also the author of The Only Thing Worse Than Witches and Pilfer Academy, which has been optioned by Nickelodeon.
Take the hilarious, magic-infused world of Eva Ibbotson’s Which Witch, add the lovable feuding family from The Incredibles, and you’ll get Wizardmatch–funny, fantastical, action-packed, and totally heartwarming.
Twelve-year-old Lennie Mercado loves magic. She practices her invisibility powers all the time (she can now stay invisible for fifteen seconds!), and she dreams of the day that she can visit her grandfather, the Prime Wizard de Pomporromp, at his magical estate.
Now Lennie has her chance. Poppop has decided to retire, and his grandchildren are coming from all over to compete in Wizardmatch. The winner inherits his title, his castle, and every single one of his unlimited magical powers. The losers get nothing. Lennie is desperate to win, but when Poppop creates a new rule to quelch any sibling rivalry, her thoughts turn from winning Wizardmatch to sabotaging it…even if it means betraying her family.
Comedic, touching, and page-turny, Wizardmatch is perfect for fans of Mr. Lemoncello’s Library, The Gollywopper Games, and The Candymakers.
A Chat with Lauren Magaziner:
1. What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
My relationship with my brother actually inspired this idea. He is two years younger than me, and growing up, we were simultaneously bitterly competitive and best friends. I kept thinking about that really intricate, nuanced relationship—there really is nothing else like it. And I asked myself, “What’s the one thing that could make the natural competitiveness between siblings even worse? Of course: an actual competition!”
I thought a magic competition might be the best way to exacerbate those feelings between a brother and sister—and a whole big extended family. With the addition of magic powers and cousins, I could explore a whole range of complicated family dynamics in a deep way, with lots of humor and heart.
2. Who is your favorite character in the book?
My favorite character is named Bo. His ten-second wizard power is that he can eat anything and regurgitate it back up as a bird. He is a rare bird himself.
3. Which came first, the title or the novel?
Surprisingly, I had the title before I wrote the novel. That has never happened to me before: I usually go through quite a few title changes because I’m rather terrible at coming up with titles. “Wizardmatch” is the name of the magic competition in the book. I meant it to be a placeholder name at first... but then it grew on me!
4. What do you like most about the cover of the book?
Everything!!! Illustrator Natalie Andrewson is a genius!
I actually changed the descriptions of two of the characters to match the awesome cover art. Originally the character Perrie (the left side, with a long wiggly noodle arm) had blonde hair in the book, but when Natalie Andrewson drew her with that awesome purple hair, I knew it was meant to be that way: purple was beyond perfect. Some goes for Ellington (bottom right), who was supposed to have straight black hair. But that wavy auburn was so lovely that I rewrote Ellington’s description, too.
5. What’s up next for you?
On August 14, the first book in my first series is coming out! The series is called Case Closed, and it’s a “pick your path” mystery series for middle grade, with hundreds of choices, numerous endings, and lots of puzzles that you, the reader, have to solve. Super interactive, super fun—I am SO EXCITED about it!
The first book, Mystery in the Mansion, is about a woman named Guinevere LeCavalier who has been receiving death threats, demanding her late husband’s secret treasure (or else). It’s up to
Carlos, Eliza, Frank, and YOU to figure out who has been sending the death threats, find the treasure, and crack the case.
6. Which was the most difficult or emotional scene to narrate?
For context: in order to keep siblings from fighting, Poppop Pomporromp creates a new Wizardmatch rule that only one child per family can compete to be Prime Wizard. So Mom has to choose between the main character Lennie and her younger brother Michael.
There is a scene in the book, in which Lennie eavesdrops on a conversation between her poppop and her mother. Poppop advises her mom to pick Michael for the competition, simply because Lennie “doesn’t have the Prime Wizard look.” It was a line I quite literally lifted from one of the presidential debates—“she doesn’t have the Presidential look”—something that was a sexist gut-punch to me while I was watching. And it was truly devastating to repeat it in the book.
The scene is the start to the book’s exploration of systemic sexism, casual misogyny, and intersectional feminism—a huge part of what Wizardmatch is about. It’s the moment that shatters the main character’s worldview, especially since this is her first time encountering sexism in that way.
For me, I was in near-tears while writing this moment. In frustration, anger, and despair. It was, by far, the hardest scene to write in the book. And the most important.
7. Which character gave you the most trouble when writing your latest book?
Hands down, the main character Lennie was the most difficult to write. She wants a position of power so passionately... and is blocked because of her gender. I found it so difficult to be in her head because she spends a lot of the book (rightfully!) seething, very frustrated, and fighting an oppressive system that has been around for thousands of years.
Lennie is also a hardcore Gryffindor, so she is strong-willed and impulsive, which leads her to make many mistakes. During the writing process, it always seemed like she naturally got herself into trouble... and left me with the hard work of having to solve her messes.
8. What would you say is your superpower?
All the wizards in Wizardmatch have powers that last only ten seconds. So my aspirational ten- second superpower is the ability to turn vegetables into cookies. (My true one is the ability to create a chaotically messy room in five seconds flat.)
9. Is there an organization or cause that is close to your heart?
YES. Right now I am very passionate about the Me Too/Time’s Up movement. And Everytown for Gun Safety. And Black Lives Matter. Pretty much any movement that advocates for safety and equality, I am fervently in support.
By: Lauren Magaziner
Release Date: March 6, 2018