Indie Superstars with the Author of No Place Like Homecoming + Giveaway (US + International)
Welcome to YA Books Central's "Indie Superstars" column. This event will spotlight the best and brightest of the indie community.
You don’t want to miss out on these talented authors
This week we’re interviewing Maggie Dallen, author of No Place Like Homecoming
Welcome to YABC, Maggie!
Caitlin Haines: Can you tell us a little about No Place Like Homecoming and this new YA series?
Maggie Dallen: The series is Fall in Love Like a Princess and it follows this group of high school girls who work for a company that provides costumed fairytale and storybook characters for kids’ birthday parties. (Fun fact: I actually was cast as a princess in a company like this many moons ago. The training was intense! I could probably still make a mean balloon animal if I tried.)
There’s a free prequel novella to introduce readers to the world and the main characters (A Shot with Prince Charming) and the first book is about Isla, a NYC girl who’s been sent to this small town as punishment. All she wants is to get back to her old life, which is ‘perfect’ in a very superficial kind of way. She’s quite the spoiled brat at the start of the story, and her love interest Flynn is a loner who wants nothing to do with her. But when she finds out he’s driving to NYC, she’s intent on winning him over so he’ll give her a ride.
I’ve been calling this my pandemic book because it was absolutely influenced by that. I’d been having all these conversations with my friends (most of whom are working moms.) We were always talking about finding that balance between being taking care of others and taking care of yourself. So, in this story I pitted someone who’s very selfish against someone who’s selfless to the point that he’s about to blow up his own life to help his family.
Caitlin: You have quite a few YA romances now, does this series take place in the same world as any of the others?
Maggie: No, this is a totally new world. Most of my YA books overlap in some way and I toyed with the idea of doing that here but I kind of loved the idea of starting something totally fresh. This is my first book that’s set in the state where I’m currently living and it’s loosely based on a town near me, so that was a fun change of scenery for me.
Caitlin: Where were you when it came to homecoming—in the stands, a cheerleader, in the marching band, at home?
Maggie: Hmm, probably singing the national anthem at the actual game. I was a BIG music theater nerd in high school and one of my best friends and I were the ones who’d sing the national anthem at the start of any big game.
Caitlin: How do you come up with so many different stories and write them so quickly? What’s your secret?
Maggie: Coming up with stories has never been a problem. My problem is sticking to one story/series/genre! I always want to be working on the shiny new idea. I came up for the idea for No Place Like Homecoming when I watched Wizard of Oz with my son. My family was in full-blown isolation at the time and I found myself rooting for Dorothy to stay in Oz at the end of the movie, and that’s just…not what you’re supposed to want! But I was sitting there thinking “they don’t even appreciate you! It’s post-depression Kansas and the world is black & white, stay with your friends and the munchkins and have an amazing life!” So, yeah, that was definitely the result of the pandemic craziness and it got me thinking. Next thing I knew I was playing with the idea of a girl in a fish-out-of-water situation who’s grappling with that topic of what it means to be selfish.
As for the speed…years of practice, I guess? I finished my first book twenty years ago and have been writing consistently ever since. The speed has come with time—a byproduct of many careers I’d had in this business that helped me hone some skills. Over the years I’ve been an editor, a news reporter, a ghostwriter, a proofreader…you name it. All combined it means I can get words down pretty quickly.
Caitlin: If you had to go back to high school, what is one thing you would do differently?
Maggie: I would definitely not take it all so seriously. I was sooo dramatic! Everything was life or death. I seriously cried in the high school bathrooms at an alarming rate. I guess that’s why it’s so fun to write about that time—those heightened emotions are so much fun (when they’re happening to fictional characters.)
Caitlin: What’s your writing environment/habit like? Is there something you have to have, like music, absolute quiet, certain snacks, etc.?
Maggie: I have a hard time sticking to one spot. After years and years of working in corporate environments and offices, I hate being stuck behind a desk. I do have an office in our house, but I rarely use it. I’m usually on a couch or at the kitchen counter. As for snacks, there is never not a caffeinated beverage at hand.
Caitlin: Can you give us a hint at what’s coming up with future books?
Maggie: Yes! Aside from the rest of this Fall in Love Like a Princess series, I’m working on a fun passion project over on Wattpad called Revenge So Sweet. It’s a standalone YA romance and I’m having such a blast with it. I’ll be releasing the third and last book in the All-American Princess series this summer, and I have high hopes of continuing the How to Catch a Crush series after that.
Maggie Dallen is a big city girl living in Montana. She's published more than 100 romantic comedies in a range of genres, including Young Adult, Historical Romance, and Contemporary. An unapologetic addict of all things romance, she loves to connect with fellow avid readers on Facebook, Instagram or at www.maggiedallen.com. To keep up to date with her new releases (and snag a free, exclusive novella,) sign up for her monthly newsletter at http://eepurl.com/bFEVsL
Play the part. Win the guy. Be back in time for homecoming.
I've been banished to hell. Well, my aunt's small town in the middle of nowhere might as well be hell. There's nothing to do, the people are lame, and the only part-time job my aunt can find for me is with the Princess Troupe—a company that hires girls like me to play the part of beloved princesses and children's book characters for spoiled brats' birthday parties.
They've cast me as Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz. Oh joy.
The worst part of all? My parents sent me away 'for my own good' right when I'd finally scored a date to the dance with my dream guy. But I'm not about to let that stand. I'll follow that stupid yellow brick road right home in time for homecoming.
The plan is simple. Earn some cash and convince the school's bad boy loner that he wants to give me a ride....thousands of miles away. Yeah, it's a big ask. Especially since it's hate at first sight for both of us. But trust me. I got this. I've been playing people for years. If I can play Dorothy from Kansas for a bunch of little twerps, I can absolutely convince Flynn that I'm his dream girl. It's all one big act. Or at least it is...until it isn't.
One (1) winner will receive an ebook edition of No Place Like Homecoming
(US + International)