Friday, May 11, 2012

Author Interview: Caitlen Rubino-Bradway + Giveaway! (US/CA)

Please Welcome Caitlen Rubino-Bradway!

Though you may already know Caitlen as the co-author of the Jane Austen expansion Lady Vernon and Her Daughter (totally on my TBR!), she debuts this month with Ordinary Magic—her first foray into middle grade novels. Fans of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone will definitely want to take note!

Caitlen was kind enough to stop by today to answer some of my very important questions

Q: Which one of your characters would you most want to kiss?

A: Hmm…It depends on the kiss.  For instance, if it was a big-sister-top-of-the-head kind of kiss, I'd go for Fred.  He's one of Abby's friends at school; he's this awkward, poor little rich kid who's family wants to forget exists.  He tries so hard to be the jokey friendly guy that everyone likes, but as his author I know how totally insecure he is.  I just want to swoop him up and be all, "It's okay, you're a cool person, you don't have to try so hard!  Omg, I was just like you…"

But if you're talking about a romantic-1940s-sweeping-melodrama-one-leg-in-the-air kiss, well, then it's less who'd I'd like to kiss and more of a process of elimination.  Fred and Peter, our two main boys, are both 12, so yeah.  If I cut out everyone who's underage, or in a committed relationship, or just plain would not be interested, or not named after a teacher I actually had in real life and it would be really, really weird…that leaves me with…uh, Frank.  Who runs the sideshow at the Fall Festival.  He seems like a nice guy, though he does have to travel a lot for work.

Q: Which one of your characters do you most want to slap or give a verbal tongue lashing to?

A: Mrs. Andrews.  She's Abby's teacher back in her home town, and I do not like this woman.  She just gets under my skin.  Of course, I sort of wrote her that way - I drew from some teachers I had in the past that I just did not get on with.  I guess it worked.

Q: If you were transported into your book, which scene would you most want to reenact?

A: I'm going to go with my gut here, and say the Fall Festival, when Abby and Peter spot the two treasure hunters that have been after them since the beginning and give chase.  The Fall Festival's this big party, and I would be a lot of fun to go to, plus I've always wanted to run through a crowd, dramatically shouting someone's name.  It's surprising how rarely you get to do that now a-days.

Q: Which one of your character’s brains would you want to pick the most?

A: I have to go with King Steve.  I find him interesting because he's on Abby's side, so she sees him as a good person — and he is, but he's capable of doing a bad thing if it means eventually good will come of it.  Let's just say he knows right from wrong, but what he's willing to do to get to the right thing is…flexible.  I'm not entirely sure how flexible.

Q: Which scene do you think will surprise readers the most?

A: Wow.  I actually don't know.  There weren't any scenes where I was deliberately trying to surprise my readers.  But I would love to hear what scene they found the most surprising.

Q: What is one piece of advice you would give your main character?

A: Just to stop and think sometimes about what people are saying and WHY they might be saying it.  I love Abby to death, but she's not the most observant person when it comes to others.  She sees people the way she expects them to be, and it doesn't always work out like that.

Readers should add Ordinary Magic to their To Be Read list if they like...

Books about:
     Magic schools, fantasy worlds, spunky girl leads, and first person povs.

Books/movies like:
     Tuesdays in the Castle; Kat, Incorrigible; Ella Enchanted; Harry Potter; Tangled.

Main characters like:
     Princess Celie, Ella of Frell, Ramona Quimby, Matilda.

Romantic leads like:
     Hmm....Abby's 12, so she's not aware of boys quite in that way, but say the Hermione/Ron relationship in the early books, or Poppy and Christian in Princess of Glass.

About Ordinary Magic:

In Abby’s world, magic isn’t anything special: it’s a part of everyday life. So when Abby learns that she has zero magical abilities, she’s branded an "Ord"—ordinary, bad luck, and quite possibly a danger to society. The outlook for kids like Abby isn’t bright. Many are cast out by their families, while others are sold to treasure hunters (ordinary kids are impervious to spells and enchantments). 

Luckily for Abby, her family enrolls her in a school that teaches ordinary kids how to get around in a magical world. But with treasure-hunting kidnappers and carnivorous goblins lurking around every corner, Abby’s biggest problem may not be learning how to be ordinary—it’s whether or not she’s going to survive the school year!

Thank you so much for stopping by, Caitlen!

Aw, I love the top-of-the-head kiss! Many of the kids in this book make me want dish out those big sisterly kisses. The Fall Festival would be fun, but scary, too! I think I'd want to reenact the scene when the teacher gets set on fire. Talk about a cool parlor trick!

Hm, I think the scene that surprised me the most was Abby's family's reaction to the Big Thing. More often than not, storybook families don't react that way but I LOVE that Abby's family was different. 

Have you read Ordinary Magic?
How would you answer these questions?
(Remember, no spoilers please!)

Info for the giveaway:
  • What you can win: A finished hardcover copy of Ordinary Magic by Caitlen Rubino-Bradway!
  • As always, you do NOT have to be a follower
  • You must have a US/CA mailing address
  • You must be 13 years of age or older
  • One entry per person
  • Your address is not required, but including it will help with sending the book out to you sooner
  • I will contact the winner through email and the winner will have 24 hours to reply before a new winner is chosen 
  • This giveaway closes on May 16th 


  1. This is kind of making me think of Kat, Incorrigible, which I read upon your recommendation and loved so I think this will definitely need to be moved up my tbr-list so that I can fall in love with the magical world!

    1. Definitely check it out! I think you'll appreciate the family dynamics. Ordinary Magic didn't have the same Kat, Incorrigible spark for me, but I think fans of one should like the other. I hope you enjoy it!

  2. thanks so much for the giveaway! This looks like such a cute book and one I will want to give a try. haha, that was pretty funny with the kiss question how there really wasn't anyone major, but oh well!

    1. I can see you liking it! It's a very sweet book and kind of reminded me of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone for slightly younger readers. There isn't any kissing in it, but there IS the very tiny beginnings of young love :)

  3. Eeeeeeekk!! I love love love this book! So glad she did an interview with you as well. I love her kiss answer! ;) Thanks for the giveaway!

  4. I just finished this one up myself. I found it to be totoally adorable. Abby did remind me a bit of Kat, Kat Incorigible. I was appauled at the way Abby was treated by others when she found out she was an ORD. I love how her family was so supportive and loved her no matter what. We need more families like hers.

    1. Totally adorable is a great description :) It was awful the way she was treated. Her teacher at the school was soooo horrible (the one that called her Ord and refused to use her name). Her family was my favorite part by far.

  5. Oh, Smallsie, I love your interviews and Ordinary Magic sounds like a terrific book :D
    I'll put it on my wish list! :D


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