Whats up bookworms, for this post I was lucky enough to interview M. Tara Crowl, author of the middle-grade series Eden of the Lamp.
Click here to skip ahead to the giveaway!
A Little Bit About the Author:
Tara Crowl grew up in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. She studied Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California, then received an MA in Creative Writing at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia. She lives in New York City.
Q. First things first Eden’s Escape released last year, could you tell us what the book series is about for those who don’t know?
Eden’s Escape is the second book in the Eden of the Lamp series, which is about a twelve-year-old genie named Eden. In Eden’s Wish, which was published by Disney-Hyperion in 2015, she escapes her lamp, comes to Earth, and poses as a regular girl. There, she makes friends with mortals and tries to pretend that she’s one of them. But while she’s in the midst of trying to make friends and fit in at school, things become more complicated when she finds herself in the middle of a battle between dissenting groups of immortal genie alumni.
In Eden’s Escape, which came out last year, Eden changes history by being the very first genie to come to live on Earth while she completes her career. That means she can still be summoned anywhere in the world to grant three wishes, any time the lamp is rubbed. She finds herself in New York City with a genie alum named Pepper who becomes her new guardian. Before long, she’s whisked away for a granting that goes very wrong. She escapes the wisher, realizes she’s in Paris, and goes on the run. But she has to find a way to go back and retrieve the lamp in order to save her masters and the lamp’s legacy.
Q. Is middle grade the only genre you will write in or would you branch out into other genres, say young adult?
I wouldn’t say that I’ll only write middle-grade books. Young adult is a definite possibility in the future!
Q. Why did you write a book series like Eden of the Lamp? Was it because you have particular children in mind whom you want to read it or simply for the pleasure of writing the story?
I didn’t have specific readers in mind. It was just a story that came into my imagination, that I became determined to tell.
Q. Did you have a hand in creating your book covers?
The covers were designed by an artist named Erwin Madrid that the publisher hired. I did have the opportunity to discuss them with my editor and share my thoughts after seeing initial sketches, but I wouldn’t say I had a hand in creating them.
Q. Is writing middle grade hard? You know, making the “voices” of the characters sound the ages they’re supposed to? Keeping the language age appropriate?
For me, that aspect of it has not been difficult. In these books, my protagonist is twelve years old, so when I wrote them, I had the perspective of a twelve-year-old. The voice and language stemmed pretty organically from that. I think that to write authentic stories, staying true to your protagonist’s perspective is key.
Q. Is there any story that inspired this book series?
Yes, in a way. The idea came to me while I was listening to the audio book of Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder. It mentions the prospect of meeting a genie and being able to make three wishes. But that day, I started to imagine what it would be like to be a genie. I thought that being trapped inside an oil lamp would be horrible! You’d have no friends, no fresh air, and no freedom. You could only go to Earth when someone rubbed the lamp, and your trip would be over as soon as you’d granted their wishes. You’d have no power whatsoever in your own life.
From there, I started to dream up the character of Eden, and then I began to imagine her world. That was when Eden’s Wish began to take shape.
Q. Are you working on another book in this series?
No, not at the moment.
Q. Are you influenced/inspired by any particular authors?
Roald Dahl, Madeleine L’Engle, J.K. Rowling, Kate DiCamillo, and many others.
Q. What drew you into writing a middle grade series?
The middle-grade space made the most sense for the story I wanted to tell, and it was a natural fit for me as a writer. When I was a tween, reading played a huge role in shaping who I was becoming and the way I saw the world. When I write for that age group, I think I return to that place.
Q. Are you a full time author?
No, I also work at a restaurant that my husband owns in our neighborhood.
Q. Do you have advice for aspiring authors?
Pay attention to your life, and experience it as fully as you can. Learn from your experiences, hardships, and relationships. Let your heart grow from them. The things that are most familiar to you have the power to give you the unique perspective that no one else in the world can ever have. Be honest, and be brave!
Q. Disney Hyperion is a pretty big publishing house. Was it easy or hard to get your book published by them?
When my agent took Eden’s Wish out to publishers several years ago, my editor-to-be at Disney was eager to work together on it, and I thought it was a great place for the book to be. I’ve had a wonderful experience working with them, so I’m grateful for the way it came together!
One signed hardback copy of Edens Escape (Eden of the Lamp #2) is up for grabs. The giveaway is open to US/CA addresses only!
A bit about the book:
(Eden of the Lamp #2)
By M. Tara Crowl
Released: September 6, 2016
Eden’s new life on earth begins in New York City under the guidance of her new guardian: Pepper, a petite, bubbly genie alum who’s also a Broadway actress. Before she has a chance to settle in, though, Eden is whisked away for a granting–only to find herself trapped in a laboratory. David Brightly, owner of the world’s leading tech company, cares more about tapping into the lamp’s power than making a wish and starts performing tests on Eden. With Brightly’s plasma shield around the lamp, Eden has no way home. Left without a choice, she escapes the lab and goes on the run. After her daring exit, Eden finds herself on the streets of Paris–home to Electra’s headquarters. Left in a strange city with a price on her head (courtesy of scheming Brightly), Eden has to keep her wits about her. She dons a chic disguise and flits around Paris incognito, investigating Brightly Tech. Assisted by Pepper and her old adversary Bola, as well as some new friends, Eden embarks on a quest to retrieve the lamp and protect the secrets of the genie legacy.