owl in winter

owl in winter

Friday, June 27, 2014

Caught Between Two Curses by Margo L. Dill

Hello All! I'm pleased to have novelist Margo L. Dill on my blog today. Her YA novel, Caught Between Two Curses, is available now. Here is my review of her book:

Caught Between Two Curses is a refreshing young adult novel, perfect for baseball season, perfect for a summer read. It's a fast-moving smart story of 17 yr old Julie, an orphan, who lives with her aunt Lizzie and uncle Henry, and their young son, Stevie. Julie's parents were killed in a fire before her father's 35th birthday. As a matter of fact, the men married to women in Julie's bloodline tend to die before they're 35, due to a curse put on the family by a jilted lover years ago. Julie should be at the top of her game - she has the cutest boyfriend in school, Gus, and her best friend in the whole world, Matt, by her side. Unfortunately, Gus is pressuring Julie for sex, something she's not ready for yet and, at any rate, isn't ready for sex with him in particular. And then there's Matt, who becoming closer and closer to her all the time. However, when Julie's uncle Henry is struck down first by a bad hot dog at a Cards/Cubs game, and then is taken down by a stroke, Julie learns of the family curse from her aunt Lizzie. Uncle Henry will turn 35 in a few months, so Julie has a limited window to figure out how to break the curse. Uncle Henry is a baseball enthusiast, he loves the Cards and the Cubs but the Cubs are also suffering under a curse. They''ve never won a world series, always the bridesmaid but never the bride. Can Julie break the curse on her family and save uncle Henry and in doing so, release the Cubs from their curse? It's a race against time as Julie attempts over and over again to break the curse until one perfect play in a perfect baseball game. 

Here is my interview with Margo:

Margo, tell me how Caught Between Two Curses came to be - were you inspired by baseball? You're a Cardinals fan, right?

I am a Cardinals fan, but I have to admit I like the Cubs, too.  I get this from my dad--he loves all baseball, and has always had a soft spot in his heart for the Cubs. This is unusual--most Cards fans do not love the Cubs. As for the story idea. . .Two news stories in 2003 finally inspired me to explore a question I had always wondered: why do some people survive accidents or tragedies and others don’t? Are the survivors supposed to DO SOMETHING before they die? The two news stories were when Steve Bartman interfered with a foul ball at a Chicago Cubs playoff game, and everyone blamed him for the Cubs not making it in the World Series. I thought, It’s not Steve Bartman’s fault (of course); The Curse of the Billy Goat strikes again. The second story was about a little girl who had survived a car crash where her parents died. She was actually in the car for a few days before the police found her, and she ate snacks from her diaper bag. So I created 17-year-old Julie whose parents both died under mysterious circumstances in a fire when she was three. When the novel opens, Julie thinks her only problem is that her boyfriend wants to have sex, when she’s not ready. But it turns out she seems to be the one in her family destined to break two curses that are killing her loved ones. 

Your main character, Julie, seems wise beyond her years - is she based on a real person? 

That's nice of you to say about Julie! :) She is not based on anyone real, although a bit of me as a teenager is definitely in Julie. I wanted to create a quirky character who was cute and fairly popular and struggled with dating and her future. SO, I hope I was able to do that in this novel. 

What is your writing process?

Well, I seem to change all the time, based on my life experiences, but so far, with the two novels I've had published (Caught Between Two Curses and Finding My Place), I write a draft and have it critiqued by peers, while writing it, then I go back and revise. Then I usually send it to publishers too soon and receive rejections, so then I revise some more. I don't write every day on my WIP--sometimes I will go weeks without working on it, but I usually have a good sum of it finished before I take a break. I've also attempted NANOWRIMO--and I liked the process. I haven't finished, but I had more words down on paper than I would have without trying it. 

Tell me a little bit about your writing background. 

I started writing and trying to get published in 1999 or so, when I was taking a correspondence course on children's writing. Then I joined a critique group and they talked me into trying things besides just writing for kids--essays, short stories, articles--and I started to get published in both fiction for kids and adult nonfiction, and I loved it. SO, I had quite a few magazine and newspaper publications before I started my own editing and writing coaching business in 2006 AND before I got my first novel published (Finding My Place) in 2012. Currently, I teach online classes for WOW! Women On Writing where I also blog and edit, write book reviews for a newspaper, do a lot of freelance editing and writing coaching, and write and promote my books. 

I'm not surprised, but I'm pleased by whom Julie ends up with at the end of the novel.Was that the plan in the beginning or did it evolve?

It was actually the plan from the beginning! I don't really outline my novels, but I do know a basic plot line and where I'm going toward the ending when I am writing. A lot of things changed during the writing--how to break the curse, why Grandma was never able to before, how much of a jerk Gus was--but Julie's love interest at the end never changed. 
6. What is your next project?

I am working on two novels right now--one is REALLY close to being finished and is a middle-grade novel about a super sleuth who has his own trophy stolen and this is one mystery he can't seem to figure out. He's blinded by sibling rivalry.  I have a draft started of another YA--but it's not close to being done. It's about two guys in high school--one popular, one not so much--and what happens in their lives AFTER a community shooting in a local pharmacy. Both of their fathers are killed--one dad was the shooter, and the other a cop. 

I see that you're published through Rocking Horse Publishing - what type of material do they take? Are they looking for new authors?

Rocking Horse Publishing is a small, wonderful press that takes a lot of different types of books--mostly fiction, but they do consider some non-fiction. They publish children's, young adult, and adult as well as genre novels--sci-fi, mystery, romance. They are currently accepting submissions. You can check out the guidelines here: Submissions

Find out more at http://margodill.com/blog/

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1 comment:

  1. Thank you, Yvonne, for the review and interview!!!