The Author Hour: Your Guide to Fantastic Fiction hosted by Matthew Peterson


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Mindy Klasky
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Mindy Klasky   Mindy Klasky is the bestselling and award-winning author of the Glasswrights' Guild series (The Glasswrights'... Apprentice, Progress, Journeyman, Test, and Master), the Jane Madison series (Girl's Guide To Witchcraft, Sorcery and the Single Girl, and Magic and the Modern Girl), and the As You Wish series (How Not to Make a Wish, When Good Wishes Go Bad, and To Wish or Not to Wish).

Buy Mindy Klasky's Books at the following locations: (downloadable audio books) (independent bookstores)
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This episode originally aired on 02/04/2010 with the following authors:
  • Speculative Fiction
    • Mary Pope Osborne (#1 NYT bestselling Magic Tree House series, former Authors Guild president, 53 million books sold)
    • Cory Doctorow (NYT bestselling Little Brother and Makers, Boing Boing blog, top 10 Forbes web celebs)
    • Mindy Klasky (bestselling and award-winning Glasswrights, Jane Madison, and As You Wish series)
    • Garth Nix (NYT bestselling Old Kingdom, The Seventh Tower, and Keys to the Kingdom series, 5 million sold)
Note: The following interview has been transcribed from The Author Hour radio show. Please excuse any typos, spelling and gramatical errors.

Interview with Mindy Klasky

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Matthew Peterson: Hey, welcome back! You’re listening to The Author Hour: Your Guide to Fantastic Fiction, which can be found at I’m your host, Matthew Peterson, author of Paraworld Zero.

My next guest is Mindy Klasky, the best-selling and award-winning author of the Glasswrights Guild series, the Jane Madison series, and the As You Wish series. Thanks for being on the show today, Mindy.

Mindy Klasky: Thank you so much for having me.

Matthew Peterson: Now your first book, Glasswrights’ Apprentice, won the Barnes & Noble's Maiden Voyage Award back in 2000. Let’s start with that series and we’ll just kind of go on to the other series that you’ve created. That first one is definitely, clearly traditional fantasy. I was wondering, what got you started in writing in the first place?

Mindy Klasky: When I was in seventh grade, I read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings and absolutely fell in love with the idea of being in a completely different world with completely different social rules from the school that I was going to. And my best friend and I decided that we were going to write a sequel to The Lord of the Rings. We started over Spring Break, so we gave ourselves both weekends and the week in between, so we had nine entire days to write our magnum opus.

Matthew Peterson: [laughs]

Mindy Klasky: But somehow we didn’t quite get it finished. But from that point on I was interested in writing fantasy and building fantasy worlds.

Matthew Peterson: What is the main storyline of the Glasswrights Guild?

Mindy Klasky: In the first volume, in The Glasswrights’ Apprentice, a 13 year old girl witnesses a murder and she is accused of being the killer. And she has to go undercover in her very cast-bound society to find out who the true killer was.

Matthew Peterson: Now you had those nine days where you tried to write the sequel [laughs] to The Lord of the Rings, which I know a lot of people have tried; I think I probably tried when I was younger. [laughs]

Mindy Klasky: I think many of us did.

Matthew Peterson: What was it like to actually create your own fantasy world?

Mindy Klasky: At first, it was very intimidating, realizing that I had the power to create the world, to change the rules, to . . . once I had made rules, I needed to make my story fit inside of . . . The Glasswrights world actually does not have a tremendous amount of magic in it. There’s a lot of social structure; there is a fair amount of religion, and people’s faith gives them certain powers, but it does not have a rigid magic system. And I think one of the reasons it doesn’t is that it was just overwhelming to add yet another element to the extensive world building that I had already done.

Matthew Peterson: Well, the Glasswrights’ series has done really well. It was, like I said, a bestseller and it won an award. There were five books in that one and you moved over and started another series, the Jane Madison series. What made you decide to move over to more contemporary fantasy?

Mindy Klasky: It was time for me to take a break from the Glasswright world. After five books I wanted something new and something different. And there are many dark threads that are woven through the Galsswright world: a lot of betrayal, a lot of self doubt. And I wanted to work some more with those ideas, and I wrote the darkest most depressing, most horribly grim fantasy novel that has ever been written in the history of fantasy novels.

Matthew Peterson: [laughs]

Mindy Klasky: Ultimately every publisher in the United States said this is too dark and too grim and too depressing and thank you very much. So after having spent a year with that unsuccessful venture, I was ready to again change gears and to try something completely the opposite of what I had written. And I wrote up a quick little proposal. It ended up being three paragraphs long that started with, “Jane Madison has a problem... or two or three!” And it was the outline of a story about a librarian who discovers that she’s a witch.

And when I first pitched it to my agent, I was anticipating it finding a following among fantasy readers. Little did I realize that it was going to be a bridge between fantasy readers and romance readers. And it was ultimately purchased by Harlequin and published as their first fantasy novel in a long line of chic-lit contemporary romance novels that they had been publishing.

Matthew Peterson: Online, I remember you showing me the cover of A Girl’s Guide to Witchcraft. And I remember thinking, “What a neat idea. What a neat name for a book: Girl’s Guide to Witchcraft.” Tell us a little bit about this series that you have.

Mindy Klasky: The Jane Madison series is all set in Washington D.C. Jane is a librarian who works for a library that specializes in Americana. The library is based in Georgetown amid all sorts of Federalist buildings and the traditional historic part of D.C. And the series gave me a chance to truly create a magic system, since Jane is in fact a witch and does in fact have magical abilities. And at the same time to ground a story in reality far more closely than The Glasswrights’ series or the unpublished dark grims book or any of those had ever been based in actual reality. I needed to figure out, does this street intersect that street? And if it’s Halloween can you drive from here to there or are the streets closed for trick or treating? That sort of thing.

Matthew Peterson: Yeah. Now this series, you have 3 in that. Do you plan on having any more?

Mindy Klasky: There is a possibility that down the line I would write additional Jane Madison books, most likely picking up on some tangential characters and bringing them to the front and writing their stories. But for right now I’m working on yet another new series. It’s called the As You Wish series, and it combines the magic of wish granting genies with the professional world of theater. In the first book the heroine is a stage manager in a professional theater in Minneapolis.

Matthew Peterson: I thought this was such an interesting title as well: How Not to Make a Wish. [laughs] And that one just came out.

Mindy Klasky: I don’t like to make it too easy for my characters, so I wanted to make it clear from the beginning that Kira Franklin was going to be making some mistakes.

Matthew Peterson: Yep, yep. And the next one is When Good Wishes Go Bad?

Mindy Klasky: When Good Wishes Go Bad will be out in April 2010 and then the third volume in the series, To Wish or Not to Wish, will be out in October of 2010.

Matthew Peterson: Oh, fun. It sounds like there’s a little bit of humor. Tell us just a little bit about your main character.

Mindy Klasky: The main character in the As You Wish series changes from volume to volume. There is a genie that carries through every one of the books. And that genie has a variety of different guises. The genie can be male or female. It can be any race. It can have any sort of accent or background or professional interest. And so the genie is sort of the thread that stitches together all of the books in the series. And then the first person point of view narrator does change from book to book.

Matthew Peterson: Oh, okay. And, I don’t know if this will be a spoiler or not, but is the genie evil or good?

Mindy Klasky: The genie is self-interested. The genie is going to be rewarded with entrance into The Garden, a sort of mystical, mythical sort of like the Garden of Eden, return to home that all genies long for. But in order to get there the genie has to grant enough wishes. And so the genie is something of a trickster trying to get the wishers to use more of their wishes than they might be otherwise inclined to use. And the genie tends to misconstrue wishes, so that more wishes will be used.

Matthew Peterson: Yeah. Have you ever seen that episode? This came into my mind: There’s an X-Files episode with a genie that every time a wish is granted it absolutely destroys that wish and misconstrues it to being something horrible. Did you ever see that episode?

Mindy Klasky: I have . . . my genies aren’t quite that destructive, but they definitely do make things interesting for the other characters in the book.

Matthew Peterson: Yeah, yeah. That’s why I was asking if it was an evil genie or a good genie. Well, that sounds really fun. What other ideas do you have in the future? I know this will probably take up some time to finish this As You Wish series. What other ideas do you have in the future?

Mindy Klasky: Well, last December I received a phone call from my editor saying, “We want to find out what Mindy Klasky vampires look like.” And I said to her, “Aren’t vampires dead?” Which led to a long discussion about whether they were dead and reanimated. In any case, I am going to be writing three vampire novels.

Matthew Peterson: Oh!

Mindy Klasky: I have submitted an outline for the overall series, sort of like a series bible, describing the battles that are going on between vampires and where the humans fit into it. These vampires are going to be relatively light, not as light as say the MaryJanice Davidson Undead and Unwed vampires, but certainly nowhere near as dark as true horror vampires that are out there.

Matthew Peterson: And this’ll be contemporary?

Mindy Klasky: They will be contemporary. They will be set in D.C. And there will be continuing characters over what is set out right now to be a three book arc.

Matthew Peterson: Vampires are not dead. [laughs]

Mindy Klasky: Far from it!

Matthew Peterson: They are far from it, yeah. I mean, for a couple decades now they’ve been really strong, but you know, vampire books have been strong for a hundred years! [laughs]

Mindy Klasky: Something about them that draws people in that is extraordinarily attractive. And I’ve been reading a lot of scholarly articles, actually, about vampire literature and why we keep going back to that well. I am determined to find aspects of vampire culture that have not yet been explored. One of the things that I’m doing is looking at vampires from other cultures, rather than purely mainstream eastern European, “I vant to suck your blood” type vampires.

Matthew Peterson: Yes. And one of the questions I have that I think probably other people are interested in is do you plan on having other supernatural creatures in these vampire books?

Mindy Klasky: At this point I do not. But the last major author I know who said that was Charlaine Harris, who writes the Sookie Stackhouse series.

Matthew Peterson: [laughs] Yeah.

Mindy Klasky: And certainly, she has other paranormal creatures in her world that works their way into the storytelling very early on in the series.

Matthew Peterson: Yep, yep. Well that is exciting. We’ll have to look out for those. We’re coming up to a commercial. I’ve been speaking with Mindy Klasky, bestselling and award-winning author of the Glasswrights Guild series, the Jane Madison series, and the As You Wish series. Hopefully coming up in the next while we’ll get a vampire series as well. Thank you for being on the show today, Mindy.

Mindy Klasky: Thank you so much for having me. It’s been a pleasure.

Matthew Peterson: Okay, please visit to listen to the bonus questions that didn’t make it onto the live show. Don’t go away. I’ve still got Garth Nix coming up next.

  Read or Listen to the extra questions that didn't make it onto the live show.  

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