Thursday, October 16, 2008

Star Light, Star Bright...Interstellar Interview with Mindy Klasky

Mindy Klasky is an ex-lawyer who decided to turn her sights to books…as a librarian. Not only has she shown her love for texts in her past job, but also in her current full time career as an author. Plus she’s using her cataloging talents to help authors form book groups. (For more read on, below!) Mindy also gives to worthy causes to support literacy as well as helping other professionals and authors by speaking at conferences.



I stumbled across Mindy Klasky, much in the same way her heroine, Jane, came upon her collection of spell books. Maybe there was an invisible bond pulling us together, but what led me to her initial book from Red Dress Ink was surfing the net to find out more about First Book. I bought GIRLS GUIDE TO WITCHCRAFT because I loved Mindy’s story concept and the idea that part of the proceeds helped children get books (one of my most memorable joys as a child.)


Mindy and I have stayed connected via periodic e-mails about this and that, since I gushed about having a full manuscript at Red Dress Ink. Next, I was pleased to win the second Jane Madison book for helping her with a typo on her website *grin* While keeping tabs on books coming out, I saw MAGIC AND THE MODERN GIRL on the list, and knew who I wanted to add to my Interstellar Interview agenda.

Mindy’s wit shines through in her books loud and clear, and I hope one day soon we’ll get to meet in person. In the meantime, I’ll have to gorge on her latest release, which I took time out of my anniversary to nab (since my local Barnes and Noble didn’t have the title in stock!) Then like everyone else, I’m sure I’ll mark off the days on my calendar until her new series hits stands. When my Outlook reminder pops up, I’ll be grabbing my keys and heading for the book store to add one more title to my mini library.




When you started writing did you gravitate toward fantasy or did you try several genres? How did you pinpoint which subgenre you wanted to make your mark in?

The first novel I ever attempted to write was a sequel to THE LORD OF THE RINGS, which I started to create in seventh grade. (Yeah, I never finished it. No, it wasn't very good. At all.) I spent most of junior high and high school reading fantasy novels, so that's where my writing ideas came from; those were the storytelling structures that made the most sense to me. In addition to the five traditional fantasy volumes of the Glasswrights Series and the stand-alone traditional fantasy, SEASON OF SACRIFICE, I've written two category romance novels, one mystery, and some science fiction short stories. All of those non-fantasy works, though, live on 3.5 inch floppy disks and will never see the light of day. *grin*



Where and when did you decide to make the transition from the Glasswrights Series traditional fantasy series to Jane Madison’s witch lit adventures?

When I finished the Glasswrights Series, I wanted to do something new, something big, something different. I wrote another traditional fantasy novel, one that had lots of magic (there is very little, almost none in the Glasswrights Series.) The new novel had dragons. It had cryptography. It had murderous villains who enjoyed kinky sex. And it was very, very, very dark. Alas, that novel did not sell. When I realized that it was not going to succeed in the marketplace, I decided that I was tired of traditional fantasy, and I was way beyond tired with dark. I wanted to try something completely new-to-me – and the Jane Madison series was born!



What do you think is Jane’s secret something that makes readers adore (and maybe even mourn the ending of) the series?


Jane is a smart woman who has realistic problems with men, with the woman who raised her (her grandmother), and with other family members (her mother.) She is struggling to find her way in a job that she loves, in an environment where she could flourish, if her employer let her. She has done all of the "right" things (going to school, getting a job), but she's still not perfectly fulfilled.

Most of us have had experiences that are similar to Jane's. We've fallen for the wrong guy. We've held onto the wrong job. We've shared life's disasters with our best friends.
The Jane Madison Series builds on those common experiences, and then it lets readers imagine what a world would be like where magic is real. The books are a sort of wish fulfillment, even as those wishes are anchored in a reality that we all share.


With the end of your Jane Madison series, what will you focus on now? Have you ever thought about writing a series stemming from your plethora of 28 first dates?

My next book will be out in October 2009. It's called THERE'S THE RUB, and it's the first volume in the As You Wish Series. RUB is about a stage manager who discovers a magic lantern with a wish-granting genie inside. My 28 first dates (all in one year, before I gave up on dating forever) work their way into many of my books. (They're the basis for each of Melissa's first dates, in the Jane Madison Series.) I hope to draw on them for years to come!



When did you first get involved with First Book? To date, what have you done personally to raise money to give free books to kids that need them?

I became involved with First Book, a non-profit organization, with the mission of giving underprivileged children their first books to read and own, when I sold GIRL'S GUIDE TO WITCHCRAFT. I knew that I wanted to "adopt" a charity for the book (10% of my profits on GIRL'S GUIDE and SORCERY AND THE SINGLE GIRL go to First Book), and I knew that I wanted the charity to address illiteracy. When I conducted my research for a suitable organization, I was thrilled to find First Book, which regularly ranks among the best in charities, due to their efficient use of donations and their high level of effectiveness. In addition to tithing from the first two Jane Madison books, I am creating some special First Book events to coincide with the launch of MAGIC. On October 31, I will sponsor an auction of a hand-crafted necklace and earring set. The jewelry was created by a talented artisan, Donna Cavallini, who just happens to be a reference librarian. Donna donated the beads and her time to create the necklace and earrings, which are based on the peacock symbol that is so important in Jane Madison's life. (You can read more about the auction and see pictures of the jewelry on my website – www.mindyklasky.com.) I will also sponsor a Cake Walk Recipe Calendar later this fall, with recipes from Melissa's bakery, which is featured in the Jane Madison Series. The recipes in the calendar were created by numerous authors. All proceeds from the jewelry auction and the calendar will go to First Book.



Who was responsible for your favorite book group to date? What tragedy befell the book group that you might recall as the most memorable?

I belonged to a book group comprised of partners, associates, and staff at the law firm where I practiced law for seven years, and where I worked my first library job for another seven years. When I joined the group, meetings were haphazard, and the choice of books was a … challenge, due to some people wanting to go out of their way to please the partners in the group. After some rather spectacular fireworks when one meeting was rescheduled four times to meet the needs of a partner who still did not show up, I took over organizing the group. I set new rules: We consistently met on the first Tuesday of the month, we chose books on a rotating basis going by members' last names, and we were allowed – even encouraged – to discuss the endings of books at meetings, even if everyone in attendance had not finished the book.

The group met for about five years under the new rules. I stopped attending when I changed jobs, but I was pleased by the way we came together. (OK, the earlier failure to come together wasn't a tragedy, but sometimes it felt like one! *grin*)




Did you decide to create Book Groups Wiki (a fabulous resource) because of your librarian ways? Can you give us an overview?

I decided to create the Book Groups Wiki because I have loved being a member of a book group, and I have truly enjoyed every time that I have been invited to speak to a book group, when they have chosen one of my books. Using a few simple templates, book group organizers can indicate their meeting times (along with special interests) and authors can indicate where they'll go to meet readers.

The wiki is on the Internet -
http://bookgroups.wikispaces.com/ Anyone who can cut and paste can use the wiki to add entries. The resource works best when a lot of people participate, so I hope that people will spread the word!



Do you have any other upcoming events besides Capclave and the Virginia Association of Teachers of English Conference fans need to know about?

Those are the only 2008 events open to the public (although for each, a membership is necessary to attend.) In 2009, I'll attend the national Romance Writers of America conference in Washington, D.C., but I don't have other specific events scheduled yet. My website (http://www.mindyklasky.com/) has a list of my current planned events for this year, and I'll add those for next year shortly.

I've enjoyed the chance to answer your questions! If anyone has any additional questions or thoughts, please place them in the comments at the end of this post. The day after this post goes live, we'll choose one person from all the commenters to receive a signed copy of one of the Jane Madison novels!


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8 comments:

Savanna Kougar said...

Hi, Mindy, I admire your dedication to literacy. I haven't had the opportunity yet, to read your books, but they look delightful and fun.

Pamk said...

wow I've never read your books but magic being wish fullfillment would work for me. I wish it was read too. I am going to looking for your books the next time I go shopping.

Deborah Blake said...

Hi Mindy,

I followed you over here from myspace and your blog:)

I am REALLY excited to see the next (alas last, from the sounds of it) book in the current series. And I can't wait for the next series...wish I'd thought of it! (get it..."wish" -- oh, never mind).
I'd like to help with the literacy campaign. Although I don't have any fiction pubbed yet (sob), I do have two nonfiction books from Llewellyn on magic. If you think any of your readers would be interested in learning about "real" magic, I would be happy to donate a copy of each book to your auction efforts now or in the future. (A third book will be out in may 2009)
Or, alternately, I am also a jewelry maker...
Just let me know.
Looking forward to reading the new one!
Deborah Blake

Skylar Masey said...

Mindy~

I had my copy of MAGIC & THE MODERN GIRL laying on my desk at work and people just kept flocking to it! And my friend who sits beside me loved the cover.

I can't wait to read it!

Anonymous said...

HELLO! THERE'S THE RUB SOUNDS LIKE AWONDERFUL BOOK AND I'M SO GLAD LYNDA TURNED ME ON TO ANOTHER AUTHOR!

LINDA B

Lynda K. Scott said...

Thanks for being with us Minday! Your books sound fabulous. I'm just sorry I hadn't discovered them earlier (will have to correct this :D)

Skylar Masey said...

Woot woot! The winner is Shirley, who posted at the Myspace blog (www.myspace.com/star_crossedromance)! Today I guess the magic was just with her. :0)

Thanks to everyone who came out to offer comments to Mindy on her great series!!

Mindy Klasky said...

Thanks, everyone, for your enthusiastic reception! It's always wonderful to find another receptive, enthusiastic community online!

(Deborah - I'll be contacting you separately, do discuss your generous offer to help out First Book!)

Mindy, who would use her magic to make more hours in the day, if only such things were possible!