Interview with Amanda Ashby

While I’m over at Magical Words today talking about Authenticity of Voice, I’m pleased to host Amanda Ashby here, talking about her great new middle-grade novels.  Puffin has brought out the first two books in her Sophie’s Mixed-Up Magic series simultaneously, so readers can jump right into her world with WISHFUL THINKING and UNDER A SPELL!

Book One: Wishful Thinking

Be careful what you wish for…

After eleven year old Sophie accidentally gets herself turned into a djinn, she starts to think that it might not be so bad after all. (Of course, that’s after she gets the whole orange skin problem sorted out.) Who wouldn’t enjoy having the power to grant wishes! But when Sophie develops RWD (Random Wish Disorder) and can’t STOP granting wishes, things get more than a little mixed-up!

Book Two: Under a Spell

And that spells T-R-O-U-B-L-E…

As Sophie gets used to her magic, her relationship with the adorable Jonathan Tait is blossoming. There’s only one problem: Jonathan’s twin sister, Melissa. She’s a total mean girl who seems intent on making Sophie’s life miserable. On top of that, Melissa somehow seems to sense that Sophie has powers–and manages to bind Sophie to her in a totally self-serving way. Can Sophie figure out a way out of this–without ruining her chances with Jonathan?

Interview with Amanda Ashby

What is your writing process like? Are you a plotter or a pantser? Do you schedule time to write each day or are you a spree writer?
I’m a panster who longs to be a plotter so I’m constantly trying to impose order into chaos. It never works but that doesn’t stop me from trying! I try to write everyday but I’m also prone to laziness and often get distracted by other shiny things (and by shiny things I mean television and books!)

What is the hardest part about the publishing process for you and how do you get through it? (For me, it’s copyediting and barbeque chips.)
Plotting! I get so many ideas that it’s not funny and I really struggle to put them altogether and find the story. I often feel like I’m doing a jigsaw puzzle and half the pieces are missing. Thankfully Diet Coke gets me through the worst of it!

We drop your hero or heroine on a deserted island. Quick, what are the three things he or she can’t live without?
Did I mention that my heroine is a djinn with magic powers? However, if she wasn’t allowed to use her powers (though I suspect she would be because hello, if deserted island doesn’t constitute an emergency, I don’t know what does) she would take her Eddie Henry guitar pick, which she got when she saw her favorite band, Neanderthal Joe in concert. She would also take a bag of Cheetos for her djinn guide, Malik and finally she would take her favorite positive thinking book, just to remind herself that being stuck on a deserted island is just a lesson in the making.

If your story were a film, who would you cast?
I would actually cast the lovely girl on the cover of my books because she looks so like “my Sophie” that I can’t imagine anyone doing a better job. Then, because her djinn guide, Malik actually looks like Zac Efron, it would be rude not to cast the Zacster (do you think he would mind that I’ve called him that?)

Look for her third Sophie novel, OUT OF SIGHT, in October 2012!


Amanda Ashby was born in Australia and after spending the last sixteen years dividing her time between England and New Zealand, she’s finally moved back and now lives on the Sunshine Coast. When she’s not moving country, she likes to write books (okay, she also likes to eat chocolate, watch television and sit around doing not much, but let’s just keep that amongst ourselves, shall we?)

She has a degree in English and Journalism from the University of Queensland and is married with two children. Her debut book, You Had Me at Halo was nominated for a Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice award, and her first young adult book Zombie Queen of Newbury High was listed by the New York Public Library’s Stuff for the Teen Age 2010. Her latest release, Fairy Bad Day, has been selected by Voya as one of their Top Shelf Fiction for Middle School Readers 2012 and is a SCBWI Crystal Kite Award finalist for the Australia/NZ region. To find out more, please go to

Published by luciennediver

Author of books on myth, murder and mayhem, fangs and fashion.

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