I have fallen in love with a new book -- “The Point of Magic: The Council of Mythical Creatures of England” by Chalice Maddox. This book reminds me so much of one of my favorite series of all time -- The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. And I immediately loved the subtitle. And then I read the book, and it is simply one of the best books by a new author perhaps ever written. Huge praise, I know, but in this case I think it is deserved. I’ve asked the author to drop in and tell us more about her fantastic first novel. Welcome, Chalice!
Caleb: Welcome to my blog. To begin, tell us what your book is about.
Chalice: Sarah Woodford, a down-to-earth orphan, has just inherited one of the world's largest fortunes. She must avoid the paparazzi, manage not to flunk out of school, and deal with her new brother, who is trying to make sure she is blamed for absolutely everything -- including Japan's almost-declaration of war on England.
Caleb: And to top things off, there are mythical creatures lurking, but they are not exactly friendly.
Chalice: Sarah’s just been informed by the Council of Mythical Creatures of England that she's the only one who can stop the last mythical creatures on Earth from destroying all of humanity. She meets with them in secret when her adopted dad thinks she's doing homework. Her only real help comes from a classmate, a self-proclaimed expert on magical creatures, and a centaur who is supposed to be learning how to destroy humans. The Point of Magic is Sarah's journey not only to save the world, but change it forever.
Caleb: Why did you write The Point of Magic?
Chalice: Once upon a time, when my adult-ish relatives were congregated at my house, they were making fun of stereotypical rich kids that attended the local prestigious, private university (BYU). Somewhere in the conversation, my uncle said, in the voice of someone who was obviously very rich, “Daddy, Daddy, buy me a new car. This one’s out of gas.” He held his hand up as if he were shaking car keys at some unseen person. The line was golden.I stole it.
Caleb: And that turns out to be the launching point of the book -- and you promptly kill off the rich kid, which I loved.
Chalice: I wrote it into chapter zero, which turned out quite hilarious, even when the character of the chapter died. And, since Wolten was dead, I decided to make the story be about the person who inherited all of his father’s money. Which person, as you'll know when you read it, was Sarah, an orphan.
Caleb: How did you figure out the rest of the plot of the book -- and tell us about the title, which is great.
Chalice: Three paragraphs into the first chapter, I decided on the ending. Then, I needed something to call the story. A few days later I came up with the title: The Point of Magic. There are two meanings I attached with the title. The first meaning is the reason for magic. This meaning ties in with the ending of the story. What is the reason for magic? Why is it there? The point of magic is not to keep itself hidden. The point of magic is that, not only is it there, but every single person has magic.
Caleb: And in your book, even the most unlikely of people finds out that she too has magic.
Chalice: This is what Gwendolyn tries to teach Sarah: every person, no matter how big, or unimaginative, has magic. This means that Sarah, the most unimaginative person ever, has magic. This means that you, the reader of this thingy, have magic. It’s hidden, usually, but finding the magic is what enables us to use it.
Caleb: And you said you felt there was a second meaning to the title.
Chalice: This ties into the second meaning of the title. The point of magic, or, the place inside you where the magic begins. Sometimes it is difficult for us to find our magic. Indeed, it takes Sarah most of the book to find the magic buried deep within her. But, once she finds the magic, she can do anything. It is this that makes us powerful: finding the magic, gaining the knowledge that you can do anything. That is why there is magic. That is why it exists. That is the reason for the story, the idea that everyone actually does have magic, and when they find the magic, they are unstoppable.
Caleb: Love that! Before we end, I know you had other title options. Will you tell us what you considered?
Chalice: My little sister says I should have used one of these titles: “Magic before the End” or “Dragons in Italy and Centaurs in England” or “My adopted father is an Elf” or “I can talk to Unicorn Horns.”
Caleb: Thank you, Chalice, and thank you to my blog readers! Here is a link to Chalice’s wonderful and fun book. And here is Chalice’s bio:
Chalice Maddox, a long-time member of the Mispronounced Names Club, has been creating stories since before she could write. Her mother took dictation, but unfortunately didn't save the stories. She loves life and writing, and will one day be a school teacher, even if her writing teacher thinks otherwise. She has a very large immediate and extended family and loves doing everything with them, including throwing the annual Fairy Ball. Her hobbies include writing about the people living in her head, reading, taking 18 months off to serve a mission for her church, singing, and scheming with her younger sister, Anna.