I’ve gotten accustomed to asking authors about their journeys to publication. I love reading about the hurdles they had to face and the prize at the end – publication! Teri is represented by one of my favorite agents – Mollie Glick, so her story had me extra excited. Read on for more on Teri’s latest novel, BORN OF ILLUSION, which hit shelves yesterday. And be sure to stay til the end – there’s a pretty epic giveaway.
Anna Van Housen is thirteen the first time she breaks her mother out of jail. By sixteen she’s street smart and savvy, assisting her mother, the renowned medium Marguerite Van Housen, in her stage show and séances, and easily navigating the underground world of magicians, mediums and mentalists in 1920’s New York City. Handcuffs and sleight of hand illusions have never been much of a challenge for Anna. The real trick is keeping her true gifts secret from her opportunistic mother, who will stop at nothing to gain her ambition of becoming the most famous medium who ever lived. But when a strange, serious young man moves into the flat downstairs, introducing her to a secret society that studies people with gifts like hers, he threatens to reveal the secrets Anna has fought so hard to keep, forcing her to face the truth about her past. Could the stories her mother has told her really be true? Could she really be the illegitimate daughter of the greatest magician of all?
Houdini’s Daughter, Historicals and Me
My first book, Read My Lips, (Simon Pulse, 2008) was contemporary. All the ideas I came up with for books were contemporary. And even though I have always loved history and historical books, all the books I was reading at that time were contemporary. So when I first got the idea for a historical about Harry Houdini’s daughter, I shied away from it. No, I RAN away from it!
At the time I was the head teacher for an afterschool care program. My boss’s two teen sons worked with us as teacher’s aides and one of them was a talented street-style magician. He and I talked a lot and he would tell me about the different magicians who inspired him. Harry Houdini’s name came up. A lot.
A young adult book about Harry Houdini? Probably not. But what if Houdini had a daughter? An illegitimate daughter?
As my mind played with these new ideas, Nanowrimo, (National Novel Writing Month), 2010 drew closer and closer so I decided I was going to give it a shot even if the research scared me. And it wasn’t so much the research as it was getting something wrong! That’s the reason I was so reluctant to write a historical, even though historicals were my first love. (Little Women, anyone?)
I knew that Spiritualism was very big in the twenties, (which was when the book had to be set in order to have the protagonist the right age), so I decided that Anna would be a real medium and her mother would be a fake medium. Harry Houdini detested fake mediums and that’s where my conflict came from.
If you have ever done Nano, you know that a certain kind of creative craziness takes over and I wrote the book with very little plotting or preparation. I made my 50,000 word goal, but the book needed a lot of work and it was unfinished. Because I was already published, I went ahead and polished a proposal up and sent to agents. The concept is awesome and I had several offers. The agent I chose, (Mollie Glick, Foundry ) had some spectacular ideas for the book and was an editing agent, which is something I needed. Her input was incredible and we worked on the book for nine months before we went out with it…
And the rest, shall we say, is history!
Teri Brown is proud of her two children but coming in a close second is the fact that she parachuted out of a plane and beat the original Legend of Zelda video game. She is a word scribbler, head banger, math hater, book reader, rule breaker, food fixer, novel writer, kitty keeper, and city slicker. Teri lives with her husband and way too many pets in Portland, Oregon.
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BUY THE BOOK
To celebrate the launch of BORN OF ILLUSION, Teri is giving away 10 sets of BORN OF ILLUSION earth mineral eye shadow available for a limited time only from Glamour Doll Eyes. You, too, can get the glam look of the twenties!
Eye Shadow Giveaway (10 sets)
Teri will also be giving away not, one but THREE grand prizes that Cari Cucksey, (of HGTV’s Cash and Cari), picked out from her RePurpose shop especially for the BORN OF ILLUSION launch! Check out these epic Vintage Spoon Bracelets!