Author Archive

10 Questions

Friday, July 24th, 2015

In lieu of our typical 3 Little Things, I was tagged by Centsational Girl to answer ten questions today so I thought this might be a fun way to share a little with you today about some things I am loving right now! We used to do these quite often when I first started blogging so it’s a bit of a Throwback Thursday on a Friday today. Happy weekend, everyone! xo

deer-head

Share something you’ve pinned (or bookmarked) and why you love it.

I have been wanting to shape up our entryway table in our front room and I have these cardboard deer heads bookmarked for something I would like to hang above my little table. I also scored a 1964 1st Place Home Economics Trophy on Etsy this week as a place to tuck our keys and I am checking the mail every day in sweet anticipation for its arrival.

I’m enjoying personalizing this space right now and have so much fun making our space a little piece of us. I particularly love to add whimsy to our home and have been trying to add a touch of old from vintage pieces that have years of history in our house.  Unique spaces are my jam!

map-wallpaper

What’s your favorite color and where have you used it or seen it used in a beautiful way?

Oh, I love just hints of color on neutral surfaces. If I was going to model the color and style of a home in my own space, it would definitely be ANYTHING from The Inspired Room. In fact, I have more than once told Melissa that if she came to my house that it would be awfully awkward since I glean so much from her site. This map wall is something I have bookmarked for our entryway (as we have a narrow one that I never know what to do with) and I love the industrial schoolhouse lamps she has in her house. The pop of green is just perfection! I highly recommend touring her house and snagging her book for inspiration!

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If money was no object, what’s something you’d buy right now.

As many wells as possible for Burkina Faso. Clean water for everyone!!

Books for needy kids and more time to read with them. I have witnessed the transformation of kids learning to read and falling in love with books. It’s so big and it makes my heart so happy. Can you imagine if every poverty-stricken school had shelves overflowing and grown-ups who loved to read that just had time to help them fall in love? MAGIC!

Food for the hungry- can you imagine having the funds to stock the shelves until they overflow for those in need?

And if it was possible, extra time so I could give more time to others and still manage my daily life and work. I’m ashamed how much time I waste that could be serving other people in our community. I want to do better.

And if all the needs of the world were addressed, I would finally renovate that kitchen. Of course, this post really inspired me that it’s okay to wait and put my money somewhere else right now. So that’s what we’ve been doing this year instead and I’m proud we can do that.

Share something that scares you, something that comforts you, or both.

I’m a high-anxiety person so the list can be a long one.  As a mom, my biggest worry is the safety and well-being of my children. I worry so much for them in this world.  The comforting fact though is that we have worked really hard to raise good people and teach them good stuff that I am comforted knowing that someday we will be putting two really incredible people out into the world (that hopefully won’t be highly anxious because of their crazy mother).

I’m also comforted to know genuine love. I am one of the lucky ones to have a spouse who loves me unconditionally for so many years of our life.

shrimp-boil-1

The perfect meal? Name it.

Any meal with people I love, great conversation, and delicious food is a perfect meal to me. My girlfriend’s family had us over one night for a shrimp boil and I thought, “It can’t get more perfect than this.” A spicy one-pot dish thrown on newspaper in the center of the picnic table and shared with great drinks and good friends. The best part? NO DISHES- just throw the paper away. I’m planning to post the recipe we used next week, but I think this is the perfect meal for a hostess who actually wants to hang out with her guests.

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janet-hill

What’s one decorating piece of advice you swear by.

Be you.  It can be easy to look at Pinterest and want to replicate someone else’s style or head to a home store and just buy everything without really thinking about what it will mean in your house. I want everything to have a story from the pieces of art we select from our travels to the handmade goodness that is our centerpiece.

Don’t let decorating hold you back from entertaining though. I still have a bucket list of projects that I want to do on my home to personalize it the way I want. I struggle with patience because I know I am capable of doing these things, but the money and time isn’t there.  Slow decorating is my new motto. I will bask in all the good stuff I am doing and be content knowing how far I have come. My friends will just have to witness the slow transformation!

chicago-mix-popcorn

What’s your guilty pleasure?

Chicago Mix Popcorn, a generous pour of boxed wine, and a really good YA novel. I am working on this one right now and it’s so good!

milkshake

Tell a joke, the cornier the better, or share a meme or show that makes you laugh.

Does a t-shirt count? Although, the lack of apostrophe is slaying me right now.

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Congratulations, you just won an all expenses paid trip to           !  Fill in the blank.

ITALY and you can bring your whole family this time. My husband and I have been watching House Hunters International, scoping properties in Italy, and dreaming of how we can save for another trip back there. This trip was a dream come true and I am so thankful I got to do it with my best friend! It also made me realize, this world is so big and so many adventures are out there for us. I can’t wait to see more of it.

What advice would you give your twenty something self?

This will be one of the hardest times in your life- you will get married while your friends are still doing keg stands, you will have a baby and think you are ready for this parenting thing (and you aren’t), you will have a hard time financially, you will have a hard time professionally because you don’t know yourself yet, and you will have debt that will make you cry. You will get through it. Those moments will shape you, your marriage, your new business, and your new financial path… you will be better because you went through this.  The important thing is to never forget those moments because those are the moments where you can connect with others facing those same hardships and truly be empathetic. You will have so much to give to others so take a nap now!

This morning I tag: Hollywood Housewife, Redefined Mom, Blushing Basics, & Dine & Dish to answer the same ten questions!

1. Share something you’ve pinned (or bookmarked) and why you love it.

2. What’s your favorite color and where have you used it or seen it used in a beautiful way?

3. If money was no object, what’s something you’d buy right now.

4. Share something that scares you, something that comforts you, or both.

5. The perfect meal? Name it.

6. What’s one decorating piece of advice you swear by.

7. What’s your guilty pleasure?

8. Tell a joke, the cornier the better, or share a meme or show that makes you laugh.

9. Congratulations, you just won an all expenses paid trip to           !  Fill in the blank.

10. What advice would you give your twenty something self?

 

Freebie Friday July 24, 2015

Friday, July 24th, 2015

freebie friday Happy Freebie Friday, everyone! As always, we would like to thank Couponing 101 for assisting us with our freebies each week for loads of deals, savings, and freebies!

This week on MomAdvice you’ll find two posts for the Beauty M Challenge – the Domestic Diva shares her make-up must-haves (all drugstore finds!) and I’m showing how to make Mojito bath salts. Need some mid-summer snack ideas for the pool? Got you covered! I’m also happy to share how we used fabric dye on canvas shoes – they turned out so cute! And don’t miss this week’s Sundays With Writers interview with Greer Macallister, author of The Magician’s Lie.

Check out this week’s edition of It’s the 3 Little Things to get your weekly dose of happy,  find lots of inspiring DIY, food, decorating and craft ideas in our popular Notebook, and be sure to take a look at all the contests you can enter on our weekly round-up of great giveaways, too.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

 

Food & Drink

Yogi Tea Sample for a Friend
Coke for Troops
Premier Protein Bar at Kroger with eCoupon

Health & Beauty

ORS Shealicious Hair Conditioning Cocktail Sample
Hugo Red Fragrance Sample
Pond’s Skin Care Sample
Emergen-C Sample

Entertainment

Live Uncaged eBook
Uncensored Science Debate Video
Writings of Thomas Paine – Volume 1 eBook
Writings of Thomas Paine – Volume 2 eBook
Writings of Thomas Paine – Volume 3 eBook
Writings of Thomas Paine – Volume 4 eBook
Manners Coloring Book Download
Minecraft-Themed Worksheets
Google Online Summer Camp
Printable Seasonal Produce Guide
What to Freeze and How to Freeze It Printable Guide
Printable Minions Handwriting Set
Printable First Day of School Signs
Monet-Inspired Art Activities
Mambo Sprouts Coupon Book
Free eBook Bundle from The Old Schoolhouse Magazine

This Week’s Freebie Events: July 25 – July 31

25th – Lakeshore Learning: Create a Stay Cool! Sun Visor, 11 am – 3 pm

25th – Lowe’s: Build Hawkeye’s Quinjet, 10 am

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How to Make DIY Mojito Bath Salts

Thursday, July 23rd, 2015

What better way to focus on beauty than with a pampering bath salts recipe? Let’s celebrate this M Challenge repost of an earlier DIY project by making up a batch and use it today in a relaxing bath – preferably with a glass of wine!

How to Make Mojito Bath Salts

How to Make Mojito Bath Salts

These Mojito bath salts incorporate everything we love in a delicious mojito drink, with lots of fresh lime and mint. To really increase the mint component in these, we are adding a little mint essential oil to the mix. It’s easy to mix up an easy batch of Mojito Bath Salts that you can create with just a few items from your local grocer and craft store and makes a great addition to your beauty routine as well as a welcome handmade gift for the women in your life!

DIY Mojito Bath Salts

Supplies Needed

4 cups of Epsom Salt
2 limes, zest & juice
5-8 drops of mint essential oils (you can add more or less, depending on your preference)
2-4 tablespoons fresh mint, finely chopped
Soap colorant in green (optional)
Glass Container or Jar

How to Make MojitoBath Salts

Have you ever made your own bath salts? It’s the kind of gift (or just for you!) that sounds really impressive, but you don’t have to have any craft skills at all to create it.

Epsom salts are the key ingredient in these and can be found at your local grocer or drugstore.  The wonders of Epsom salts have been well known for hundreds of years and are said to have beneficial properties that can soothe the body. Some of the countless health benefits include relaxing the nervous system, curing skin problems, soothing back pain and aching limbs, easing muscle strain, healing cuts, treating cold and congestion, and drawing toxins from the body.

The best part though is that these are inexpensive to buy and can be customized with your favorite ingredients, whether it be mint, lavender, eucalyptus, or any other essential oils that you might have on hand.

When purchasing these ingredients for this recipe, avoid any that have added ingredients or scents and just stick to the basic Epsom salts so the scents don’t overpower the essential oils that you are adding.

Easy-to-make Mojito Bath Salts

How to Make Mojito Bath Salts

1. Pour four cups of Epsom salts in a large mixing bowl.
2. Add the zest and juice of two limes to your bowl.
3. Finely chop your mint and add these to your bowl.
4. Add 5-8 drops of essential oils. You can also add a small amount of green soap colorant, if you would like, to add a little color to your salts.
5. Mix the ingredients well and scoop into a glass jar.
6. Directions for use: Add ½ cup of Mojito Bath Salts to your bath.

Have you ever made bath salts before? What is your favorite recipe for these?

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Amy’s Notebook 07.22.15

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2015

No Sew Coil Rope Basket via Allice and Lois

Source: Alice & Lois

 

DIY no-sew rope coil basket. NO SEW? I can do this.

I need to up my popcorn game.

Why you should still read “Go Set A Watchman.”

Another great viewpoint from NPR.

Why we don’t stress about choosing a school- AMEN.

Wonder Book Club ideas- so cute!

I love watercolors.

Come anyway- my new entertaining motto.

Poolside playlist!

Bedroom Inspiration via LittleGreenNotebook

Source: Little Green Notebook

 

Bedroom inspiration- love the layering on this bed!

More tiny home inspiration.

Coffee and tonic water – your new favorite summer drink?

The ultimate flower girl must-have.

Adding this to my summer reading list- have you read it?

A year-long shopping ban…I feel INSPIRED.

I want to do a career day with my kids!

Printable car parts for a “drive-in” movie- what a fun summer activity.

Let’s be people who see one another.

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I hope you enjoyed our notebook, a collection of gathered links to DIY crafts, food projects, thrifty ways to spruce up your home, and thoughtful reads. Nothing brings me more joy than to highlight other fabulous bloggers. Follow me on Pinterest for daily inspiration!

 

How to Dye Canvas Shoes

Tuesday, July 21st, 2015

How to Dye Canvas Shoes from MomAdvice.com

*This post is sponsored by Walmart. Thank you for supporting the companies that support this site!

Many years ago I shared a post for how to dye a faded pair of jeans back to their original color with Rit dye and it remains one of our top ten articles STILL. I am such a fan of fabric dying and in honor of the back-to-school season, we wanted to show you a way that you can customize your style (or match your uniforms!) for your first day of school. This can also be a fun way to customize your gym shoes.

Not only can your child show off their own personal style, but it can also be a fantastic craft activity to do together before your kids head back to school.

This craft takes about an hour and requires parental supervision!

How to Dye Canvas Shoes from MomAdvice.com

Supplies Needed

Rit Liquid Dye (we used Royal Blue)

Faded Glory Canvas Shoes (only $5.87- what a steal!)

Band-Aid Waterproof Tape (over by the first aid supplies in the pharmacy section)

Rubber Gloves

Salt

Stainless Steel Pot & Tongs

How to Dye Canvas Shoes from MomAdvice.com

Directions

1. Begin by removing the laces from your shoes. You can dye these in the dye bath with the shoes if you prefer to have them the same color, or you can set them aside like we did until your shoes are dyed and dry. We loved the contrast of those white laces!

2. Cover the plastic edge on your shoe in your waterproof tape. Make sure that it is tight and secure to the edge of your shoe or it will come loose in your dye bath. This tape barrier will keep the edges of your shoe nice and bright just like those laces we set aside.

3.  Fill pot with enough hot water for fabric to move freely. We used a 1/2 bottle of Rit liquid dye and 3 gallons of hot water for our shoes. Stir to mix.

4. Wet your shoes in hot water well in your sink before placing them in the water bath with your tongs.

5. Bring dye bath to simmer. Stir constantly (back and forth, up and down). The length of time depends on how dark you want them. We were able to achieve this vibrant hue in just a short ten minutes. We didn’t want them a consistent color, but that pretty weathered look we love. If you want them to be an even color or are trying to achieve a dark color (like black), you can leave them in for 30 minutes up until an hour.

6. Rinse in warm water, then gradually cooler water until water runs clear.  Remove tape from the shoes to expose the edge. Wash item in warm water with mild detergent and rinse by hand or in the washing machine. I did an express wash and threw in an old towel with these. Clean washing machine using highest water level with hot water, detergent and 1 cup chlorine bleach using a complete wash cycle (I rewashed the old towel).  You can read more about dying in your washer (both HE and top-loading machines) here with detailed instructions from start to finish.

How to Dye Canvas Shoes from MomAdvice.com

7. Dry shoes in the sunshine and then lace your laces back in to finish. Struggling with tying? Try this super awesome tutorial for a new way to tie your shoes!  Wouldn’t these be a sweet treat to give your kiddo after they master it? My kids learned in about five minutes!

How to Dye Canvas Shoes from MomAdvice.com

We have uniforms so we have to keep it basic.  If you don’t- here are some other fun ideas for your kicks!

Want to really get creative? Check out these fun techniques for fabric dying!

Tie-Dye Your Shoes

Dip-Dyed Ikat Sneakers

Painted Faux Saddle Shoes

Dip-Dyed Shoes

Sharpie-Dyed Shoes

Have you ever customized a pair of canvas shoes? Let us know your experience and tips in the comments below!

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Huge Summer Giveaway: $500 Amazon Gift Cards (2 Winners!)

Tuesday, July 21st, 2015

Oh, I have quite the summer giveaway for you today!! I am partnering with nine amazing bloggers to offer two lucky winners one $500 Amazon gift card each! The graphic below includes some ideas of great things you could be using this gift card towards. I’m kind of jealous. This girl would be spending it all on books to stock her library and vinyl for her record player…but I digress!

Enter to win between July 21-31, 2015 via the widget below. Basically, if you follow all 10 bloggers on Instagram (and you will want to, because these feeds are beautiful) you will have tossed your hat in the ring 10 times (x 2 since there are two gift cards to win…sometimes math is awesome!!). Once the giveaway ends, the winner will be chosen randomly and contacted via Instagram, with 48 hours to respond. Good luck to each of you!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

$500 Amazon Gift Cards (2 Winners!)

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Smart Pool Snack Ideas

Tuesday, July 21st, 2015

Smart Pool Snack Ideas from MomAdvice.com

If you live at the pool like we do in the summer, you won’t want to miss today’s post over on the Wild Oats blog. After years of pool days, we have learned a few things about the best snacks to pack and we are sharing them on the blog today.

Whether you love sweet or salty, there is a snack for you on today’s list! I can’t wait to hear what your winning pool snack combination is!

Head on over to the Wild Oats blog to get the scoop on the best snack ideas for the pool!

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Apron Full of Giveaways 07.21.15

Tuesday, July 21st, 2015

Printed Linen Half Apron via Etsy

Source: Mindful Grace,  $25.00

 

Welcome to our Apron Full of Giveaways! I hope everyone is having a great week this week! As we do each week, here is our round-up of giveaways for our readers. We hope that this is beneficial to you and your family! Please let us know if you guys win anything- I love to hear the success stories!

Below are the contest links-if you are hosting a contest please link it up below. Sorry, we are not giving away the aprons just showcasing them! Please put your site name and then what type of contest you are hosting. For example, “MomAdvice (Kid’s Movies).”

Good luck to each of you!

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The Domestic Diva Shares: What’s in Your Makeup Bag?

Monday, July 20th, 2015

Five Must-Haves for Your Makeup Bag

I’m so excited to have Heather joining us from The Domestic Diva today! We have worked together for many years on the Walmart Moms program and she is one of my go-to girls when it comes to beauty and make-up! I hope you enjoy these fantastic recommendations from her today! xo

Hi, my name is Heather and I blog at the beauty & lifestyle blog, The Domestic Diva. I love checking out the latest affordable products at the drugstore and believe that you don’t have to spend a fortune to achieve flawless makeup results at home.

Whether I’m rocking the “no makeup” makeup look or full on glam there are a five must-have products and tools that I use in my makeup bag every time I apply my makeup:

1. Eyeshadow Palette

There are many different formulas of eye shadows from mattes to shimmers. I tend to stick to mostly matte shadows because they are the most forgiving. But when it comes to shopping for eyeshadows, the problem I have is not only do purchasing individual eye shadow colors add up quickly but it can also be a little difficult to find pigmented matte shadows at the drugstore. However, we are beginning to see more and more eyeshadow palettes at the drugstore so when looking for an eyeshadow palette try to find one that has a mix of both mattes and shimmers. An example of this would be the Maybelline The Nudes palette or the Maybelline Blushed Nudes palette at the drugstore.

I think, however, the best part of having an eyeshadow palette in your makeup bag, instead of individual eye shadows, is that it is easy to create a variety of different eyeshadow looks based on which shadows you use from the palette. If you are one that likes to experiment with your look, I would recommend a larger palette. Coastal Scents and BH Cosmetics, while only available online, both have large eye shadow palettes full of highly-pigmented shadows yet still remains budget-friendly. When choosing an eyeshadow palette choose one that is either completely matte or has a good mix of mattes and shimmering shades in colors that compliment your skin tone.

Eye shadow using primer and without

2. Eyeshadow Primer

I can not and will not apply eyeshadow to my eyes without first applying a primer. My personal favorite is the L’oreal De-crease Eye Shadow Base that can easily be found at just about any drugstore. An eyeshadow primer, also known as a base, gives your shadows something to stick and hold on to. You’ll notice when using an eyeshadow primer or base versus not using one that your eye shadows will look more vibrant and that they will last longer throughout the day.

Setting spray

3. Setting Spray

Living in a climate with very high humidity, one step outside and my makeup wants to just melt or sweat off of my face especially in the summer months. I’ve found that setting my finished makeup look with a setting spray helps my makeup last longer through my day. The great news is that a product that was once only sold in higher-end stores is now easily available at the drugstore. After applying your makeup, lightly mist your entire face with a setting spray, like the L’oreal Infallible Pro-Spray & Set Makeup Extender Setting Spray, allow it to dry completely before you blink your eyes or move about to set your makeup in place.

Powder foundation

4. Powder Foundation

Every one has flaws. Whether it’s an unexpected blemish or a dark spot you want to conceal, trying to hide those imperfections can be a bit challenging. Using a cream based product to conceal can often end up looking cakey. I’ve found that I get better results when I use a powder foundation, like L’oreal True Match Mineral Foundation, to conceal. I apply my liquid foundation as normal and any imperfections that needs additional coverage, like a blemish, I will use a fluffy eyeshadow brush dipped in a powder foundation to buff over those areas before setting it with a translucent powder. The reason why this works is because powder foundations are typically formulated for medium-full coverage. The key, however, is to make sure that the powder foundation matches your skin tone so when you buff the powder foundation on the area you want to conceal, it will blend in seamlessly.

Makeup brushes

5. Makeup Brushes

Having a great set of makeup brushes can make a world of difference in the way that your makeup looks when applied to the skin. Let’s face it, the applicators that come with makeup products when purchased don’t really work all that great. I recommend two sets of brushes, one for your face and a separate set for those that like to play up their eyes. One can purchase brushes individually or as a set, which I prefer. Brushes can also be found in the drugstore, like Real Techniques or Ecotools, or online, at Coastal Scents or BH Cosmetics.

For the face you want to have at least a large powder brush, a blush brush, and perhaps a contour brush if you like to contour. For the eyes the brushes you want to look for is a large fluffy eyeshadow brush for applying shadow all over the entire lid, a blending brush for your crease, a smaller eyeshadow brush for packing shimmery shades just on the lid or for applying bolder more intense colors in a concentrated area, and a small smudge brush for smudging eyeliner or applying eyeshadow to your lower lash line.

For applying liquid foundation and liquid concealer, I recommend a dampened beauty blending sponge versus just using your fingers. The budget-friendly Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge is said to be a great alternative to the other high-end makeup blending sponge currently on the market.

These are just a few of my favorite products or tools that I keep in my makeup bag. If you would like more makeup tips or would just like to hear my thoughts on the latest, budget-friendly makeup products then please take a minute to visit my blog at thedomesticdiva.org. Also, I would like to give Amy, a wonderful blogging friend whom I’ve admired for years, a big thank you for giving me the opportunity to talk about one of my favorite topics with all of you!

 *This post contains affiliate links. We only recommend what we love!

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Sundays With Writers: The Magician’s Lie by Greer Macallister

Sunday, July 19th, 2015

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I love a good author interview and I am so excited to share an interview today with Greer Macallister about her book,  The Magician’s Lie!  I shared about this book in our June 2015 Must-Reads list and after finishing it, I emailed Greer to see if she would share a little bit more about the inspiration she had for tackling the topic of a female illusionist in this beautiful book.

It was such an unusual premise for a book and, if you know anything about me, you know that I am fascinated with both magic and the circus. They are my jam.  That is why it is such a treat to talk with Greer today about the inspiration behind her book and about one of the most evil characters I have enjoyed reading. If you love a good evil villain, you have it in this one!

The Magician's Lie by Greer Macallister

In The Magician’s Lie, Macallister writes a beautiful story of a female illusionist, something that was rare and provocative during the turn of the century, in this historical fiction debut. The story shows the reader things are not always as they seem even when it comes to the illusions we create in our own lives.

When a man is killed during her jaw-dropping act of sawing a man in half, The Amazing Arden is arrested and accused of the murder. The thing is, Arden has a story to tell about who that man really is and this murder just might be an illusion too. The story unfolds as she makes her confession to the officer who has arrested her as she confesses to the real crimes that have been committed in her life. There are some great plot twists in this one that kept me flipping the pages until the end and I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

Greer-Macallister

How did you happen upon the story of Adelaide Herrmann and why did you decide to explore female magicians and illusionists in your debut novel?

It all started with an absence. Books, movies, TV commercials and other media often refer to the classic image of a magician cutting a woman in half. I began to wonder why it’s always the woman cut in half by a man, and never the other way around. Why don’t we see a female magician cutting her male assistant in half? So I decided I wanted to write that book, about that magician. Early in my research I came across Adelaide, who was undoubtedly the most famous female magician of her time. She didn’t fit the profile of someone who would cut a man in half, but she was too good to ignore. So I wove her in, and dozens if not hundreds of readers have told me she’s their favorite character.

Adelaide-Herrmann-Image

(image source: Wikipedia)

You definitely illustrate some of Adelaide’s wildest tricks especially in the bullet catch trick that you have The Amazing Arden witness in one scene of your book. Were there any other illusions that you thought were really crazy that did not make the cut?

I tried to use the wildest things I could find! So much fun. There were a lot of parts of Adelaide’s act I didn’t use, though. She did a lot of dancing and pantomime. Which is a little less interesting to describe than, say, a woman turning into a tiger. So you understand my choice!

 If you could master any magic trick (in your book or otherwise) what would it be?

I once saw Ricky Jay throw a playing card across the room, where it stuck in the rind of a watermelon. I don’t know how he does it. Mind-blowing.

Do you have any recommendations of other historical fiction books, nonfiction books, or documentaries that you found useful when doing your research or setting the mood for your story about the world of illusion for your readers that would like to dive more into this topic?

There is shockingly little writing on the history of women in stage magic, but then again, the ratio of women to men in magic in general is pretty darn small, so it follows. If you’re interested in Adelaide Herrmann, she did write a memoir, which was published a couple of years back. As far as setting the mood, you can do a lot worse than spend an evening watching The Prestige. One of my favorite movies. I often had the music playing in the background while I wrote.

You truly immerse yourself in your storytelling from the way people would have spoken back then, to the dishes they are eating, to the dress, and the feel of the city. I really felt like I was seeing much of your details firsthand. How much research did you need to do to really create these moments in your story and has this era always been a fascination for you?

Oh, the research ate me alive. I tell people I’m an accidental historical fiction writer. If it had made more sense to write about a contemporary female magician cutting men in half, I would’ve done it that way; it’s just that the story I wanted to tell fit so perfectly back in the 1890s to 1900s, when stage magic was something most people would have seen on a Vaudeville stage. So it had to be historical. But once I picked my era I really dove in, and I really wanted to have exactly that effect you’re describing – I want the reader to see and smell and taste the world. The New York Public Library has a great collection of old menus, so I literally had the image of an early 1900s menu from Keens Steakhouse in front of me, picking out what the characters could order from that.

Do you think titling your book this way helps the reader to expect that our narrator is going to be an unreliable one? Was this to create a necessary tension while reading that we were about to discover something?

Oh yes! That was very, very intentional. What is she lying about? (Assuming the magician narrating the story is the same magician referenced in the title…) And is there really only one lie? I definitely wanted the reader to be suspicious of Arden, and the title was a great way to raise some doubt from the get-go.

You really develop the character of Ray in a way that had me on the edge of my seat and rapidly flipping the pages. Was there a scene in particular that you really struggled writing for him because he was so vile or did you really get swept away into creating such an evil character?

One of the best things about being a fiction writer is the opportunity to get into the heads of the characters you’re writing. The flip side of that is that sometimes you have to go into heads you don’t like. That was Ray. The struggle with him was to make him more than a cardboard nemesis – he has his own reasons why he does the things that he does, and it all makes perfect sense to him, so some of that has to come across to the reader, even if we’re appalled by the results.

If you could tell anyone to read one book right now (other than your own) what would that book be? (see our list of ALL our recommendations HERE!)

My favorite book is almost always the book I’ve read most recently, since it’s fresh in my mind. In this case, that’s The Voyage of the Narwhal by Andrea Barrett. It’s about an Arctic expedition in the 1850s, during a time where men died regularly exploring that area. The story weaves together what happens on a particular ship with the lives of those waiting back at home for the ship to return. Barrett writes so beautifully and precisely about both the emotional and physical dimensions of her characters’ lives. It’s gorgeous and brutal. I loved it.

You can connect with Greer Macallister on GoodReads, on Facebook, or through her website! I’m always thankful for these moments with writers and I hope you will pick up this amazing book! You can always connect with me on GoodReads,through our books section of our site, and you can read our entire Sundays With Writers series for more author profiles. Happy reading, friends!

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