The idea first begin on a red-eye flight. I'm not sure why, but sitting there, doodling in my idea journal, I thought of the phrase, "Sardiney Genie." I like genies. Who doesn't? I like sardines. Who doesn't? (Most don't, I find.) (Weird fact -- when my father-in-law-to-be learned that the girl his son was marrying liked sardines, he gave me a tower of 30-some tins of them as a bridal shower gift. Romantic!)
"A genie in a sardine can," I thought, there on that plane, under the glow of a light my neighbors probably wished I would turn off. "Why not?" This tyranny of lamps is so yesterday.
The next question was, what kind of character would find a genie in a sardine can? Immediately a feisty spitfire of a girl in a London boarding school popped into my head. (I like to imagine I was such a girl, in a former life.) She introduced herself to my writing journal with a wallop:
I’ve always been too prone to solve problems with my fists. It’s the reason Mum and Dad sent me to Salamanca School for Upright Young Ladies, and the reason Miss Bickle, the needlework instructor, sent me this morning to Miss Salamanca’s private office. Apparently, I needed reminders of how upright a young lady ought to be, and those reminders, ten to one, were about to be striped across my lower back.
I knew if I was going to write a genie story, I needed to make sure to differentiate it from Disney's Aladdin. That didn't seem hard to do. This genie, Mermeros, is a fishy sort, in more ways than one, and anything but benevolent. Maeve Merritt, the heroine, is gutsy and brash and daring. Tantalized by the untold wealth a genie can offer her, and hunted on every side by nefarious types determined to wrest her treasure away from her, she faces dangers and dilemmas that will test her mettle and her loyalties. She'll take wild rides, racing across the pre-dawn horizon, seeing the world race under her feet, and she'll tango face-to-face with diabolical villians both mortal and supernatural. She's my kind of girl.
I always write books that I would like to read, but perhaps with Wishes & Wellingtons, more than any other, I set out to write the kind of book I would've loved to read as a kid. I'm a small audience, to be sure. When I was young, I craved books where girls did things -- daring, dangerous, heroic, ridiculous, bungling, creative, clever, fix-it-in-the-end things. Wishes & Wellingtons is, at least, such a story. If a genie could grant me a wish -- okay, three -- I'd cash in the first two on world peace and an end to hunger and poverty -- I'd love to travel back to the family farm and give this book to scrawny little knock-kneed Julie, and see if I succeeded. I hope I have.
And I hope you'll love it. You can't go wrong with any book narrated by Jayne Entwistle, that's for sure. I'm so lucky that she said yes.
Where to find it: For Audible subscribers, Wishes & Wellingtons is available for one credit. All others can purchase it for download via Amazon.