2018 releases

Hell's Bell
Scent of the Jaguar
His Outback Nanny
The Queen's Game
366 Days of Flash Fiction
On the Horizon: Simple worlds of speculative adventure
Lusting the Enemy

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Magic Thursday: TV Magic

by Amanda Ashby

Sometimes I remember clearly where a book idea has come from. For instance, my first published novel, You Had Me at Halo was based on a surreal experience I’d had a few weeks earlier at my father’s funeral. I had clearly imagined that he was there, providing an alternative commentary about what happening, and let’s just say that he wasn’t best pleased. It was such a strong image that I ended up writing a book about a dead girl who did the same thing! The idea for Zombie Queen of Newbury High started life as a joke because I used to tease my critique partners that I would write a zombie book just to make them read it. However, with my new series, Sophie’s Mixed-Up Magic, the idea can be traced back to when I was a kid watching television! 

Now, for those who don’t know me, I must confess that I have a very small, totally-under-control, nothing-to-worry-about addiction to television and when I was a kid, some of my favourite shows were Bewitched, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir and I Dream of Jeannie. And the one thing these all had in common was that they involved people trying to survive in a normal world, while dealing with some very abnormal situations--like impossible to explain problems, magical mayhem and secrets. So, it was probably no surprise that when I decided to write a middle grade book about an eleven year old girl who gets turned into a djinn, there was only one direction the books were going to go!

I’m always a visual writer anyway and with these books in particular, they blossomed in my mind like a sitcom and I just had to write as quickly to try and keep up! Definitely my favourite part of the series is Sophie’s dead djinn guide, Malik who looks like Zac Efron, eats Cheetos and is addicted to American Idol. He is completely ridiculous and caused poor darling Sophie so many problems, but he also had a heart of gold and helped her in his own misguided way.

To celebrate the release of Sophie’s Mixed-Up Magic, I’m going to giveaway a copy of Wishful Thinking and all you need to do is tell me about one of your favourite television shows from when you were growing up and why you loved it so much!


  1. Hooray that Sophie is on the shelves! Love this series (and totally love that Malik!)

    I also watched those programs when I was a kid and would walk around wiggling my nose in the vain hope of making magic. Later on I fell in love with The Tomorrow People (was that shown in Australia?) Timeslip, Lost in Space, Planet of the Apes, Land of the Giants! In fact anything that had a weird or peculiar storyline and I was there!

  2. Christina - I too was a nose wiggler!!!! We definitely got Lost in Space (I loved Will Robinson) and Planet of the Apes and I've heard of Timeslip but have never seen it. I guess it's no surprise we write the books we do considering that we love strange story lines!!!

  3. Oooh. I loved all of those programs. I also used to watch a show called Catweasle which I would love to see again. I can't remember much about it now except that the medieval dude was fascinated with light switches which he thought were magic. I was also addicted to "Monkey" which started my love of all things Japanese. I got such a thrill when I went to Japan and saw that the actor who played 'Monkey" was the host of a tv talk show and the guy who played "Pigsy" is the star of a series of movies called "Crazy for Fishing" (Or something like that).

  4. The nose wriggle - oh, I remember trying that. Bewitched and I Dream of Jeanie were on the TV program as was a lot of other shows that have all blended together, but I remember Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, Charlie's Angels, Police Woman, Bionic Woman, Six Million Dollar Man...and many cartoons....

    Love reading about your inspiration, Amanda.

  5. Congrats on the release of the Sophie books Amanda! Fabulous. :) As for TV, I loved all of those shows, too, as well as The Goodies, and yes Peta, good one - Monkey and, of course, Dr Who. I also had a soft spot for Danger Mouse, (Oh crumbs, DM!) and Battle of the Planets.

  6. Peta - that is so cool. I was a BIG Monkey fan and remember getting a detention in Home Ec because I was busy calling my cloud!!!!

    Eleni - yes, yes and yes! I loved all of those shows (especially Bionic Woman)

    Jo - Goodies and Dr Who were also staples in our house and I spent a lot of time working out an escape strategy for if the daleks invaded the earth!!

  7. Congratz on the release . Same with you my favourite is I dream of Jennie because my grandma love to watch the rerun of that tv show and of course charmed(the story about three siblings witches). That show is my absolutely favourite show ever :). Aretha zhen, arethazhenATrocketmailDOTCOM

  8. I'm not even sure I could choose from a single favorite show from my childhood. There are so many that I fell in love with and still love to this day!

    A few that are at the top of my list from then would definitely be Sailor Moon, Power Rangers, Ninja Turtles, and Dragon Ball Z, though I did thoroughly enjoy watching I Dream of Jeanie when it was on.

    Such great shows that I will never forget with the hours upon hours of entertainment that produced a fit of giggles from me more times than I can remember.