Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Within the Pages: Caught Between Two Curses

It's my pleasure to have author Margo L. Dill visiting the blog today, talking about her new young adult paranormal romance, CAUGHT BETWEEN TWO CURSES. 

First, a summary of the book:

 Seventeen-year-old Julie Nigelson is cursed. So is her entire family. And it’s not just any-old-regular curse, either—it’s strangely connected to the famous “Curse of the Billy Goat” on the Chicago Cubs.
Julie must figure out this mystery while her uncle lies in a coma and her entire love life is in ruins: her boyfriend Gus is pressuring her to have sex, while her best friend Matt is growing more attractive to her all the time.

Somehow, Julie must figure out how to save her uncle, her family’s future, and her own love life—and time is running out!
Published 2014 by Rocking Horse Publishing

Now, for a little Q & A time between Margo and Here's the Story:

Here's the Story: So, let's start with the initial inspiration for the story. Where did the idea come from? 

Margo L DillTwo news stories in 2003 finally inspired me to explore a question I had always wondered: why do some people survive accidents or tragedies and others don’t? Are the survivors supposed to DO SOMETHING before they die? The two news stories were when Steve Bartman interfered with a foul ball at a Chicago Cubs playoff game, and everyone blamed him for the Cubs not making it in the World Series. I thought, It’s not Steve Bartman’s fault (of course); The Curse of the Billy Goat strikes again. The second story was about a little girl who had survived a car crash where her parents died. She was actually in the car for a few days before the police found her, and she ate snacks from her diaper bag. So I created 17-year-old Julie whose parents both died under mysterious circumstances in a fire when she was three. When the novel opens, Julie thinks her only problem is that her boyfriend wants to have sex, when she’s not ready. But it turns out she seems to be the one in her family destined to break two curses that are killing her loved ones.

HTS: Who was your favorite character to write? Was there a character you most identified with? 

MLD: My favorite character to write was GRANDMA! She is eccentric and says funny/crazy stuff, and I could really stretch my imagination whenever she was in a scene. I mostly identify with Julie, which I think is common for so many writers--right? A little bit of us is in our main characters. I struggled with some of the same issues as Julie when I was growing up, although not in the same way. And the chemistry class scene--straight from my senior year of chemistry. Egads--that's when I knew I was not cut out for any sort of career in science. 

HTS: What was the most challenging aspect of the book to write? 

MLD: The book is a blend of realistic, paranormal, romantic, and historical fiction. Not letting the curses plotline take over the characters. I wanted Julie to have a huge problem to solve, but within her world as a teenager. So that meant she still had teenage stuff--friends, school, boyfriend, dances--to deal with. So, I would be writing the curse stuff and think--WOW! Julie hasn't even talked to any friends for two days. She hasn't sent a text. Then I had to go back and rewrite. 

HTS: What kind of research did you do for this novel? 

MLD: I researched the Cubs curse and some general information about curses, but the rest came straight from my brain or knowledge about baseball, teens, and Chicago. I used to live in Champaign, IL, and so I went to Chicago a lot. 

HTS: Speaking of magic, do you have any objects on your desk that inspire your work?

MLD: I don't even have a desk! My desk is either the kitchen table or an end table in the living room. When my husband got transferred to St. Louis (from IL), we decided to rent for a while and our house is small! But that's okay. 

HTS: What's your go-to snack food/drink while you write?

MLD: Now, food and drink--well, during the day, coffee and I love Werther's Originals hard candy or some fruit like strawberries or blueberries. At night--wine or hot tea (depending on the day!) and popcorn. LOVE POPCORN! 

HTS: Can you give us a hint about what you're working on now? 

MLD: Sure, I have two projects--one should be going out into the big, wide world soon (trying to query agents) and is a middle-grade mystery book about a super sleuth who has trouble solving his own mystery when his trophy is stolen. I also have a YA in beginning stages which is about a community shooting and how it affects two teens whose fathers were involved in the shooting. 

HTS: From one Cubs fan to another, I'm tired of the 'curse' being an excuse for perpetually lousy seasons. What's your prediction for when the Cubs might finally win the Series? 

MLD: I don't know. I don't think it will be this season--but maybe there's a real-life Julie in the world somewhere who can work on breaking the curse. 

HTS: The team definitely needs some good magic for once. Thank you for stopping by, Margo! And readers, if you'd like to follow Margo and CAUGHT BETWEEN TWO CURSES, visit her other hangouts!

A few links:


  1. Thank you so much for hosting me. What a fun blog!!!

  2. Thanks, Margo! And I have to pass some credit to you for the blog, since I took YOUR blog-writing class way back when.


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