Blog Tour for Wish by Alexandra Bullen

Please welcome Alexandra Bullen, author of Wish, to the blog!  Alexandra is in the midst of a blog tour to promote her debut novel, which I loved.  (Check out my review).  Alexandra has held a lot of jobs and I immediately noticed the list in her author bio on the back flap.  I asked her to share with us how those many (and varied!) jobs have influenced her writing.  I know that my students tend to think that authors sit down, write a book, get it published, become famous, and never work a regular job.  They think you have to “do something big” to get inspiration for writing.  Bullen proves that wrong in today’s post!

(Be sure to stay tuned at the end of the post for a chance to win a signed copy of Wish, courtesy of Scholastic!)

**********Alexandra Bullen, author of Wish**********

Part time jobs are a writer’s best friend. At least, this writer thinks so. Over the years I’ve done all kinds of different things, none more or less exciting than the jobs that everybody works in college, or over the summer, or when they’re trying to figure out what to do with their lives. I’ve worked in restaurants and bakeries, I’ve sold furniture,clothes and antiques, I’ve taught yoga, I’ve reviewed film scripts and answered phones.

Some days, I was good at it. Most days, I was a nightmare. But every day, I was a writer.  Even during the months when I was working two or three jobs at a time—gardening during the day, waitressing at night, teaching yoga on the weekends—and not ever writing a word. I was learning things that I could never learn in front of my computer, or in a writing workshop.

Some of the things I’ve learned have helped me to be a better writer. Now, when I’m writing a story that takes place in the spring and I’m trying to set the scene, I know which flowers are blooming, which plants are seasonal and how they smell. I know what the earth feels like in April, how the leaves are buried under layers of frozen dirt and sometimes pieces of recycled trash, hidden in the compost.

Some of the things I’ve learned have helped me to be a better and more functional human being. As a waitress, I learned math. I’m not kidding. It was the first time in my life that I ever really needed it. I learned to multi-task, and prioritize—things that come in handy now when I’m trying to do things like pay my bills or organize my day. I also learned how not to be a jerk to your waitress; probably the most important life lesson of them all.

But the most valuable lesson I’ve learned working countless part-time jobs is the fact that not once did I ever wish any of them turned into something more. I never wanted to “move up.” I was always perfectly content knowing that even if I was burning my hand on the espresso machine six hours every day, I was a writer, too.  And as long as I had something to go home to, some project to work on, some imagined deadline to meet, it didn’t matter how anybody else defined me.

Writer, human, mediocre waitress.

(I guess something’s always gotta give…)

Interested in reading Wish?  Scholastic has generously donated a SIGNED copy of the book for one lucky winner!  Leave a comment by Friday at midnight to be entered in the giveaway.  The winner will be chosen at random and you will need to submit your address to me, to pass on to Scholastic.  (All entrants must be older than 13!)

Check out Alex’s next stop on her blog tour  at Luxury Reading on January 14, where she’ll be doing a guest post about San Francisco (where Wish takes place).

Wish by Alexandra Bullen

I am very excited to be the second stop on Alexandra Bullen’s blog tour for her debut novel, Wish!  Tomorrow, Alexandra will be sharing a guest post about her numerous jobs and how they have influenced her writing.   (Be sure to check out her first stop at Pop Culture Junkie today!)

I loved Wish and can’t wait to pass it on to my students.  It’s being marketed as YA but I didn’t find anything in it that would prevent me from handing it to my older middle grade readers.  It’s got romance, family, drama, some tearjerking scenes, and a great “live life to the fullest” theme.

Olivia Larsen is the new girl in San Francisco.  Her mother is spending 23 hours a day at work and her father is completely focused on renovating the large house they inherited.  The three pass each other like ships in the night, never acknowledging the huge hole in their family.  You see, before the sudden move to the West Coast, Olivia’s twin sister drowned.  Olivia relied on Violet her entire life, for her friends, her social life, and the stability she provided.  Without Violet, Olivia feels invisible in her new school.

When her mother announces that the whole family absolutely must attend a welcome party in her honor at work, Olivia decides to wear Violet’s favorite dress.  She finds a small seamstress’s shop down the block and drops off the dress.  A few days later, a garment bag is delivered to the house, but when she opens it Violet finds a completely gorgeous gown.  A completely gorgeous gown that is definitely not her sister’s.

And then it turns out that the dress doesn’t just make her look ethereal and other-worldly… is other-worldy.  When Olivia makes an offhand comment wishing that her sister was back, a small monarch butterfly emerges from the folds of the dress, flitting off into the night.  (As a huge monarch enthusiast, you can imagine my excitement when I got to that part!)  Suddenly, Olivia has been given her dream come true and Violet is by her side again.

Together, the sisters discover that Olivia has two more wishes left.  What would you wish for if you were given the opportunity to make all of your dreams come true?

At the same time, there is the cute boy at school who just happens to be dating the most popular and gorgeous girl in school- the same sweet girl who has taken Olivia under her wing.  Does Olivia throw away her chance at true friendship for a guy?  And what about the “nice guy” who is too shy to make his feelings known?

What I loved about this book is that it is a low fantasy- Olivia gets her three wishes.  But she learns that magic can’t make everything better.  She has to learn to love, laugh, and LIVE.  And that can be harder than just fading into the background.

I really loved this book.  I’ll be honest and say that I didn’t expect much from it.  I loved the cover and figured it would be a cute romance.  But Alexandra Bullen really surprised me!  She weaves a fantastic story that is grounded in realistic fiction but has just enough fantasy to make a romantic’s heart flutter.  I think I will have a long waiting list for this one in our classroom library!

Wish book trailer:

Be sure to check in tomorrow when Alexandra Bullen will be posting a guest blog and Scholastic has generously donated a signed copy of Wish to give away with her post!