Giveaways Inspirations and Influences

Guest Author and Giveaway: Alexandra Bullen on Inspirations & Influences

“Inspirations and Influences” is a new series of articles in which we invite authors to write guest posts talking about their…well, Inspirations and Influences. The cool thing is that the writers are given free reign so they can go wild and write about anything they want. It can be about their new book, series or about their career as a whole.

Today’s guest is Alexandra Bullen, a Young Adult writer whose debut novel Wish was released on January 12th. The book is about lost sisters, magical dresses and granting wishes. And it asks the question: if you could have anything, what would you wish for? We are pleased to have the author here today talking about the inspirations and influences behind her book:

Ladies and gents, please give it up for Alexandra Bullen!


One of the reasons I was so intrigued by the idea of magic in Wish is that I’m constantly amazed by how much I can’t explain. I wouldn’t say that I believe in magic in the fairy godmother sense of the word (though I could probably be easily convinced, especially if the right dress was involved…) but I definitely believe that there is a little bit of magic in all sorts of every day things.

Being inspired to write is on the magic list, for sure. I usually have no idea where an inspiration for a character or idea comes from. One minute I’m doing something totally boring and mundane (dishes, laundry…anything I can do without too much thinking involved) and the next minute I’m frantically scribbling notes on whatever crumpled napkin or scrap piece of paper I can find.

So it’s hard for me to say exactly what it is that inspires me to write. I doubt it’s the dishes. But once I have an idea, once I’m working on a project, there’s a different kind of inspiration involved. And that’s one that’s easier to define, because it’s usually something I go looking for.

And the places I go for this kind of inspiration, the jump-start kind, when I’ve already got something bouncing around but need help kicking it into gear, are much easier to talk about.

Poems: Particularly by E.E. Cummings and Mary Karr. Something about poetry, the succinct language and small observations taking on big meaning, never fails to get me back to work.

Music: Usually songs without words. Or words in a language I can’t understand. That way I’m free to let my mind wander, instead of focusing on the story in the lyrics. Examples vary, depending on what direction I need to be motivated towards.Miriam Makeba is great for loosening up. Sigur Ros for when I need to be still.

Walks: I do a lot of story exploring on walks with my dogs in the woods. There are tons of trails where I live and they are perfect for getting lost in. I’m not much of a nature-writer, but I wouldn’t be any kind of writer at all, without easy access to the woods. (And a couple of dogs to run around with.)


Alexandra Bullen has been a playwright, waitress, barista, gardener, script reader, yoga instructor and personal assistant. She grew up in Massachusetts, went to college in New York City, and lives most of the year on Martha’s Vineyard (except when she’s visiting San Francisco.) WISH is her first novel for young adults.

Thank you Alexandra!!

Now, for the giveaway:

For broken-hearted Olivia Larsen, nothing can change the fact that her twin sister, Violet, is gone… until a mysterious, beautiful gown arrives on her doorstep. The dress doesn’t just look magical; it is magical. It has the power to grant her one wish, and the only thing Olivia wants is her sister back.

With Violet again by her side, both girls get a second chance at life. And as the sisters soon discover, they have two more dresses-and two more wishes left. But magic can’t solve everything, and Olivia is forced to confront her ghosts to learn how to laugh, love, and live again.

For a chance to win an authographed copy of Wish , leave a comment answering the question:

If you could wish for anything, what would you wish for?

The contest is open to residents of the US and Canada only, and will run until January 30th at 11:59PM (PST). We will announce the winner next Sunday in our weekly stash! Good luck!

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  • Carolyn Crane (CJ)
    January 25, 2010 at 5:56 am

    Fun post! I love the thing about listening to songs in a language you can’t understand.

  • Katee R
    January 25, 2010 at 6:13 am

    I probably wouldn’t wish for anything, just because I’ve read the Monkey’s Paw and I’d be too scared of the price. 😛

  • Linda
    January 25, 2010 at 6:51 am

    If I could wish for anything, what would I wish for? To have the time and patience to finish the story that I’m trying to write.

  • PiscesMuse
    January 25, 2010 at 7:26 am

    That’s tough. Because it is not just about having a wish granted, but how the wish is granted.

    Financial Stability would be nice, but at the price of selling everything I own to pay off debt, not so much. I think I’ll continue to chip away at that slowly.

    Also, having something instantly granted makes it less magical. It’s about the journey of getting their as much as the end results. If I wished to have the books in my head instantly written then off to publishing immediately, I would be missing out on some key elements that make it worthwhile. The struggling with the words myself and the anticipation of finding an agent, amongst a great deal more steps in-between. I wouldn’t skip those learning experiences for the world, because that’s a journey that is well worth traveling.

    Often as children we don’t understand that life is in the journey not the ending. Getting the prized possession means nothing without the effort.

  • Cait H.
    January 25, 2010 at 8:07 am

    This was a great post. I listen to music in other languages all the time; it’s a great way to just let your mind wander and appreciate the actualy music, not just the lyrics.

    As for what I’d wish for? One day with my brother. To find out that he’s ok, that he still exists in some form, some where (be that Heaven or something else) and to just SEE him, one more time. I can forsee a lot of heartache with a wish like this, though, so I’d probably wish for financial stability, really.

  • Layla
    January 25, 2010 at 8:56 am

    I love the wishing question, and especially that this novel is asking it of young people.

    Let’s see…I would wish to always be in a state of connection with Who I Really Am (i.e. knowing my true power and believing in myself). That should take care of pretty much anything else I could want in my life.

  • Tynga
    January 25, 2010 at 10:10 am

    If I was granted a free wish I would wish for the money to buy a house and pay for my upcomming wedding, Money can’t buy happiness but it can provide a roof for these childrens to come!

    Thank you very much for the giveaway =)

  • MeganS.
    January 25, 2010 at 10:29 am

    Oh, listening to music in a language I don’t understand helps me get into an inspirational groove. I have an entire playlist with Sigur Ros and E.S. Posthumus and the like, just for that purpose!

    I’d wish for the ability (money and time! ability is a combination of the two, so is that cheating?) to visit my family that lives far away.

  • Paige
    January 25, 2010 at 11:06 am

    OOO, that is a tough question. I would wish for a lifetime of happiness for me and my family.

  • Sue
    January 25, 2010 at 11:15 am

    I’d wish for my kids to make good choices! Thanks for the lovely giveaway.

    s.mickelson at gmail dot com

  • Thuy
    January 25, 2010 at 11:20 am

    I wish to be able to Time Travel. How fantastic it would be to go from 1800 to 3010 within a matter of seconds??

  • Wanda
    January 25, 2010 at 12:41 pm

    I would wish for world peace!

  • Jenny N
    January 25, 2010 at 2:51 pm

    I would wish for all my family to be healthy, happy and prosperous.

  • Michelle M
    January 25, 2010 at 4:04 pm

    Anything? I would probably blow my wish on a photographic memory or a giftcard to amazon that never ran out.

    Thanks for the interview!

  • Danielle
    January 25, 2010 at 4:08 pm

    Um…shiny, voluptious hair. (yeah, yeah, I’m shallow)

    Sign me up!

  • Stacie
    January 25, 2010 at 6:20 pm

    I would wish that my chronic pain would just disappear and never return.

  • Raquel Vega-Grieder
    January 25, 2010 at 6:30 pm

    If You Could Wish For Anything, What Would You Wish For?

    I Would Wish For My Two Kids To Have A Healthy Happy Life.

    Great Question And Awesome Post.

  • Kelly
    January 25, 2010 at 7:06 pm

    If I could wish for anything, I would wish for people to have more faith in themselves and others.
    Great post! I hope I can add this book to my classroom library!

  • Celia
    January 25, 2010 at 7:33 pm

    I love that explanation of believing in everyday magics!

    If I could wish for anything…I would wish for an unlimited travel expense account. And happiness and health for the world. And…I could go on. 😀

  • van p.
    January 25, 2010 at 7:55 pm

    If i had a wish, i would wish for great health and financial stability for my family.

  • Alison
    January 25, 2010 at 8:15 pm

    Happiness for me and my family

  • Ava
    January 25, 2010 at 8:55 pm

    If I could wish for anything, I’d wish for good health and fulfillment for my family and myself.

    or great hair. (That was a good one).

  • Linda Henderson
    January 25, 2010 at 9:37 pm

    If I could wish for anything, it would be for the good health of my grandkids. My youngest granddaughter was born 4 months early and spent 4 months in the NICU. I wish she would continue to be without health problems.

  • Beth
    January 25, 2010 at 10:23 pm

    Besides infinite more wishes? Hmm, a bank account equivalent to Bill Gates’s.

    BethsBookReviewBlog AT gmail DOT com

  • Laura
    January 25, 2010 at 11:48 pm

    I’m with the commenter above. I’d be rather wary of wishing for anything without knowing exactly how the wish would be granted.

    Financial stability would be great, but not at the cost of working a mind numbing, soul sucking job for the rest of my life 😯 ….but if I could get it in a way I could live with happily that’s what I’d wish for. 🙂

  • Leanne Muehleisen
    January 26, 2010 at 12:04 am

    If I could wish for anything it would be the ability to know what it is that I really want. The answer changes constantly.

  • Lisa Richards
    January 26, 2010 at 8:57 pm

    Definitely good health for my family and friends. With that worry taken away, everything else is a piece of cake.

  • Veronica F.
    January 28, 2010 at 2:26 am

    I’d definitely wish for great health

  • meredith goodall
    January 28, 2010 at 5:39 pm

    Sounds like a good read.

  • meredith goodall
    January 28, 2010 at 5:40 pm

    Ooops, forgot to answer. I would wish for true happiness

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