Backstory

Authors tell you what inspired their work

Mary Castillo, Author of "Switchcraft"

I was just a few weeks pregnant when I was hit with the idea for my newest book, Switchcraft. I was on the phone with my friend in New York, turning just a slight shade of green at the tales of her dating adventures. My life as an unfettered young woman was over and then I wondered what would happen if we switched lives?

Initially the idea was too crazy. I mean, who would read a book like that? Convinced that my agent and editor would laugh at me, I went back to working on the sisterly drama story I was writing at the time. (Which then became a comedy: "Till Death Do Us Part" in Names I Call My Sister.)

Anyway... where was I? Oh yes. The characters of that nutty switcheroo idea -- one a single entrepreneur and the other a suburban mom -- wouldn't shut up. Frankly, they ganged up on me. When I proposed the story to my agent; she sold it within that week.

But conceiving the idea was easy compared with writing it.

I wrote the first draft while I was pregnant, and then revised it after my son was born. At the time it seemed like a great idea: I'd write while he slept.

Bwah ha ha ha! (So young, so naive...)

It turned out that he was easier to deliver than the book! If it wasn't for my husband, the two wise grandmas, Baby Einstein videos, and nights out with my girlfriends (after all, there's nothing more grounding than a martini and sympathy), I couldn't have finished Switchcraft.

No one ever admits to a favorite book or that their book is even good. I have no such pretensions in proclaiming that Switchcraft is my favorite because it was inspired by real emotions: envy, anger, frustration, loss, and, most of all, love -- love between friends, a man and a woman, and a mother and her child. And in Switchcraft, love truly does conquer all. Yes, I cried when I wrote the final chapter and no, it wasn't because I wrote it at 4 a.m., hopped up on Pepsi and chocolate during a 24-hour writing spree.

The tears came from the understanding that my experience with my characters became authentic. Despite the pressure of being a new mom, the expectations of my editor and readers and all that stuff we put on ourselves as authors, my characters had come to life. Letting them go is poignant. But they'd found their way home and along the journey they'd given me some great one-liners, emotional moments and a bit of wisdom about friendship, marriage and motherhood.

I hope when Nely and Aggie find their way into your imagination that you'll enjoy your ride with them as much as I did.

Check out the excerpt from Switchcraft and go behind the scenes with a reading list created by Nely and Aggie for mom's-to-be (and women wondering if they're ready to plunge into motherhood) at www.marycastillo.com.


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