Today we’ve got yet ANOTHER cover reveal for you, this one for Amanda Rawson Hill’s highly anticipated debut, THE THREE RULES OF EVERYDAY MAGIC! Check out my brief interview with Amanda below, in which we discuss her book, Everyday Magic, music, and more, and then stick around to take a look at the wonderful cover!
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First off, Amanda, thank you so very much for letting us host your cover reveal here at the Village — we’re thrilled about it. But before we get to the cover, could you tell us a little bit about your book?
THE THREE RULES OF EVERYDAY MAGIC is a middle-grade contemporary coming of age novel about a girl trying to hold on to all the people in her life who seem to be leaving in different ways. Kate’s dad disappeared a few months before the story starts, her Grammy moves in with her because she has early stage dementia, and Kate’s best friend Sofia seems to be moving on to a new best friend. Kate has to navigate these changing relationships, learning, in her words, “What’s just the right amount of love and the right amount of letting go.”
Everyday Magic — there’s something so exciting and enticing about the idea of it. Is it an entirely fictional creation? Or did someone teach it — or something similar to it — to you at some point in your life?
Everyday Magic is something that I swear my fingers typed out by themselves. I was doing a rewrite, because this book started out being about guardian angel grandmas, and I needed something to tie everything together. I was right at the first turning point and still wasn’t sure what that story “glue” was going to be. But whatever it was, I knew it needed to show up THAT night.
All of a sudden, Grammy said, “There are three rules to Everyday Magic. The first is to believe.” Then she went on to tell a story about fixing an old friendship after a fight. And Kate responded with, “That doesn’t sound like magic. That sounds like making up.”
Then Grammy replied, “Maybe. But I like to think that forgiveness is a special kind of magic.”
Well I had to stop typing right then and write down the three rules because they were coming to me faster than I could take it all in. They were still kind of fuzzy. I didn’t have them as succinctly as believe, give, trust yet. But in a few days, I had boiled them down to that point. I mention this because it was my first experience feeling like this idea came to me and it honestly didn’t feel like it came FROM me. You know?
Anyways, as I’ve continued to hone this book, I have had to come back to this idea of Everyday Magic and the rules around it and had to ask myself over and over again if I really believe that. Because if I’m going to pass it along to kids, I want it to be as true as I can make it. Where does it fall short? What are the weaknesses? And so on. Toward the end of the book, Kate has these light bulb moments about Everyday Magic and what it really is and all the different ways we make it in our lives, and that was kind of me really processing all of it as well. Now it feels like a part of me and I see it all the time.
For example, I live in an HOA with a couple of crank pots who would prefer that the common area in our neighborhood just be decoration instead of something children play on. But for the last few months, I’ve been really focused on the GIVE part of the Everyday Magic equation and I can personally attest to magical things happening because of it. Friendships blooming, hearts healing, attitudes changing. So no, not fictional at all. At least, not to me.
Now, onto the cover. Were you involved in the creative process at all?
A little bit. I was sent a cover back in early October that just didn’t feel right to me or my agent. We sent some feedback and my publisher came back with it tweaked but it still just wasn’t right. So we asked if they’d be willing to completely re-imagine it. Which…is a HUGE ask and I felt sick to my stomach for a couple of days over it. But my editor, Rebecca Davis, and the art director, Tim Gilner, were just absolutely amazing. They took my suggestions of what I thought would be fitting and said, “Yes.” You hear so many stories from debut authors especially about cover woes and the fact is that publishers don’t have to listen to what the author wants. They don’t. But mine did. They really, really listened and never made me feel like I was impertinent or going beyond my station. I love that so much. Boyds Mills Press really is a dream to work with.
What was your first response when seeing the cover art?
I had to wait two months after requesting the redesign to see the new cover. And it was completely and totally worth it. When I got the email, I was soooo nervous. But when I opened the attachment, I gasped and started crying. Truly.
Okay. I can’t wait any longer. Let’s do the big reveal!
Wow! Where’s the heart-eyed emoji when you need it? It’s stunning!One more question for you, after seeing the cover art:
Music isn’t mentioned at all in the jacket copy for the book, but it’s clear from the cover that music is an important part of Kate’s story. Can you discuss the role of music in your life, and how it’s incorporated into the story?
Yes! So music has been a part of my life from the very beginning. My parents both love to sing and my mom was always playing music in our home. When I was 5, I watched someone play “Mary Had a Little Lamb” on the piano and then proceeded to go home and play it myself. Neither of my parents played, so they were super impressed! They enrolled me in piano lessons and I continued to take those until I graduated from high school as a very advanced pianist. I also played the French horn all through junior high and high school, making it into the All-State orchestra, where I played Dvorjak’s “New World” Symphony, which was a life-changing experience for me. That’s something you never forget. My husband and I fell in love singing and playing the guitar together. Especially “Can’t Help Falling in Love.”
In THE THREE RULES OF EVERYDAY MAGIC music acts as both a source of sadness and of healing for Kate. It’s used to give us insight into her father’s slide into depression and Kate’s inability to move on from his departure from the family. It’s also used to help trigger Grammy’s memory and connect with her despite the dementia, which I lifted straight from my own Grandma’s experiences with my Grandpa who died of Alzheimer’s when I was fifteen. There is also a special scene near the end of the book where Kate’s mom tells her a story about playing Beethoven’s “Pathetique.” It’s this really lovely moment of healing. And the story is word for word exactly something that happened to me at a recital.
Okay, last question — I mean it this time! When can readers get their hands on THE THREE RULES OF EVERYDAY MAGIC?