How to Make a Wish
by Ashley Herring Blake
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Release Date: May 2nd 2017
Genre: Young Adult, GLBT, Contemporary
All seventeen year-old Grace Glasser wants is her own life. A normal life in which she sleeps in the same bed for longer than three months and doesn't have to scrounge for spare change to make sure the electric bill is paid. Emotionally trapped by her unreliable mother, Maggie, and the tiny cape on which she lives, she focuses on her best friend, her upcoming audition for a top music school in New York, and surviving Maggie’s latest boyfriend—who happens to be Grace’s own ex-boyfriend’s father.
Her attempts to lay low until she graduates are disrupted when she meets Eva, a girl with her own share of ghosts she’s trying to outrun. Grief-stricken and lonely, Eva pulls Grace into midnight adventures and feelings Grace never planned on. When Eva tells Grace she likes girls, both of their worlds open up. But, united by loss, Eva also shares a connection with Maggie. As Grace's mother spirals downward, both girls must figure out how to love and how to move on.
Hello Ashley! We are super excited to have you again in our FFBC tours.
That’s a tough one, I have so many! But if I had to choose one, I’d say Jandy Nelson’s The Sky is Everywhere.
Favorite TV show?
Depends on the day. Lately, I’ve been listening to a lot of Kishi Bashi!
Anything with sugar.
Name 3 fictional places you would move to in a heartbeat.
Hogwarts, any world that Anna-Marie McLemore creates, Red London from Victoria Schwab’s Shades of Magic series.
What were your favorite books growing up?
(I was a Fear Street girl!) Judy Blume and Babysitter’s Club.
Currently: “Out of the ash I rise with my red hair and I eat men like air.” Sylvia Plath. I’m feeling sassy lately.
What do you find yourself “Fangirling” over?
Nina LaCour, Jandy Nelson.
If you could meet one author, dead or alive, who would it be?
Could you tell our Book Addicts a little bit about HOW TO MAKE A WISH?
The book follows Grace, a seventeen year-old pianist who has been the adult in her relationship with her mother for too long. The summer she meets Eva, a grieving girl searching for her own life separate from her mother, Grace starts to believe happiness might be possible for her, but she torn between breaking away and taking care of her mother, whom she really loves. Eventually, Grace has to choose—herself or her mother. It’s a story about family, friends, grief, and first love. And, of course, kissing.
What 3 hashtags would you most associate with your book?
(Could be a word or phrase or anything that would instantly make you think of HOW TO MAKE A WISH.) #pizzafrieds #kissinginatree #livinginalighthouse
The arts seem to play a big role in your characters’ lives. Do you have personal experience with music and/or dance?
I do! I’ve been singing for as long as I can remember. I did musical theater in high school and choir in college. After college, I was part of a folksy duo with a friend of mine and we both played guitar and sang. We made an album and played in dive bars and I even moved to Nashville, which I ended up loving and still call home.
How did you come up with the story? Did you find inspiration in any other story/movie/show and how has this affected your writing?
The opening scene, in which Grace finds herself returning home from a two week-long piano workshop only to discover that her mother has moved them into a new place with her new boyfriend, was actually inspired by a friend of mine. A very similar thing happened to her as a teen and I really wanted to explore the type of mother-daughter relationship would create such a dynamic. My friend knows I borrowed her story, of course, and hers was very different in many ways from Grace’s, but that initial situation was the initial spark. And, honestly, I wanted to write a story about a bi girl falling in love with another girl and Grace’s story seemed the perfect place for that.
Tell us your favorite quote from HOW TO MAKE A WISH.
“’Did we just kiss in a tree?’ ‘K-I-S-S-I-N-G.’” Hey, I’m just being honest. ☺
Is there a specific scene that you had the most fun to write? Or which part was the most difficult to get through?
I love any scene that involves kissing, I have to admit. And I love the ways in which Grace and Eva gravitated toward each other, so writing any emotional scene between them was really fun. The hardest scenes were ones in which Grace was really grappling with her feelings about her mother. She has a complicated relationship with her mom and, as I didn’t have a toxic relationship with my own mother, I really had to dig for those scenes, as well as listen to those I reached out to who did have these kinds of experiences.
If you had to pick one song to be the Theme Song for HOW TO MAKE A WISH – Which one would you pick?
“Dark Paradise” by Lana Del Rey.
Are there any recommendations you could give your readers to be in the “perfect mood” to read HOW TO MAKE A WISH (specific music, snacks…)?
Well, pizza fries, something my friends and I sort of, maybe invented, play into the book, as well as any type of diner food!
What’s next for you?
I have another YA coming out in 2018 called Girl Made of Stars, which deals with a girl whose twin brother is accused of rape. Yeah, it’s pretty heavy.
Thank you so much for everything, Ashley!
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Ashley Herring Blake is a reader, writer, and mom to two boisterous boys. She holds a Master’s degree in teaching and loves coffee, arranging her books by color, and watching Buffy over and over again on Netflix with her friends. She's the author of the young adult novels SUFFER LOVE and HOW TO MAKE A WISH.