Q: Will there be another book set in the Magic or Madness world?

A: At the moment I have no ideas for more books set in the Magic or Madness world world. That doesn’t mean I won’t get some great idea later on. But right now the next few books I have planned have nothing to do with those worlds.

Q: Are you thinking of making the books into movies?

A: Typically, writers do not make their own books into movies. I don’t know anything about how to make movies so I leave it to the experts. If a movie maker wanted to make my books into movies they’d have to negotiate with my agent for the right to do so. Currently no movie maker has been given the right to make a movie of the trilogy.

Q: Did you get to choose the cover of Magic or Madness?

A: No. Authors rarely get to choose their own covers. But I was consulted about it, and was able to tell them that I wasn’t wild about the first version (it was completely different to how it is now). That version was dropped. I don’t know how much influence my not liking it had. Fortunately I adored the second version which became the final cover. I still can’t get over how beautiful it is. Marc J. Cohen is the artist responsible for all the trilogy covers.

Q: Did you get to choose the cover of Magic Lessons?

A: No. However, I was very lucky and my editors asked me to write the cover brief—the description of what the cover should look like that’s sent to the artist. I described Camperdown Cemetery and the moreton bay fig tree there and all the gravestones. Scott and me took photos of the cemetery to be used as references, but Marc J. Cohen used our actual photos. I took the photo of the tree on the front and Scott took the photo of the gravestones on the back. Cool, huh? And very unusual. Most authors don’t even see their cover until it’s a done deal.

Q: Are you as good at mathematics as Reason is?

A: No, I’m not. Not even close. I wish!

Q: Is there really no snow in Australia?—asked by Andrew at my first Books of Wonder signing.

A: Yes, there is snow in Australia. We even have Snowy Mountains. Most winters there’ll be snow in some parts of Australia, like those aforementioned mountains and Tasmania. But it’s very easy to grow up in Australia and never see snow. I grew up in the inner city of Sydney and never in all the years I’ve lived there has it snowed. I didn’t see snow falling from the sky until I was an adult and that was in Spain. In some remote areas there are kids who’ve never seen rain because the droughts can last five years or more.

Q: How did you come up with that particular character’s name? Our five-year old daughter is named Reason. We liked this virtue, not traditionally associated with females. Is it popular in Australia, just as Justice is here? Thanks—Suzy Jacobs, Burbank, California.

A: As far as I know neither Reason nor Justice are popular names in Australia. I’ve certainly never heard of either one as names before.

I chose the name pretty much as described in the book:

My name is Reason Cansino. I was named Reason because my mother, Sarafina, thought it was prettier than Logic or Rationality or Intellect and had better nicknames, too. Not that Sarafina has ever called me anything but Reason.

My mother believes in all those things: logic, reason, and the rest, and in mathematics, which fortunately wasn’t on the list of possible names. I’m grateful to have a head full of numbers, but I wouldn’t want to answer to the name of Algebra, Trigonometry, or Calculus.

I had thought that I was the first to come up with Reason as a name and had imagined my book setting off a wave of kids being called Reason. Such hubris! I think it’s quite wonderful as a name. Your daughter is very lucky.

Q: Mark Cansino asks, Hi, I was wondering, is your character named after an actual Cansino?

A: Yes, indeed. I took the family name from Rita Hayworth who was born Margarita Carmen Dolores Cansino.


The questions and answers that follow are about all three of the Magic or Madness books. If you haven’t read them these answers will spoil things for you.

Q: Why is nothing resolved at the end of Magic or Madness?

A: Magic or Madness is the first book of a trilogy. I promise everything is resolved by the end of Magic’s Child. Honest. Also some things are resolved by the end of Magic or Madness. Of course, I can’t go into what those things are here for fear of spoiling those who haven’t read it yet.

Q: I was wondering about the ending of Magic or Madness. The part where there were black and purple feathers. I went back to the pages around the middle of the book and re-read the part where there was feathers too under the pillow when she was with Jay-Tee but I didnt quite understand what the feathers meant or symbolised. Do you mind explaining it to me? Thanks—Maria Ng, Singapore.

A: What the feathers are for is something that is explained in book 2, Magic Lessons, and I really don’t want to spoil that book for you. What I can say is that I wanted that last line of Magic or Madness—“Underneath there were five black and purple feathers”—to show that there is still a lot Reason doesn’t understand or know about magic (or her grandmother), that her journey isn’t even halfway over. So I guess you could say the feathers symbolise how much Reason has to learn. But I’m sure other readers might explain them differently.

Q: Dess asks: *SPOILER QUESTION* since there was a crazy ansestor guy for the Cansino magic is there super magic people like that for all magic families? families like jay-tee’s and tom’s?

A: Excellent question! I don’t think there are for every family but I do think there are others.

Q: How could the doors that Jason Blake created have survived the destruction of the Cansino magic? Why did he give the keys to Tom when those doors were destroyed.

A: Jason Blake only created one door—the one between New York and Dallas. The door to Bangkok is one he found so it’s still good to go. I figure Blake forgot that his Dallas door wouldn’t have survived. He had a lot to take in what with being stripped of his magic and stranded in Sydney without a passport. (Though he’s such a canny type he may well have had his passport on him. He’d certainly know how to get a new one. Or have the money to charter a boat out of Australia. Our ports aren’t that closely monitored.)

Q: Why is Reason’s baby magic? I thought the Cansino magic was destroyed.

A: It was. Reason’s baby’s magic is the regular kind which she inherited from both her mother and father. Remember, that even though Danny isn’t magic his sister and mother and father were. So Reason’s baby has the kind of magic that means she will die young if she uses it or go crazy if she doesn’t.

Q: This isn’t really a frequently asked question since it’s only come up twice so far. Also neither times was it phrased as a question but as a statement: “Reason’s pregnancy could not take place as fast as it did. You got your research wrong!”

Here’s Scott’s response lifted from Whatever:

A: the New Kinsey Report says seven hours is the minimum from intercourse to fertilization, that being the time it take the sperm to undergo capacitation. And in fact, the sperm can make its journey in as little as five minutes. (The egg’s travels are much longer, but they may have started before intercourse.)

In Magic Lessons the time delay between intercourse and detection is about 24 hours. (Don’t forget those time zones!)

This is a common problem for us novelists: everyone who’s done ten minutes of research is a frickin’ expert. Not that your wife is an idiot, Mike, it’s just that most people don’t realize how data of this sort are normalized for the general public—that is, publicly available data don’t take into account the vast variation of the real world as opposed to the textbook world. Yes, the stock answer is “2 to 5 days from intercourse to fertilization.” And, no, that’s not misinformation, it’s just information designed for non-experts, because it fits some 80%-of-the-time norm.

The real variation is between seven hours (time for the sperm to undergo capacitation) and eight and a half days (the current record-holding sperm life span).

And just to win all future arguments in advance, note that magic is used both in detecting the pregnancy and at conception, the latter being missed by some readers. (Old Man Cansino is pulling their strings.)

Q: I’ve also been criticised about Reason (apparently) developing morning sickness (at the beginning of Magic’s Child) so quickly after pregnancy. Most especially by my ex-nurse mother.

A: There are two answers to that criticism:

  1. Reason’s vomiting is not caused by morning sickness. It’s part of the changes her body undergoes as she becomes less human.
  2. It turns out that some women do get morning sickness almost immediately following capacitation. It is rare but it does happen.

Feel free to ask more questions below. I can’t promise a quick response but I definitely will answer.


  1. Leanne Dudley on #

    I thought the three books were awesome! I just got done with Magic’s Child… I really wish that there would be more books written. I think all the books should be put together and made into a movie. I want to know what happens to Tom, and the new born.

  2. Justine on #

    Leanne: I’m so pleased you liked them. If you see the first answer up above you’ll see that I have no plans to write any more Magic or Madness books. Sorry. (I don’t rule it out completely but none of the next five books I have planned are set in that world, which means any more MorM books would be at least six years away.)

    But why not write your own story about what happens to Tom and to the baby? There are lots of fanfic sites out there where you could put your story up online.

  3. Kelsey M. on #

    Hi Justine!
    First of all, I want to say that I love the series! I just finished Magic Lessons, and am eager to read Magic’s Child. Sorry if I missed the answer to this question somewhere, but… Why do Reason’s ancestors all have Spanish-sounding names?

  4. Michele on #

    I read all three of your books and i absolutely loved them. The one thing that everyone of my friends wonder is if you are thinking about have the books turned into movies.

  5. Kelsey M. on #

    It’s me again. Nevermind about the names, I found it!

    By the way, Magic’s Child was amazing! I’m sad now that I’m done with the series. Are you thinking of making the books into movies? In my opinion I don’t think you should, some books are just so good that making them into movies takes away the….essence?…. of them. I can’t think of a word right now. Not that it’s my desicion or anything, though. Haha.

  6. Justine on #

    Michele & Kelsey M.: I’m so pleased you both liked the trilogy so much. Made my day!

    The answer to your question about the trilogy becoming a movie is the second question I answer at the top of this page. Basically, it’s not up to me.

  7. Rachel on #

    This is a bit random but is it true what Tom tells Reason about Great Expectations?

  8. Justine on #

    Rachel: Which bit? It’s true that many people believe that the character of Miss Havisham was based on Eliza Emily Donnithorne who’s buried in Camperdown cemetery. But we don’t know for sure.

  9. Chris McDonald on #

    Hey, I’d just like to say how much I love the Magic Or Madness trilogy. It’s one of my favourite book series to date and it’s just so enjoyable! I really do love them, and I had to resort to buying the alst two books over the internet 😀 (My school had Magic Or Madness, but not the other two… such a tease)

    Anyway the books are awesome! Oh and how do you pronounce your last name? (I keep on pronouncing it as Lab-Are-La-Steen in my head, but I’m fairly sure thats wrong)

  10. Justine on #

    Chris: Thanks so much! I’m dead pleased you liked them.

    Your pronunciation is completely wrong. Eek! You’ll find the correct pronunciation in the personal faq.

  11. Michele on #

    Hey, its me again! I was just wondering, the feathers under Reasons pillows, were they actually to protect her while she was sleeping?

  12. Justine on #

    Michelle: That’s what I have always assumed but it’s hard to know with Esmeralda. She’s so tricky.

  13. Marci on #

    Hi! I really enjoyed the trilogy, but had one question: why is Raoul pulling their strings at all? I think he was trying to have Reason destroy the magic, but why use that method? Just curious 🙂

  14. Justine on #

    Marci: Thank you. I’m so pleased you liked it.

    I confess that I can no longer remember. I wrote those books a long time ago now. Finished the last one more than four years ago. And have written several other books since. Now I can barely remember the characters’ name. Sad but true.

    In other words, your guess is as good as mine.

  15. Nadia Burra on #

    The Magic or Madness series, are me and my mum’s all time favourite books to read.
    We love them so much that we were outraged that Magic’s Child ended with an un-resolved ending. We both really hope that you will make another book or triliogy that will continue the story. Maybe it could be through Tom’s view or the baby’s?
    I love your books and the way you write. It’s inspirational.

  16. Enerzaya on #

    I LOVE MAGIC OR MADNESS!! I just finished reading the series and it’s awesome! I have one question, what happens to Danny, Magic and Reason? Just asking out of curiosity. Thanks!

  17. Justine on #

    Nadia: Thank you! I really appreciate it.

    I’m so sorry you weren’t happy with the end of Magic’s Child. I thought the ending was very resolved but you’re not the first readers to disagree. 🙂

    I won’t rule it out but I’m unlikely to write further books in the series. There are lots of reasons for that. The story feels done to me and I have no idea what I would write next to continue it. Also the books did not sell well enough for their publisher to want further books in that series. (They’ve certainly never asked.) So even if I wanted to write more books I doubt there’s a publisher for them. Sorry!

    Fortunately for me, I have publishers who are keen to publish my other books.

  18. Justine on #

    Enerzaya: Thank you! I’m so pleased you loved the trilogy.

    I’m sorry but I can’t answer your question. I honestly don’t know what happens to them next. I tend to only know the stories that I write. What happens after one of my stories ends is a mystery to me. Unless I sit down and write it.

    Do you like writing fanfic? Maybe you could write a story for yourself about what happens to them?

  19. mercedes on #

    i really wish there was another book i would like to know what happens to tom and the baby and oddly enough jason (alexander) blake and i really hope that some day someone will get to make a movie out of your books i also want to know what happens with danny and julieta

  20. Justine on #

    mercedes: i really wish there was another book i would like to know what happens to tom and the baby and oddly enough jason (alexander) blake and i really hope that some day someone will get to make a movie out of your books i also want to know what happens with danny and julieta

    Thanks, Mercedes! I’m so pleased you enjoyed the trilogy.

    I’m sorry that there won’t be any more books. Not unless some kind of miracle happens. Like movies being made, which, alas, is not on the cards.

    I don’t know what happens to everyone. I’m one of those annoying writers who has no idea what happens next unless I write it. Sorry!

  21. Nyssa on #

    Hey Justine,
    I just wanted to say I absolutely love this series! I have become so addicted to it.
    I also had a question that’s been bothering me since I first read the series (seeing as I like backstories and whatnot). In Magic or Madness you say that Esmeralda left 2 letters for Reason. There is a little explanation at the end of Magic Lessons, but I’m still wondering what exactly was in the letters… or at least some idea.
    I really like the character of Esmeralda. She intrigues me, and I feel bad for her because she has a reputation among Sarafina and Reason that she doesn’t really deserve. She is actually my favourite.
    Would love to hear back from you!

  22. Justine on #

    Nyssa: Thank you! And I’m so pleased you like Esmeralda. I think she gets a bad rap too.

    You’re going to hate me but what do you think is in those letters? To be honest I wrote the trilogy so long ago now that I can’t remember. So truly your guess is as good as mine. (Yes, I am a bad author.)

  23. Meredith on #

    if reason turned off the Cansino magic how come she does not have her regular inherited magic still like her baby does?

  24. Tyra on #

    Hey, does danny ever fimd out he got reason pregnant?

  25. Nyssa on #

    Yes he does find out. In the last book, Jay-Tee accidentally spills the beans and he totally freaks out. In the end, he decides he doesn’t want to be like his father, and wants to be there for his child, and see it grow up, even though he lives on the other side of the world

  26. Justine on #

    Meredith Says: If reason turned off the Cansino magic how come she does not have her regular inherited magic still like her baby does?

    It’s a little bit embarrassing to admit this but it is now more than eight years since I finished writing these books and at this point I can’t remember. I know I had that all worked out but I’d have to reread the books to be able to tell you. Sorry!

    Hey, Nyssa, thanks for answering Tyra’s question for me.

  27. Justine on #

    I’m now turning the FAQ off. As I just admitted to Meredith it’s now too long since I wrote the trilogy for me to give you reliable answers. Thanks for reading and I hope you find this page useful even if you can’t ask new questions.

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