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:
- Reason’s vomiting is not caused by morning sickness. It’s part of the changes her body undergoes as she becomes less human.
- 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.