Monday, September 30, 2013

Author Interview-Lisa Van Allen - The Wishing Thread

I'm pleased to welcome to the forum today author Lisa Van Allen who is talking today about her latest novel, The Wishing Thread. A novel that award winning Lisa Verge Higgins calls "...a lyrical, emotional, finely knit portrayal of three sisters struggling with love, magic and sacrifice..." Lisa has a very unique pet when I asked her to tell me how she ended up with a Hedgehog for a pet here's what she said ––"I actually wanted a pet hedgehog before I started writing The Wishing Thread...Basically, the reason we ended up with a hedgehog is because she’s adorable. She’s kind of bossy and sort of a diva. But I think she’s just so darn interesting.

  • ISBN-13: 9780345538550
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 8/27/2013
  • Pages: 400

The Van Ripper women have been the talk of Tarrytown, New York, for centuries. Some say they’re angels; some say they’re crooks. In their tumbledown “Stitchery,” not far from the stomping grounds of the legendary Headless Horseman, the Van Ripper sisters—Aubrey, Bitty, and Meggie—are said to knit people’s most ardent wishes into beautiful scarves and mittens, granting them health, success, or even a blossoming romance. But for the magic to work, sacrifices must be made—and no one knows that better than the Van Rippers.
“Reader to reader, knitter to knitter: You’re going to love this book.”—Debbie Macomber
“The Wishing Thread is a lyrical, emotional, finely knit portrayal of three sisters struggling with love, magic and sacrifice. This is the best book I’ve read all year.”—Lisa Verge Higgins, author of The Proper Care and Maintenance of Friendship
“Fans of magical realism will want to pick up this enjoyable novel, which not only weaves magic through stitchery, but also weaves a realistic story about family and sisterhood and the threads that pull us back home.”—RT Book Reviews
“Great for fans of Sarah Addison Allen and Alice Hoffman; you know it’s whimsical when you learn that debut author Allen owns a pet hedgehog.”—Library Journal
Kirkus Reviews:
In Allen's debut novel, knitting becomes a rich metaphor for the power of women, of the disenfranchised, of the desperate. Steeped in the spirit of Washington Irving's "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow," this bewitching tale will delight fans of magical realism.

Lisa welcome to The Reading Frenzy
Thank you so much for having me! It’s a pleasure!

Tell us about The Wishing Thread
Sure! The Wishing Thread is about three sisters in the village of Tarrytown, not far from where the Headless Horseman story originated. One sister, Aubrey, has spent her life at The Stitchery, the “magical” yarn shop that is her family legacy.

Her two sisters, Bitty and Meggie, have been avoiding the Stitchery for many years because the nature of the family’s magic is complicated and they don’t want to be involved.

In order for a magic spell to work, a person must “pay” for the spell by giving up something that’s very important to them. If it’s not important enough, the spell won’t work.

When the neighborhood is threatened, the sisters must reunite in order to decide the fate of their family legacy. As the sisters work to reconcile their very different opinions, Aubrey grows closer to a handsome handyman, who is the only guy in Tarrytown who can look her in the eye.

In the end, Aubrey is called to make an enormous sacrifice that will change all of Tarrytown forever.

You’ve gotten a lot of wonderful praise about your novel from readers, reviewers and authors. Congratulation!
How have those words of praise affected you as an author?
I can’t even say how wonderful it’s been. As I’m writing this I’m on a deadline, with a new book due very soon. And in all honesty, the many kind letters that I’ve received and the generous show of support have really helped keep me going now that I’m in crunch time for my work in progress.

Lisa I learned from your blog that your idea for The Wishing Thread came about because of your love of knitting and I encourage readers to click and read it.
It also says that you’re just about finished with the second “magic” book.
Will this be a series?
One of the comments I keep getting from readers is that they wish the story would just keep going on, which is exactly what a writer wants to hear. Alas, The Wishing Thread is not part of a series. It’s rather unlikely that I’ll ever write a series. I really like my writing to challenge me. I like learning new things, I like improving my technique, I like getting better with every new book. And in order to do that it means I’ve got to constantly keep myself outside my comfort zone.

Working on a series might get a little too familiar too quickly for me. So for the moment, my books will probably end up being all standalones.

Lisa on your website you say, “As for the writing, every single day I find more inspiration than I’ll ever know what to do with in a lifetime.”
Can you be a bit more specific and tell us where you find that inspiration?
I know it’s cliché to say that inspiration comes from everywhere. But it really does. A lot of the “work” of writing happens on a subconscious level.

That said, reading is hugely important to me. When I read a good book, it challenges me and energizes me to become a better writer myself. Nothing rejuvenates my determination to keep improving my writing more than reading a good book.

Lisa, you seem to be a very “wired” author. Do you use social media just mainly to “hang out” or do you think it’s a good advertising tool for you as well?
Well, I have a Facebook page. And I love hearing from people there. So it is a great tool for connecting me with readers.

But on a personal level, the way I most like to use social media is to connect with people who have similar interests. So for example, I like connecting with other knitters on my Ravelry profile (I’m Lisava). And I’m on Goodreads too. I love love love stalking my friends to see what they’re reading.

So we know that you like to knit. What other things do you do for R&R?
When I’m not writing or reading, I like spending time with my family and friends — all the better if there’s microbrews involved. My husband and I enjoy goofing off in the Hudson Valley; I’m hoping will be able to get there this weekend since there’s no place in the world I love more in the autumn than Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow.

I also volunteer quite a lot of my time with my church. I co-coordinate our volunteer work. So I do a fair bit of running around and organizing in order to help keep our local food pantry stocked, to make sure we have enough food to put on a meal at the homeless shelter, to donate handknit hats to newborns in underserved communities, and that sort of thing.

You have to tell us about your pet Hedgehog Cleo, how did you end up with a Hedgehog for a pet?
I actually wanted a pet hedgehog before I started writing The Wishing Thread. And because I wasn’t sure if I would be able to get one, the sisters in the Stitchery ended up with a hedgehog of their own. Eventually, I ended up with Cleo — my hedgehog.

Basically, the reason we ended up with a hedgehog is because she’s adorable. She’s kind of bossy and sort of a diva. But I think she’s just so darn interesting. She’s also very low maintenance, which helps when you’re as busy as my husband and I are.

Lisa will you be touring with The Wishing Thread, can you tell us where and when in case we’d like to meet you in person?
Thanks for asking. I’m sticking close to home with my promotional efforts for The Wishing Thread — which is to say I’ll mostly be in New Jersey. More information is available on my website. Otherwise, I love connecting with readers online.

Lisa thank you for stopping by The Reading Frenzy and dropping a little magic with us. Good luck with the new novel!!
My pleasure to be here! Thank you!

Connect with Lisa Website - Facebook


  1. Thanks so much for having me, Debbie!

  2. I love the sound of The Wishing Thread from the siblings to the magic. Thanks for sharing Lisa with us today!