Stories have always helped M. Tara Crowl understand the world. Writing her own, she says, “just feels right. It doesn’t always feel good, and it’s not always fun, but it feels like it’s what I’m supposed to be doing.”
Tara is the author of the Eden of the Lamp series, which tells the story of a 12-year-old genie who lives like a princess but feels like she’s in a prison. In the first novel, “Eden’s Wish,” Eden escapes to earth and poses as a human. But life outside the lamp isn’t as perfect as she thought, and soon Eden finds herself in the middle of centuries-old conflict.
In “Eden’s Escape,” Eden continues her work granting wishes while living in New York City. Her new guardian is Pepper, genie alum who’s also a Broadway actress. When her lamp falls into the wrong hands, Eden finds herself on the streets of Paris, working to retrieve her lamp and unlock the secrets of the genie legacy.
The idea for “Eden’s Wish” came to Tara one day while she was sitting on a plane. She started imagining what life would be like for a genie. “I was thinking about how the idea of being a genie is sort of intriguing and glamorous, but being trapped inside an oil lamp until someone rubbed it would be horrible,” Tara told Cracking the Cover. “No freedom, no friends, no fresh air. From there, I started to dream up the character of Eden: a genie who longs to live a regular life on Earth.”
“Eden’s Wish was originally conceived as a standalone novel. That changed right before it sold to Disney-Hyperion. “I went to Europe by myself for some adventure and soul-searching, and I fell in love with Paris,” Tara said. “I decided that if the book sold, I wanted to write a sequel and set it there. At the time, it seemed inconceivable. But when I got back from my trip, I found out that it was going to be a reality! Even though that was years ago, I’m still baffled — and so grateful — that I’ve had this opportunity.”
It’s interesting the path characters take as they develop into something much more than anticipated. It’s no different for Eden. “At the beginning of ‘Eden’s Wish,’ Eden is kind of a know-it-all,” Tara said. “She plays tricks on her wishers, resents her masters (who are sort of like her parents), and thinks she’s so much smarter than mortals who live on Earth. When she escapes her lamp and spends a few days on Earth, she gets some sense knocked into her. She learns to value the people around her, as well as what makes her unique and special.”
Eden continues to grow in “Eden’s Escape,” focusing more on others than herself. “Instead of fighting for what she wants and trying to figure out who she is, she’s fighting for the people she loves, and against things that are going to hurt the world,” Tara said. “She’s also learning about friendships and relationships, and navigating their more complex aspects.”
Eden’s books are full of adventure with action and lots of twists. Young readers appreciate that fast pace, vibrant characters and humor, Tara said.
“I love writing for young readers because they are curious and intelligent, but still innocent. It’s easy for them to lose themselves in a story, because they aren’t cynical or closed-minded. They’re eager to learn, imagine, and explore.”
Learn more about M. Tara Crowl and her books by reading the complete transcript of her interview with Cracking the Cover.
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