Debut Author Spotlight - Review of When My Heart Was Wicked by Tricia Stirling + Author Interview

12:00 AM Serena 3 Comments

Today on the blog, I have an interview with yet another fabulous authors whose debut novel is coming out in 2015. Exciting stuff! Please give a round of applause to Tricia Stirling, author of When My Heart Was Wicked! 

*PSA: My questions will be bolded, like so, and Tricia's answers will be not-bolded, like so.*
Let's jump right in! 

How would you describe When My Heart Was Wicked in seven words or less? Inspired by fairy tales and magical realists.

What’s your writing process like? Are you an outliner, or do you have other methods? I tend to outline, but I usually don’t know the end of a story until I get there. I have a cork bulletin board and I pin up pictures, fabric swatches, ribbons, anything that evokes my characters. I also use Pinterest to store creepy evocative images that make me want to write. When I was working on the first draft of When My Heart Was Wicked, which I wrote in skeletal form over the course of two days, I was reading Frida Kahlo’s journals at night and I wrote words stolen from Frida into a tiny pink notebook a friend gave me.

The cover of When My Heart Was Wicked is gorgeous. Did you have any hand in designing it? I know, it really is! No, I had nothing to do with it. My editor at Scholastic told me they were envisioning something “painterly,” which sounded good. A month later she emailed me the cover pretty much as you see it now, and I just gasped. I was like, “Whoa, there’s Lacy!” Jeannine Riske was the designer and she came up with the concept, which I love. Murilo Maciel (the illustrator) is such a beautiful artist and I feel very fortunate that he was willing to work on this.

Did you always want to be an author? Similarly, why did you decide to write YA? When I was young, I didn’t want to be a writer because my mom was a writer and I remember her struggling with it so much. But I wrote all the time, and I learned to make my handwriting tiny so I could fit more on the page for one page assignments. I kept writing through college, and I remember sitting in my dorm room one day with my notebook and thinking, “Well I guess I’m a writer. Time to stop being afraid of it. It’s in my blood and my bones.” I don’t know why I write YA. I just can’t not write it. Every long thing I’ve ever written has been about a teenager. I get impatient when I try to get into the mind of grown-up characters. In fiction, characters need to make mistakes, and I have a much easier time feeling forgiving and loving towards teenagers messing up and behaving badly than I do adults.

Where did your idea for WMHWW come from? I think I just wanted to re-think the myth of the evil stepmother. I know I’m not the first person to do this, but I’m a step-mom myself and I guess I became kind of obsessed. And then, once I started writing, I kept getting the sense that I was going about it all wrong. In earlier drafts, Lacy and Anna were at odds with one another, and it didn’t feel right. When I read Hooked by Les Edgerton, which is a book about structuring the beginning of a novel, the whole plot finally fell into place and the story took off from there.

Do you listen to music when you write? If so, what was the playlist for writing WMHWW like? I don’t, but I love the idea of a playlist so I’m going to create one.

Punching in a Dream-The Naked and Famous
Street Spirit-Radiohead
Last Stop This Town--Eels
Chasing Cars-Snow Patrol
Love Buzz-Nirvana
Dark Horse-Katy Perry
Numb-Linkin Park
Where is My Mind-Pixies
(Serena add in: These are all so fitting! Love this playlist.)

And last, but most certainly not least: How do you plan to celebrate the release of your debut? We’re having a book launch party at my local indie bookstore on the day that it comes out. The next night, Victoria Scott, Mel Salisbury, Catherine Doyle and I are going to have a twitter party, because we all have Scholastic books coming out on the same day. I have no idea what a twitter party entails, but it sounds great to me! Also maybe some Prosseco. And I’ll probably torture myself by googling my name. Then, more Prosseco!

That sounds fabulous! Thanks for being here, Tricia!

About Tricia Stirling:

Tricia Stirling is a California native. She received her master’s degree in creative writing from Sacramento State University, and she has since taught writing to kids and teens. She lives with her husband and beautiful kids in Sacramento, where contrary to the opinion of some, magic does exist.

Find Tricia online: Twitter - Author Website - Instagram

About When My Heart Was Wicked:

"I used to be one of those girls. The kind who loved to deliver bad news. When I colored my hair, I imagined it seeping into my scalp, black dye pooling into my veins.

But that was the old Lacy. Now, when I cast spells, they are always for good."

16-year-old Lacy believes that magic and science can work side by side. She's a botanist who knows how to harness the healing power of plants. So when her father dies, Lacy tries to stay with her step-mother in Chico, where her magic is good and healing. She fears the darkness that her real mother, Cheyenne, brings out, stripping away everything that is light and kind.

Yet Cheyenne never stays away for long. Beautiful, bewitching, unstable Cheyenne who will stop at nothing, not even black magic, to keep control of her daughter's heart. She forces Lacy to accompany her to Sacramento, and before long, the "old" Lacy starts to resurface.

But when Lacy survives a traumatic encounter, she finds herself faced with a choice. Will she use her powers to exact revenge and spiral into the darkness forever? Or will she find the strength to embrace the light? 

Format: eARC - Thanks to Scholastic and Edelweiss for approving me!
Rating: 4/5 stars
Part of a series? Nope! It's a standalone. 

Before I talk about anything else, I need to talk about how physically gorgeous this book is. The cover makes me want to squeal it is SO PRETTY. The inside is pretty, too! The first pages each of the chapters have the sameish looking birds from the cover on the tops, and GAH. I only have an eARC, so I can't even begin to imagine how wondrous the physical copies are going to be. 

Now that that's over with, I should probably start talking about the words and stuff. I was absolutely in love with the writing. I thought it was beautiful, but the story got a little bit confusing at times. Especially towards the end, it was crazy and all over the place. That being said, I still really enjoyed the book. It was dark and mysterious, and I think the craziness made me like it more. The chaos helped illustrate how easy it would be for Lacy to cross the line from good to evil which was important. 

Ugh, vague review is vague, right? Sorry about that, but I think that's the best way to go into this book! You have to experience the darkness and the twists and turns for yourself. 

When My Heart Was Wicked releases this week! Grab it on February 24th! And don't forget to check out Tricia's Twitter for the chat on 2/25! :)


  1. Replies
    1. It's PERFECT for the book, and also just perfect.

  2. I've just downloaded iStripper, so I can watch the best virtual strippers on my desktop.