Friday, September 25, 2015

Magic, Middle School & TWIST MY CHARM

Happy Friday Everyone! Today I'm pleased to welcome author Toni Gallagher to the blog to talk all things magic, middle school and Twist My Charm: The Popularity Spell. I was addicted to the TV Show Charmed when I was a touch younger (I won't tell you how much younger though ;-)), and I always went back and forth between the three sisters in terms of which of their abilities I would most like to have if magic were real. I thought it might be fun to extend a similar question to Toni, so I asked her what spells she would cast if magic existed in our world. I hope you all enjoy, and for all you middle grade lovers out there, don't forget to add Twist My Charm: The Popularity Spell to your lists!

If magic were real, what spells would I cast?

In Twist My Charm: The Popularity Spell, Cleo and her friend Samantha have the opportunity to cast positive, happy spells that will make their lives better. But when they decide to make themselves popular, they learn that doing something great for yourself might not be so great for someone else.

Since my story takes place in the world of sixth graders, I’d like to go back to my childhood to cast my spells and make my wishes.

First of all, I wanted to be able to sing – not just loudly (which I could already do), but well. Ideally I would sing like Patti LuPone, the Broadway star of Evita. She’s still out there today, belting out songs in musicals and in concert. Me? I’m singing on karaoke stages every once in a while. My version of These Boots Are Made for Walking will change your life. Not.

I also wanted to meet Steven Spielberg, the director. If he could’ve heard my story ideas, he surely would have made one into a blockbuster movie. My cousin and I, living in Philadelphia, would call his office in Hollywood and leave messages. We never heard back. However, when we wrote him a fan letter full of cut-out words from magazines, he wrote back – with words cut out of magazines! (You can see it on my website, Many years later, I worked for his company, Amblin Entertainment, but I only met him face-to-face one time, when I advised him against directing The Prince of Tides. (Barbra Streisand, who did direct it, should thank me – shouldn’t she?)

Movies, plays and TV figured largely in my childhood, I suppose, because the other spell I would’ve liked to cast would be to send myself to Fantasy Island. This was an hour-long television show where Mr. Roarke, a suave man in a white suit, would grant people’s wishes. The problem with the show was that something would always go wrong; the person would always end up in danger. Well, I didn’t want that. I wanted to take part in Star Wars – not be in the movie, but experience it for real, in outer space, having adventures with Luke Skywalker and Han Solo. But I would make a deal with Mr. Roarke beforehand. No danger, only fun.

However, if you cast a spell or make a wish and no unexpected circumstances arise, you don’t have a very good story, do you? If Cleo and Samantha’s spells didn’t cause trouble (for themselves and others), I wouldn’t have a book!  So maybe it’s best if I stay out of the magic business – unless I’m writing about it. Instead, I’m going to start working on my karaoke version of the disco song Car Wash. I may not be able to cast a spell, but I still need to entertain.

Thanks so much for stopping by Toni!

• • • • • • • • • • • 


Middle school can be tough, especially when you have to go to a new school. But what if there was a magic charm that gave the wearer popularity . . . that is, until the charm gets twisted. In THE POPULARITY SPELL Cleo Nelson just started sixth grade at a new school, where all the kids seem a lot cooler and older than her. But luckily she becomes fast friends with Samantha. So when a mysterious gift arrives in the mail, Cleo can’t wait to share the voodoo doll with Sam. But as the charms get bigger, the girls start to realize that happy charms can be twisted. . .

Find the book:

Find Toni:


  1. It looks like a really sweet read, thanks for sharing!

  2. This sounds like a fun read for middle graders for sure!
    And I'm also a HUGE Charmed fan! I feel like once I get a TV for my new place, a re-watch of some Charmed seasons might be in order!

  3. Love this Jenny. It was only last week that you and I both mentioned Charmed. Haha. I loved Charmed, I think I would want Piper's powers. What about you? ;P Great guest post. :)

  4. This sounds like the perfect blend of magic, fun, and friendship! I'm a former Charmed friend too - and I wont say how long ago either, lol. I'm looking at the cover and smiling at that cute, ugly little voodoo doll she holding - so cute. Thanks for sharing a great MG title to keepmin mind.
    Hope you have a wonderful weekend, Jenny :)

  5. Aww that cover is adorable and the book sounds so cute too! :)
    Ha! I wish I could sing too, but I'm thinking even a magic spell can't help my ogre voice! ;)

  6. Ooo this sounds like such a cute and fun read! I think even I would love this! :P

    Have a great weekend Jenny!

  7. Hahah! I also sing...mostly in my head. Lip-singing is also one of my forte. So, yeah. :)

    Thanks for sharing!

  8. Fun ideas. I would go on the Goonies adventure since it takes place here in Oregon, I would also like to ride around in Doc Brown's Time Machine and go back and see my parents in the 60s. I will add this to my daughter's list of books. Thanks for the recommendation.

  9. Sounds cute and I loved Charmed as well.

    I know what you mean about Mr. Roarke. No danger darn it! :) Still sounds like fun and what a fun letter to get! :)

  10. This sounds delightful. I cannot wait until Sophia is old enough for this type of read. (of course Nonna will read it too)

  11. Haha that's funny about Steven Spielberg. What a cute, positive book.

  12. Thanks for your comments, everybody! I DO hope you'll enjoy the book. So far, even my grown-up friends are enjoying it.