The time it was about The Secret Ingredient of Wishes

Posted September 1, 2016 by Stacee in Interviews | 10 Comments

As I’ve said several times, I “met” Susan on Twitter years ago.  We’ve talked a lot and I am huge fan of her words.  So when she ever so nicely sent me an arc of The Secret Ingredients of Wishes and I devoured it, I pretty much begged her asked for an interview.

And she said yes! Before we get to her answers, let’s check out the book.

1226-year-old Rachel Monroe has spent her whole life trying to keep a very unusual secret: she can make wishes come true. And sometimes the consequences are disastrous. So when Rachel accidentally grants an outlandish wish for the first time in years, she decides it’s time to leave her hometown—and her past—behind for good.

Rachel isn’t on the road long before she runs out of gas in a town that’s not on her map: Nowhere, North Carolina—also known as the town of “Lost and Found.” In Nowhere, Rachel is taken in by a spit-fire old woman, Catch, who possesses a strange gift of her own: she can bind secrets by baking them into pies. Rachel also meets Catch’s neighbor, Ashe, a Southern gentleman with a complicated past, who makes her want to believe in happily-ever-after for the first time in her life.

As she settles into the small town, Rachel hopes her own secrets will stay hidden, but wishes start piling up everywhere Rachel goes. When the consequences threaten to ruin everything she’s begun to build in Nowhere, Rachel must come to terms with who she is and what she can do, or risk losing the people she’s starting to love—and her chance at happiness—all over again.

Sounds good, right? {Hint: I loved it}


1. Please give the elevator pitch for The Secret Ingredient of Wishes.

The Secret Ingredient of Wishes combines the Southern charm of Sarah Addison Allen novels with the whimsy of Pushing Daisies. It’s full of magic—wishes that appear out of thin air on strips of paper and come true moments later, secrets that are baked into pies, and a town that is a living lost and found. It’s a story of regrets that can’t simply be wished away, strangers that become family, and the possibility of happily-ever-after. And for Rachel Monroe, getting lost in Nowhere, North Carolina just might lead her to a place to call home.

2. Where did the idea come from?

The first few lines popped into my head randomly at work one day. When I wrote them down, all I knew was that the main character could make wishes come true and something terrible had happened that made her scared of using her ability. From there, the idea grew into this weird mash-up of Pushing Daisies (magical pie FTW!) and Hart of Dixie (quirky Southern town with a girl who desperately wants to fit into small-town life and a hot love interest who was a mix of Dixie’s Wade Kinsella and Lost’s Sawyer).

3. Why do you love Rachel and why should we root for her?

I love Rachel because despite wishing her brother out of existence when they were kids, she refuses to let him go. If she had just let herself forget him like everyone else did, she might have been able to have a normal, happy life. A life where her dad didn’t split and her mom didn’t kill herself and Rachel didn’t think twice about letting people into her heart. But she owns her mistake—and all of the heartache and guilt that comes with it—and is determined to get her brother back one day no matter how impossible it seems.

4. You have a lot of great characters in this book.  Who was the easiest and the hardest to work with and why?

Aww, thank you! Hands down, Catch was the easiest (and most fun) to write. She came to me fully formed, with her nicknames for people and her gruffness and take-no-crap attitude. She demanded attention in a way no other character I had written ever had. I’m not surprised she’s most people’s favorite too. As for the hardest, probably Rachel. Her character went through multiple evolutions before I got her right. Initially, she was standoffish and angry at the world and possibly batshit crazy. But I had all these other loveable characters that showed her up big time. That’s the worst thing to have happen to a main character. So I spent a lot of time learning who she really was and how that changed the story I was telling.

5. Without spoilers, what was your favorite scene to write?

Ooh, one of my favorite scenes is one where Rachel and Catch are picking fruit off the trees in the back yard. It’s a quiet scene but the magic in it wasn’t planned. So when the trees all of a sudden started acting strange, it opened up a whole new subplot with the plum tree and really made the world I was building come alive. I also really love the whole BBQ festival scene. It’s flirty and fun and has some good (I think!) twists.

Speed [ish] round:

1. You get the call/email/letter that says you’re being published for the first time. Describe the next 5 minutes.

I was on a conference call at work when my agent called me. I knew that an editor was pretty interested in WISHES so not being able to answer that call was so. damn. hard. Patricia immediately emailed me and said I needed to call her asap. Then I had to spend the next half hour or so focused on the day job. But once I got to call her back, I think I was more stunned than anything. I’d only been on submission to editors for four days so I was not at all expecting to get an offer that quickly. It was an amazing feeling.

2. What three things would you take to a desert island?

I’d love to be practical and say I’d take a machete, a lighter and a satellite phone, but nope. I’d take an iPod, a book, and some sunscreen. If I’m on an island, I’m going to enjoy it.

3. You can only read one book for the rest of your life. What is it?

How am I supposed to answer this??? Can I refuse to answer? I’m gonna refuse to answer. That’s not allowed, is it? Okay, fine. The Weight of Feathers by Anna-Marie McLemore. It’s magical and stunning and will never stop stealing my heart.

4. Who is your favorite book boyfriend and book BFF?

These questions are impossible to answer. There are just so many characters (and books) I love. But for favorite book boyfriend, I’m going with Jared Lynburn from Sarah Rees Brennan’s The Lynburn Legacy series. And for BFF, I’m going a little unconventional and picking Ronan Lynch from Maggie Stiefvater’s The Raven Cycle series. Why, yes, they are both tortured souls and snarky and badass and fiercely loyal.

5. What is the one thing about publishing you wish someone would have told you?

Oh, man, I really wish someone had told me that writing books doesn’t get easier. I thought once I had a few under my belt, I’d writer faster and the stories would just flow. But for me, it seems to be the opposite. Don’t get me wrong, some aspects are easier now, but overall, I’ve learned so much with every book I’ve written that I’m taking more time with each draft to get it right and not make the same mistakes I did before. And some days trying to get it right is daunting. And it’s scary. But that’s how I know the book I’m working on is a story I need to tell.

6. You wake up and discover you are Bella in Twilight. You know how it plays out. What do you do differently? {Huge thanks to Bookish Broads for letting me use this question}

As much as I loved these books when I first read them (and believe me, I had all the feels for Edward!), if I woke up as Bella I’d hightail it out of there and find a nice, warm beach somewhere. I’d find a way to take Charlie with me, because let’s face it, he’s a pretty damn good dad, but the rest of the drama from Forks could stay up there. I don’t need sparkly vampires or hulked-out werewolves to be my measure of self-worth. (I’d definitely keep the movie soundtrack though.)


7257289Susan Bishop Crispell is not one of those writers who’s been scribbling down stories since she could hold a pencil. She didn’t read constantly growing up (blasphemy!), and she can still be found in public without a book tucked into her purse (again with the blasphemy!). She is, however, the kind of writer who lives for the imaginative spark that introduces her to a new character or story idea that pushes her to turn everyday life into something magical.

She is the author of THE SECRET INGREDIENT OF WISHES (Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin’s Press, 9/6/2016), and THE PROBABILITY OF FATE (Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin’s Press, 2017). Susan lives and writes near Wilmington, NC with her husband and their two literary-named cats.


Huge thanks to Susan for letting me badger her into doing an interview.  Make sure you’re checking out her website, following her on Twitter, liking her Facebook page, and adding her books to your Goodreads TBR shelf!

The Secret Ingredient of Wishes releases 9/6. Pre-order at: Indiebound | Barnes & Noble | Amazon | TBD

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10 responses to “The time it was about The Secret Ingredient of Wishes

  1. I had to break down and buy this book! I was looking for a September new release so thanks for sharing. I like the pushing daisies reference. I loved that show! Thanks for sharing and great interview.

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