Deborah Kreiser’s genies aren’t trapped in bottles. In fact, they aren’t trapped by conventional norms at all – well, as conventional as it can be for a genie.
“In my world, genies pick their own masters, and no, they do not have lamps,” said Kreiser.
Kreiser’s upcoming novel Three Wishes, coming from Astraea Press on April 15th, follows seventeen-year-old Genie Lowery as she finds that there’s more to her name than she first thought. It has everything you could hope for in a contemporary fantasy: magic and high school and superpowers and attractive boys.
“Let’s just say Pete is smoking hot and one of the most popular guys in the whole school. Genie can’t believe her good luck in getting his attention.”
Of course, Kreiser didn’t just take genies and stick them in her story with no research. She re-read 1,001 Arabian Nights and commentaries on it as well as reading As You Wish by Jackson Pearce, the Children of the Lamp series by P.B. Kerr, and the Bartimaeus trilogy by Jonathan Stroud alongside articles on genies.
“And then I kind of took artistic license, much in the same way I Dream of Jeannie was nothing like the actual mythology on genies. As a kid I always watched I Dream of Jeannie when I stayed home sick from school. I was fascinated by her beauty and by her ability to grant wishes. What I didn’t like, even when I was younger, was how submissive she was to her master. So, when I was thinking about ideas for a book, I considered what it would be like for a semi-normal girl to go through a sudden transformation into the ‘bombshell’ genie look.”
Like most of the human population, Kreiser did not discover that she was a genie in high school, and so went through life on a much more normal track. She attended Vassar College, where she rowed crew and studied history. Vassar College, a beautiful campus that looks like Hogwarts packed into a tiny New York town, helped her discover her passion for writing.
“Although I majored in history, I took a number of amazing English classes that really opened up my mind and helped me develop my analytical and writing skills.”
But, of course, America isn’t the only place with inspiring views. Kreiser studied abroad in Ireland for one semester – and then two – and the she returned after she graduated college.
“You could feel the history and the stories soaked deep into the ageless hills there. I lived in a small town in Connemara, on the west coast, where the same families had lived for countless generations.”
One day Kreiser will write a book set there, but the right story hasn’t struck her yet. Until it does, she’ll do what she does best: write and help aspiring writers. Kreiser currently interns with Inklings Literary Agency and works with the Reading With Me program from Spencer Hill Press. At Inklings, she reads and provides feedback on manuscripts; at Reading With Me, she learns how to use social media as a promotional tool.
“My number one advice to writers is to become active on Twitter. Not to waste time – though it’s easy to do, as I well know – but to follow other authors, publishers, editors, agents, readers, and bloggers, who can help guide you through the whole process. There’s a ton of information out there that just gets handed to you – if you’re out there looking for it.”
Kreiser currently has a few works-in-progress, but the one she is working most actively on is tentatively called A Pox on Both Your Houses, a modern retelling of Romeo and Juliet set in Washington D.C. and told from the point-of-views from the of Paris and Rosaline.