The Divining Wand

Discovering authors beyond their pages…

What If….Therese Walsh, Holly LeCraw, and Alicia Bessette?

July 15, 2010 By: larramiefg Category: Authors' Favorites

What a day — or more — for a daydream in the summer heat of July. In fact it feels like the perfect time to wonder “what if” The Divining Wand possessed magical powers and could grant authors, who create their own magic with “what if,” the following two questions:

Based only on their writing, what author would you want to be?


If given the opportunity to have written ONE book in your lifetime, what would that title be?

~ Therese Walsh (The Last Will of Moira Leahy in Hardcover, The Last Will of Moira Leahy coming in Trade Paperback on August 3, 2010, also chosen as a TARGET BREAKOUT BOOK):

“Ray Bradbury. He’s simply brilliant.”

“The Wizard of Oz is a fantastical story with iconic characters. It’s inspired a classic film, unique spin-off novels, and even a Broadway play. Not to mention the millions of Halloween costumes…”

~ Holly LeCraw (The Swimming Pool):

“I’d want to be Virginia Woolf, and I’d want to have written To the Lighthouse.”

~ Alicia Bessette (Simply from Scratch coming August 5, 2010):

“LM Montgomery & Le Petit Prince.”

* * * * *

What of Our Debut Authors, Ivy Pochoda and Therese Walsh?

October 20, 2009 By: larramiefg Category: Uncategorized

Five weeks ago today, Ivy Pochoda became a debut author when The Art of Disappearing appeared on bookstore shelves. And, although the day before the novel’s release The Divining Wand posted — Ivy Pochoda’s The Art of Disappearing –, it was Ivy’s own post, Let the Games Begin written on the same day, that really tells her story.

Yes it’s all about a dream coming true after years on a journey of writing, finding an agent, selling the manuscript and publishing THE book. Yet have you ever wondered what happens next? How about more hard work and a chaotic schedule. Here’s a note from Ivy received a few days ago:

“Hi there.

This has been a crazy month. The readings, the reviews, and rest of it have been superb. I’m heading into my last leg of appearances until the New Year, so I thought I’d send out the dates. If you, or someone you know, might be interested in attending, I’d love to see you!”

For those fortunate to either live or be visiting Massachusetts and Vermont this week, you might want to stop in at one of these book readings/signings:

Today, October 20th, 2009 — 7:00 pm
Reading at Porter Square Books
Porter Square Shopping Center
25 White Street
Cambridge, MA

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009 — 7:00 pm
Reading at Norwich Bookstore
Norwich Square
291 Main Street
Norwich, VT

Thursday, October 22nd, 2009 — 7:00 pm
Reading at Northshire Bookstore
4869 North Main Street
Manchester Center, VT

For the rest of us there’s WritersCast, the voice of writing that offers Ivy Pochoda: The Art of Disappearing. Please do listen to this fascinating interview.

One week ago today, Therese Walsh became a debut author with the release of her novel, The Last Will of Moira Leahy. Again the day before the book appeared on store shelves The Divining Wand posted, Therese Walsh’s The Last Will of Moira Leahy, while Therese celebrated her day by writing a reflective post, over the weekend, entitled, How a debut novel affects its author.

Yesterday, Monday, 19, 2009, Therese launched her WOW! Women on Writing book blog tour at The Muffin and plans to travel the Internet for interviews and discussions from today, October 20th – Friday, November 13th. Simply scroll down the WOW post to view her blog stops for, at several of these sites, there will be a chance to win a copy of her novel.

Two different authors, two different novels and two different ways of debuting all poised toward one goal — another novel and a writing career! Remember them, read them, follow them and one day you’ll be able to say you “knew them when…”

Therese Walsh’s The Last Will of Moira Leahy

October 12, 2009 By: larramiefg Category: Book Presentations, Books

Naturally gifted as a writer, Therese Walsh is an even more giving storyteller. Consider that she first began writing storybooks for her children and, as they grew, those stories became more complex. A friend loved romance novels so Therese — as she told Jael McHenry — decided to write a love story about a guy and a girl and a peach pie. That was seven years ago and, somewhere between the second and third revision, Therese allowed her characters to take over, giving them the opportunity to tell their story. This finalized gift, The Last Will of Moira Leahy debuts tomorrow, October 13, 2009, and for every one of its readers this novel will be a most memorable present.

Unique for several reasons, this debut novel has earned praise from literary trade journals as well as Therese’s peers. These can be found on the News/Reviews page of the author’s website, including:

“Walsh’s debut is a magical, involving journey, one that mixes a compelling mystery from the past with a suspenseful search in the present.”
– Booklist

“Walsh’s debut seamlessly weaves together past and present. This tender tale of sisterhood, self-discovery, and forgiveness will captivate fans of contemporary women’s fiction.”
– Library Journal

“Walsh’s satisfying novel follows Maeve Leahy, a brilliant young professor, in her pursuit for answers about her family and herself. [She] ably shifts between Maeve’s current quest and flashbacks showing the twins as children, revealing little by little the story behind Maeve’s grief. . . . [A] pleasing blend of mystery, romance and the supernatural.”
– Publishers Weekly

Notice how each review tends to describe The Last Will of Moira Leahy in different genres? All are correct for Therese is the first to admit: “My manuscript wasn’t easy to categorize–women’s fiction/family saga melded with touches of mystery, psychological suspense and romance. The real wildcard component was the mythical realism, though.” But in her October 6th Interview with L.T. Suzuki, the author personifies her work, making it delightfully reasonable:

“If Last Will were a person, I’d say she has a women’s fiction heart but raided several genre closets. She snagged the ripped denims of mystery, muddy boots of family tragedy, a cloak of suspense, an eye patch of adventure, a little suede hat of romantic drama, and a sprinkling of mythical realism glitter.”

Ah, let’s not forget the glitter that the debut author has sprinkled into a universally appealing story. Here’s the Synopsis:

When Maeve Leahy lost her twin sister, Moira, to tragedy nearly a decade ago, she buried her adventurous spirit to become a workaholic professor of languages instead. Until one night at an auction when she wins something that reminds her of her carefree, piratical youth: a Javanese dagger called a keris. Days later, a book is nailed to her office door, followed by anonymous notes, one inviting her to Rome to learn more about the blade. Soon, she’ll learn that nothing can be taken at face value—including the face she’s been presenting to the world—and that the keris might play a role in slicing away her many self-protective layers, once and for all.


Rather than use a Book Trailer to provide a visual sneak peek at the novel, Therese offers readers Maeve Leahy’s Photo Journal and there’s also an Excerpt. In fact the author gives so much detailed research and background on her writing that exploring her website is almost like reading a story within a story. Indeed it’s wondrous and well worth checking out AFTER you’ve read the book. The links within this post are all you need for now.

Why? Because this Fairy Godmother wants you to be enchanted, enticed, and enlightened — just as I was — by falling into the pages and under the spell of Therese Walsh’s mesmerizing tale of twin sisters who haunted her to tell their story. Here are several of my thoughts and feelings:

Although The Last Will of Moira Leahy is totally believable, the novel can also be considered a most intriguing adult fairy tale. From the beginning there are the elements of location, the stark shores of Maine, and characters: a seemingly distant Mother, a Grandfather who spins yarns of adventure and bestows a magical weapon to twin sisters — identical but so different. A combination of all these factors, plus more, forms a story that provides fantasy, sorrow, romance and self-discovery.

The fact that this novel successfully works amidst several genres is likely because the author has grounded it in reality, mythical though it occasionally may be. There are no false notes, only stunned surprises, that are effortlessly woven between past and present events. As for the romance factor, it exists to a degree, however the truth is that this book tells a universal love story — both of sisterhood and self-acceptance. Still it is the ever-present keris that will undoubtedly enchant, enlighten, and perhaps even bring back childhood memories of a similar personal object imbued with power.

Therese Walsh’s debut also has its power — her writing/storytelling that will touch your heart and remind you to believe.

After almost four months of reading “mentions” about The Last Will of Moira Leahy, you can actually purchase a copy tomorrow.

Please DO because it’s just…

Book Giveaway: The Last Will of Moira Leahy will be given away in this week’s contest. To enter, leave a comment on this post describing an object that made your younger self feel powerful, brave, or invincible. The deadline for all entries is Wednesday evening at 7:00 p.m. EDT with the winner to be announced on Thursday’s post.

The Revealing of Therese Walsh

September 30, 2009 By: larramiefg Category: Profiles

If Therese Walsh’s name sounds familiar to regular TDW’s visitors, it should. For Therese is the about-to-be debut author of The Last Will of Moira Leahy, due in bookstores and shipped from online retailers on Tuesday, October 13, 2009. A full presentation of the novel is scheduled to be presented here on Monday, October 12th and — though this Fairy Godmother would like nothing more that to tell you all about it now — first let’s get to know Therese.

According to her website bio:

Therese is the co-founder of Writer Unboxed, a blog for writers about the craft and business of genre fiction. Before turning to fiction, she was a researcher and writer for Prevention magazine, and then a freelance writer. She’s had hundreds of articles on nutrition and fitness published in consumer magazines and online.

She has a master’s degree in psychology. Aside from writing, Therese’s favorite things include music, art, crab legs, Whose Line is it Anyway?, dark chocolate, photography, unique movies and novels, people watching, strong Irish tea, and spending time with her husband, two kids and their bouncy Jack Russell in upstate New York.

And now for the revealing of the real Therese Walsh.

Q: How would you describe your life in 8 words?
A: A continually evolving quest for the perfect balance.
Family – Writing – Laughter– Music – Friends – Education – Evolution – Chocolate

Q: What is your motto or maxim?
A: Worry about that bridge once you’re precariously balanced atop it.
There are no rules.

Q: How would you describe perfect happiness?
A: Being at peace with yourself and the world around you…in a hammock…with a great book in hand.

Q: What’s your greatest fear?
A: That something bad happens to one of my children.

Q: If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you choose to be?
A: New Zealand

Q: With whom in history do you most identify?
A: At the moment: Julia Child

Q: Which living person do you most admire?
A: Oh, too many to choose—from Paul Newman to Oprah to President Obama.

Q: What are your most overused words or phrases?
A: I begin many of my sentences with conjunctions. But I like them!

Q: What do you regret most?
A: Maybe I should regret not being a literature major! Really, though, I don’t regret much. Life is a journey, and I’m happy for the road I’ve taken.

Q: If you could acquire any talent, what would it be?
A: Calm despite any storm.

Q: What is your greatest achievement?
A: The three things I’ve born that I’m most proud of are my two children and my debut novel.

Q: What’s your best quality?
A: I’m persistent.

Q: What’s your greatest flaw?
A: I’m persistent.

Q: If you could be any person or thing, who or what would it be?
A: I don’t think I’d choose to be another person (devil-you-know rule), but I would choose to be the invisible friend to my childhood self and give her all sorts of guidance.

Q: What trait is most noticeable about you?
A: Oh, boy – maybe that I have dark hair and a witchy nose? I do not cackle but I do brew a mean cider.

Q: Who is your favorite fictional hero?
A: Christopher John Francis Boone from The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime

Q: Who is your favorite fictional villain?
A: Severus Snape (Harry Potter)

Q: If you could meet any athlete, who would it be and what would you say to him or her?
A: Joe Montana. I would admit to him that I wore black the day he retired, and then I would offer to shine his shoes.

Q: What is your biggest pet peeve?
A: The hallway light is always on. It must be a ghost as no human ever owns up to touching the switch—and my dog is too small to be considered a culprit.

Q: What is your favorite occupation, when you’re not writing?
A: Three: cooking, taking photographs, coaching kiddos

Q: What’s your fantasy profession?
A: To work with masseuses-in-training, offering my back, neck and shoulders at any time of the day or night for their educational benefit. (So selfless, I know.)

Q: What 3 personal qualities are most important to you?
A: Honesty, sense of humor, compassion

Q: If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your days, what would it be?
A: Wheat salad with lemon dressing and cilantro.

Q: What are your 5 favorite songs?
A: This is almost impossible for me to answer! Here are some I love: King of Birds by R.E.M., 
Fields of Gold as sung by the late, great Eva Cassidy, 
I Won by The Sundays, 
Uninvited by Alanis Morissette, 
Strings of Love by Edie Brickell & New Bohemians

Q: What are your 5 favorite books of all time?
A: Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime by Mark Haddon, The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

Beyond those, things get fuzzy; there are so many great books out there. I recently read a book called The Wishing Box by Dashka Slater that I adored.

How totally natural and charming? If you wish to learn more about Therese please do follow her on Twitter and friend her on Facebook.

[Note: Leave a comment on Jessica Barksdale Inclán’s The Beautiful Beingpost by this evening at 7:00 p.m. EDT and you’ll have a chance to win one of three sets of Jessica’s trilogy in this week’s Giveaway.]

The Truth of a Fortune Cookie

June 23, 2009 By: larramiefg Category: Advance News, Books

As a researcher and writer for Prevention magazine, and then as a freelance writer, Therese Walsh’s byline has appeared on hundreds of articles on nutrition and fitness published in consumer magazines and online. However, on October 13, 2009 — now less than four months away –, Therese will become a novelist with the debut of The Last Will of Moira Leahy. Is this a dream come true? Well, actually, it’s her fortune cookie prophecy coming true!

On international bestseller author M.J. Rose’s blog, Backstory (“Where authors share secrets, truths, logical and illogical moments that sparked their fiction or memoirs.”), the debut author confessed all in her June 19th post, Therese Walsh’s Backstory. Hmm, and may it be also noted that she has a master’s degree in psychology? 😉

It’s possible to tease here because of the great buzz already describing Moira Leahy. In fact please visit news/reviews on Therese’s website and then wander through truly magical pages that hint at and share parts of the story.

Therese Walsh and her novel will be revisited again in upcoming posts over the next months for what could be better or more exciting than choosing a debut author as a friend? And for those readers who wish to pre-order The Last Will of Moira Leahy now, you may do so at any one of these online stores: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Borders, IndieBound.