Wednesday, February 08, 2012

An Exclusive Interview with John Bolen, Author of “Aurelia’s Magic”

What is Aurelia's Magic about?

What child hasn’t dreamed of how much easier it will be when he or she is an adult? Parents can’t tell you what to do, and you can do whatever in the whole wide world you want. Aurelia, age 14, is like others of that age who cannot wait to be an adult, when she comes upon Seavus, a fairy, who can grant her that wish by accelerating time. But soon, after wishing for time to accelerate whenever she faces difficulties, her life frantically races by as she moves from one misadventure to the next.

How did you get the idea for this book?

Our youngest son announced that he no longer wanted to order the children’s meals at restaurants. Dealing with the cost of raising four children, my wife and I truly appreciated the reduced price of the kids’ meals. However, we understood the feelings that the youngest of the four was going through, having been the youngest in both of our families. This led me to the thought of how often we dream of how much easier things in our lives will be later on; how much easier when the kids will be grown; how much easier when they are earning their own way. But then we regret how fast time races by, and wish that we could recapture that time when we were young, when our children were young.

Is this your first book?

This is my second published book of prose. The first is Nothing for Christmas & Other Holiday Tales, a collection of short stories (paperback & Kindle editions available on Amazon). Your readers should know that, even though several of these stories are appropriate for younger children, some deal with more mature themes such as war and suicide and are more appropriate for teens or older.

I began writing as a playwright in 1998, and my plays have been published and produced in theatres across the U.S.A. Aurelia’s Magic as a novel is adapted from my children’s stageplay of the same name (paperback and e-book editions available from There have been productions of this play on stage and television, and a radioplay adaptation was produced in San Francisco and broadcast by 111 stations across the country on the National Public Radio system.

When did you start writing? Do you have any advice for beginning writers?

I am an actor by profession, and in 1998 a stage director friend convinced me to act in an original stageplay being readied for a move to the New York stage. Throughout the run of the play, I kept thinking to myself, “I can write better than this.” I felt that if I should have such thoughts, I had better put up or shut up. Beginning with plays was the natural step for me, as I have studied hundreds of plays and performed in dozens of productions. Prose is something I have tackled in the last three years. The production of a play involves the collaboration of many artists: designers, a director, multiple actors. But in prose, I get to create the settings, the sounds, the costumes, that is, the whole world in which the novel takes place. The only collaboration is that of author and reader together.

My advice to writers is to push aside the fears you have; the fear of tackling that first sentence; the fear of opening up the hidden you inside.

Why did you decide to write a book in this genre?

My wife and I have four children and for fifteen years I participated with our kids, when they were young, in the Indian Guide and Indian Princess programs here in Southern California. Being the ham that I am, I took the positions of the tribal and nation Medicine Man (the storyteller). I studied numerous stories from Native American cultures across our nation. Then I would tell these tales in my own words. I learned quickly to never talk down to children (I see this way too often in storytellers), and to be very entertaining, for they are the toughest audience. If it works, they are the most delightful audience. In writing Aurelia’s Magic, I really wanted to get back to the great feeling those young audiences gave me.

Do you plan a sequel or future books?

I feel I have told Aurelia’s story, so no sequels. However, I may revisit the character of the oddball fairy Seavus again. I truly enjoy his funny, antic manner.

My play, A Song for Me, or Getting the Oscar, is part of the anthology Best American Short Plays 2010-2011 (Applause Theatre Books/Hal Leonard Publishing) coming out in August, 2012. Inclusion in this series, the standard of excellence for one-act plays in America for over 70 years, is exciting because my writing will now be reaching literary, playwriting and acting students across the land.

I am always working on several things at a time, and I am just finishing a new one act play. I have also started a full length play, and bit by bit I keep adding new stories to a short story collection.

How can we order this book?

Aurelia’s Magic is available in paperback and Kindle editions exclusively at


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