Inspiration and Magic by Tracy Holczer
What was the inspiration for The Secret Hum of a Daisy?
A couple of months ago, my editor asked me to write a letter and I addressed this. I’d like to share what I wrote.
“When I was eight years old, I had a porcelain statue named Mary that I believed was magic. I believed this for the simple reason that, over time, she had fallen off my windowsill and my nightstand and out of my hands and didn’t so much as have a scratch.
Before you go judging me for believing in magic, just keep in mind that I was eight. And nervous. And an only child who hadn’t seen her dad in a while. So, I needed something to ward off the bad dreams and the evil monsters lurking beneath my bed. The statue did the trick and I wish I could say that was that.
But it wouldn’t be a good story unless there was a tragedy.
One day, after carefully wrapping Mary with an entire newspaper, I brought my giant wad to school for show and tell. I met up with Darla on the playground who didn’t believe Mary was magic. So I told her I could prove it.
As a crowd of kids gathered, I lifted Mary above my head and threw her to the ground where she shattered into a million pieces. There was a stunned silence as we all stared down at the flattened newspaper with small shards of glass leaking from the seams . Mary was beyond repair.
So was my…everything. I didn’t know what to do when I lost Mary. She kept me from having to face the loss I’d experienced when I couldn’t see my dad, and everything else that goes along with divorce. I was angry and gave up on believing in magic. I stayed that way for a long time.
When I came to writing, I wanted to capture that story, but The Secret Hum of a Daisy came out instead. What didn’t change was who I wrote it for—my eight-year-old self. I wanted her to have some closure. I also figured there would be lots of other readers who might have had something shatter in their lives and need assurance that they will find a way to put their pieces back together.
We are not as fragile as we think, and neither is magic.”
Tracy Holczer lives in Southern California with her husband, three daughters, and two rather fluffy dogs named Buster and Molly. She has a deep love for the mountains where she grew up so she writes them into her stories. A 2014 Indies Introduce New Voices pick and Indie Next pick, her debut middle grade novel, The Secret Hum of a Daisy, was written in praise of both nature and family, and all that can be found if you’re willing to hunt for treasure. It was published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons in May, 2014 and is forthcoming by Konigskinder/Carlsen in Germany 2015. Also forthcoming from Putnam and Carlsen is her second novel, The Natural History of Samantha Rossi in Summer, 2016. You can find her online at http://www.tracyholczer.com/ and on Twitter as @TracyHolczer.
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