Amazon Prime Conjures More of Cindy Callaghan's 'Just Add Magic'

WILMINGTON, Del., Jan. 10, 2018 /PRNewswire/ Delaware author Cindy Callaghan, by her own admission, was not an enthusiastic childhood reader.

It's a little ironic, then, that through her tween-centric novels beginning with "Just Add Magic," she's been able to get reluctant pre-teen readers to devour her chapter books and come back looking for more.

"More" has included six additional tween novels the five volumes of the mega-popular "Lost In" books and the spooky mystery tale "Sydney Mackenzie Knocks Em Dead" as well as the successful Amazon Prime TV adaptation of "Just Add Magic," which begins its third season on the streaming service Jan. 19.

In "Just Add Magic," main character Kelly Quinn and her two friends discover a dusty old cookbook while cleaning out her attic. When the girls decide to try a few of the mysterious recipes inside, they realize that their dishes are linked to strange occurrences.

"The show has been amazingly successful and has reached lots of potential readers," Callaghan says. "I'm so glad reluctant readers are getting exposed to it, and by extension the book and the gift of reading."

In fact, she says, she frequently hears during school visits, via personal fan email, and through comments on Amazon.com that the TV show has inspired pre-teens to seek out her books when they would have otherwise been reluctant to read at all.

"They're appreciative that their children have gotten involved in reading as a result of seeing the show," Callaghan says.

In August, the long-awaited sequel to "Just Add Magic" will finally hit shelves. "Potion Problems" follows Kelly Quinn and her friends as they try to retrieve the missing magical cookbook, save a beloved local store, and rescue their school's cooking program, due to be eliminated thanks to budget cuts.

A New Jersey native (she grew up in Franklin Lakes and is a graduate of Indian Hills High School in Oakland) and Delawarean since 1990, the University of Delaware undergrad and masters graduate frequently uses a fictionalized version of Wilmington, Del., and other areas in the state as settings for her novels.

"What I like about using Delaware is that it's representative of a lot of suburban areas across the country," she says. "In 'Sydney MacKenzie Knocks 'Em Dead,' I created the sleepy Delaware town of Buttermilk River Cove. The mystery of BRC is rooted in actual Delaware history. I'd tell you more, but I don't want to spoil it."

When it comes to writing, she's inspired to create similar stories to those that initially inspired her. Though much of her high school and undergraduate reading fell under the "required" category, she discovered a love of fast-paced thrillers by authors like Michael Connelly and John Grisham. Her goal with her own books is to bring that same sense of page-turning intensity to tween fiction.

"I love page-turners, and I believe that style resonates with tweens growing up in a click-bait culture. That is, they're always lured to the next thing. In this case, I lure them to turn the page."

What's next for Callaghan? To follow the paperback launch of "Sydney MacKenzie Knocks 'Em Dead" in March, and the "Potion Problems" release in August, Callaghan is already drafting her 2019 release from Simon & Schuster, "Saltwater Summers," set at the Jersey Shore, another place Callaghan holds dear to her heart. While penning that ninth novel, she's submitting fresh concepts to both publishers and studios, hoping to strike the next deal.

Fast Facts

  • Before transferring to the University of Delaware, Callaghan studied at the University of Southern California with aspirations of becoming a film writer. When possible, she catches a Trojan game while in L.A. for business.
  • Her college roommate recommended the film agent who sealed the "Just Add Magic" deal with Amazon.
  • Before writing professionally, Callaghan had a full-time, high-pressure career in the pharmaceutical industry for nearly 20 years.
  • In her novel "Lost in Paris," the protagonist is from Philadelphia's Main Line, a shout-out to the appreciative audiences she encountered during a school visit there.
  • For more about Cindy Callaghan, visit www.cindycallaghan.com.

Contact: Scott Pruden, 610-453-1669, scottpruden@gmail.com

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SOURCE Cindy Callaghan

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