Author Interview – Corey Ann Haydu


One Jar of Magic

Written by Corey Ann Haydu

Publisher’s Synopsis: Magic is like a dream. Delightful. Terrifying. Unreal.

Rose Alice Anders is Little Luck. Lucky to be born into the Anders family. Lucky to be just as special and magical as the most revered man in town—her father. The whole town has been waiting for Rose to turn twelve, when she can join them in their annual capturing of magic on New Year’s Day and become the person she was born to be.

But when that special day finally comes, Rose barely captures one tiny jar of magic. Now Rose’s dad won’t talk to her anymore and her friendships have gotten all twisted and wrong. So when Rose hears whispers that there are people who aren’t meant for magic at all, she begins to wonder if that’s who she belongs with.

Maybe if she’s away from all the magic, away from her dad telling her who she’s meant to be, who she has to be, Rose can begin to piece together what’s truly real in a world full of magic.

Ages 8-12 | 352 Pages | Publisher: HarperCollins | ISBN-13: 9780062689856






Corey Ann Haydu is the author of Eventown, The Someday Suitcase, and Rules for Stealing Stars and four acclaimed books for teens. She grew up in the Boston area, earned her MFA at the New School, and now lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her dog Oscar.


When did you first know you wanted to be an author?

I was always busy with writing, from a very young age. I wrote a book with my best friend when we were little, and kept journals for years and years, filled with observations and feelings, but also stories sometimes too. But it was always a back-burner pursuit for me, since I was sure I was going to be an actress. That was my main focus, and I was certain that was my best way to be a storyteller. I went to college for theatre, and for five years out of school was busy trying to make that my career. But slowly I realized that acting felt like a distraction from what I enjoyed most, which was writing. It was always a more natural fit for me, a place I had more comfort and understanding and as soon as I embraced that, my world really opened up. It had been so hard to get my acting career started, and writing is a tough path, too, but it was so clear it was my path in a way that acting wasn’t. As soon as I switched my focus, doors opened up and it was clear I was in the right place. Still, I wouldn’t trade those actor years for anything! They gave me such great training for being a writer! 

When you are not writing, what other hats do you wear? What do you do for fun?

My main other hat is that of a mom. I have an almost-three-year-old daughter, and juggling my writer self with my parents self is a tricky job. Luckily, she loves books and gives me lots of inspiration for my own work, too. The other big hat I wear is of a teacher. I teach at VCFA’s Writing for Children MFA program, and it is one of the most fulfilling and exciting parts of my life. I love helping other writers figure out how to write their stories and find their voices. It helps my writing too! For fun, I love yoga and cooking and watching ridiculous reality TV shows like The Bachelor. I’d love to find more hobbies—as a fervent sweater lover, knitting seems like a natural way for me to both get more sweaters and listen to more podcasts (…about The Bachelor. Or writing!), but I haven’t made the space for trying something new like that recently. 

What is your favorite genre to read? What about that genre draws you?

I read really widely, honestly. I like reading about relationships– complicated friendships and epic family sagas and tense romantic relationships– that’s what I read for. Luckily, there are fascinating relationships across all age categories and genres, so I read magical middle grade and dystopian YA and contemporary adult literary fiction and all kinds of graphic novels and novels in verse and even non-fiction. I don’t have a favorite genre, just favorite books! 

What historical figure do you admire and why?

There are so many, of course! But I recently read the non-fiction middle grade book, BORN TO FLY, and was so inspired by the women pilots featured there. I think, particularly as a woman, it’s sometimes hard to imagine yourself doing things that you haven’t seen other women do before, in your own life or even out in the wider world sometimes. I know how easy it is to feel limited by that. That they had the courage and imagination and belief in themselves to pursue that male-dominated path is inspiring to me. It’s why I admire the women like Shirley Chisholm and Hilary Clinton and all the other women over the years who have run for president, having no role model for what that would ultimately look like. And Kamala Harris, becoming VP and pioneering that role as a woman. There is risk and fear and hope in being the first, and I honor and admire that so much. 

Who did you have in mind as you wrote the book?

You know, I’m not sure if I have a specific person in mind. I certainly think about myself when I was younger—what mattered to me, what confused me, what hurt me. And I think about the students I’ve met with over the years– what they have responded to, what questions they ask, what resonates with them and in what ways I want them to know they are not alone. But when I’m really deeply in the writing, I’m mostly just thinking of the story. If I think too much about readers, I get distracted and can’t stay in the honest truth of the story. I want to write from a vulnerable and imperfect place, and to do that, I often have to quiet out the rest of the world. 

As a former K-12 school librarian, I have to ask, what is your favorite children’s book?

This is so hard! THE GIVER has always, always been a favorite of mine, and a little bit of it was read at my wedding, even. I also loved Julie Edwards (who is, in fact, actress Julie Andrews!) growing up. Her books, MANDY and THE LAST OF THE REALLY GREAT WHANGDOODLES really resonated with me and mattered to me, and I was especially in love with how she was an actress and a writer– since at the time I was pursuing acting with a quiet love of writing too. Lastly, in ninth grade, I read THE HOUSE ON MANGO STREET by Sandra Cisneros, and it really shifted my whole understanding of storytelling. I loved the smallness of the moments chosen to tell that story, and how if you sink deeply into small moments, that’s the most important part of creating a connection with the reader.  I had never read a book like that, and it liberated me from the idea that there’s only one very traditional and straightforward way to tell a story.

What advice would you give to a child or teen who wants to be a writer? 

Read! Keep a journal! Those are my two biggest pieces of advice, and how I found myself here. I kept a journal starting at age 8, and I was diligent about writing in it. I think it honed my ability to see the world through writing, and to be open in my writing. I developed my honesty there, and my embrace of flaws and ugliness and difficulty and secret thoughts and feelings.

Find out more at


Enter for a chance to win a set of books by Corey Ann Haydu, including One Jar of Magic.

One (1) grand prize winner receives:

  • A hardcover copy of One Jar of Magic
  • A hardcover copy of Eventown
  • A hardcover copy of The Someday Suitcase
  • A hardcover copy of Rules for Stealing Stars

Four (4) winners receive:

  • A hardcover copy of One Jar of Magic

The giveaway begins February 9, 2021, at 12:01 A.M. MT and ends March 8, 2021, at 11:59 P.M. MT.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This post was prepared in partnership with The Children’s Book Review and HarperCollins Publishers.

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