Cindy Callaghan treats tweens to a second print run of ‘Just Add Magic’





Posted Jul 03, 2011 @ 08:00 AM

Brandywine Hundred, Del. —

Ribs and hotdogs aren’t the only things cooking this summer.

First-time author Cindy Callaghan’s smoking ‘tween title, “Just Add Magic,” which is sold at for $5.99, has already commanded a second printing.

Here are a few things to know about Callaghan and her hit book.

1. Magical adventure. Take three friends. Add an old cookbook. Combine with handsome boys and a pinch of magic, then see what kind of chaos ensues in “Just Add Magic.”

When Kelly Quinn and her two best friends discover a mysterious cookbook while cleaning out the attic, the girls decide to try some of the strange, and supposedly magical, recipes from the book. The girls form a secret cooking club. To their surprise, the Keep ’Em Quiet Cobbler actually silences Kelly’s pesky little brother and the Hexberry Tart puts a curse on Charlotte, the mean girl.

All of this bizarre activity begs the question: what kind of trouble are the girls stirring up for themselves?

2. How it started. About four years ago, Callaghan’s eldest daughter, Ellie, who was nine at the time, invited a few friends over to bake a cake. The girls put their creative minds together and began to experiment with various ingredients they found around the house, adding marshmallows, chocolate chips and food coloring to the cake.

While observing the girls, Callaghan began to wonder what would happen if they assembled their own secret cooking club. From there she wanted to know why the club would be a secret.
Before long, more ideas about the secret club began to pop into her head. In a matter of six weeks, she “frantically and furiously” wrote the original rough draft for “Just Add Magic.” She would spend the next three years revising the draft.

3. Friendship & karma. In addition to the magical aspect of the book, Callaghan mentioned that the story has two prominent themes: friendship and karma.

Recognizing that 13-year-olds typically begin to grow apart and make new friends, since their interests change, she made sure her characters remained close throughout the story.

On another note, while the girls are creating chaos with the magic cookbook, the author reveals that they also receive a taste of their own medicine.

“If you’re going to dish something out to someone, prepare to get it back,” Callaghan said.

4. Encore. Considering “Just Add Magic” is Callaghan’s first published book, the author is “thrilled” that it’s receiving a second print run. In addition to the recipes that readers can make from the book, she attributes the success of “Just Add Magic” to the public appearances she’s made at local schools, including visits to Lombardy Elementary and Ursuline Academy.

“Every time I go, I’m just amazed at the warm reception I get from the kids and teachers,” she said. “The amount of kindness and general interest in books, writing and reading has been wonderful.”

5. What’s next? Callaghan plans to write a sequel for “Just Add Magic,” but, right now, it’s “on the back burner,” she said. In the meantime, she has ideas for two more projects aimed at ‘tween girls. Release dates for both projects are to be determined.

“The Haunting of Sydney McKenzie” is a title about a girl from California who relocates to the south, and her new house is located on a cemetery… which just happens to be haunted.

The second book is titled “Lucky Me,” and tells the story of a girl who receives a chain letter that brings her “terrible, bad luck,” Callaghan said. To reverse the bad luck, the girl needs to follow the links of the chain back to where it was created in Ireland.

Spread the love