My first novel, No More Magic, had its origins in my son’s eighth birthday party. At the time, I was living in Lambertville, New Jersey, a charming old 19th century town, the birthplace of James Marshall, the man who, in 1848, first discovered gold on Sutter’s Ranch in California. Situated on the Delaware River, Lambertville was where the iron rims for gun carriage wheels were manufactured for the Union forces during the Civil War. The point is the typography of No More Magic is Lambertville. Indeed, there is a fair amount of my family life that appears in the book.
My son Shaun was fascinated—as were his friends—with superheroes. For his July birthday that year, we decided to have a superhero party. The eight or so kids would dress up as their own favorite super-hero, and then we would film (borrowed 8 mm camera) a story of Shaun’s invention.
We would do this in a local park.
So it was that the kids assembled that birthday afternoon in a variety of hodge-podge costumes, mostly masked, mostly caped, all excited. For reasons never explained, one was dressed as Snoopy.
Mikey—one of the boys—came dressed as the Green Lantern—complete with a green ring, the Green Lantern’s magic ring.
The usual congenial chaos ensued, until at some point Mikey approached me. “Avi, I lost my ring,” said he.
I, assuming it was a piece of dime-store costume jewelry said, “Is that a big problem?”
The filming ended. The superheroes—and their guardians—now searched the thick green grass for a green ring. It was never found.
But a plot for a book—No More Magic—was found. The book went on to be nominated for an Edgar, which is to say the best juvenile mystery of the year. I did not win, but there it was, my first novel had an award nomination. In short, despite the title, a lot of magic.