Interview with Maria Elena Sandovici, Author of Magic Lessons for Margo

20 Feb 2024

What’s the story behind the story? What inspired you to write Magic Lessons for Margo?

A few years ago, I wrote a naughty little mystery novel about an overly sophisticated and somewhat obnoxious sixteen-year-old orphan who pretends to be a grown woman in order to find out why her parents died. That book, The Adventures of Miss Vulpe, is a quick read, and while the ending offers resolution, it does leave readers wanting more.

One reader asked what the story would have looked like filtered through the perspective of the protagonist’s older sister. I realized that the sister, Margo, deserved a book of her own. Magic Lessons for Margo, however, is a novel that can be read entirely on its own, or either before or after The Adventures of Miss Vulpe. While that story certainly inspired this one, I made sure that several of my beta readers had not read the first book. They confirmed that Magic Lessons for Margo makes sense and is enjoyable on its own.

If you had to pick theme songs for the main characters of Magic Lessons for Margo, what would they be?

Margo: She Was by Camille. Ana: Who Is She by iMonster. Louise: Fairytales by Cayetano.

What’s your favorite genre to read? Is it the same as your favorite genre to write?

Yes! I like reading literary women’s fiction, both historical and contemporary. I’m interested in women’s voices, in feminine characters that are flawed, misunderstood, and who refuse to conform to the roles society has relegated them to.

What books are on your TBR pile right now?

The Fox Wife by Yangsze Choo, It’s Not Easy to Outrun Happiness by Laura Frunza, Dispossession by Tayari Jones, and Where Wild Peaches Grow by Cade Bentley.

What scene in your book was your favorite to write?

The whole book builds up to a scene where the mysterious younger sister tells Margo where she went when she ran away from home at sixteen, how she experienced love and heartbreak, and what she learned about their deceased mother in the process. I loved writing this scene because the sisters are finally, truly bonding, because the secrets they’re discussing are interesting and a bit surprising, and because I chose one of my favorite places, a park I love in Galveston, as the setting, and paid close attention to the atmosphere – whistling birds, trees swaying in the breeze, the kinds of things that make experiences magical.

Do you have any quirky writing habits? (lucky mugs, cats on laps, etc.)

For me, writing requires long naps. I get my best ideas when I’m somewhere between sleep and waking. This makes me happy, because I like thinking that dreams, magic, and the subconscious play a role in creating my stories.

Do you have a motto, quote, or philosophy you live by?

Keep reinventing yourself. It’s never too late to start a new life.

If you could choose one thing for readers to remember after reading your book, what would it be?

That women need to put themselves first and stop centering romantic relationships. It’s crucial to prioritize self-actualization and health, especially mental health.


Maria Elena Sandovici is the author of the new book Magic Lessons for Margo

Connect with Maria Elena Sandovici

Author Site


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