The Magic Sphere
Introducing The Magic Sphere by
15-year-old author, Vivienne Palin

Otterpine is beyond thrilled to announce the release of The Magic Sphere by 15-year-old author Vivienne Palin! Told with lots of humor and heart, The Magic Sphere is a wonderfully entertaining fantasy story perfect for anyone who enjoys fun middle-grade novels. Adults will love it too.

To say we’re proud of Vivienne’s accomplishment is a huge understatement. She’s an inspiration to us all at Otterpine and we’re excited to share her book—and her incredible personal story. Check out the interview below to find out more about Vivienne, her global adventures, and her writing. 

Q: How would you describe your book in your own words? If someone asks, “What is The Magic Sphere about?” you say…

A: Whenever I’m asked what The Magic Sphere is about, I usually answer that it’s about two kids and a librarian who embark on a magical adventure to save everyone who has frozen in time in the towns of Terast and Regain.

Q: How has being homeschooled influenced you, inspired you to become a writer, and/or helped you accomplish so much already as a young author?

A: Being homeschooled has opened up a lot of opportunities for me. For instance, I don’t have to attend school Monday through Friday. I can do school from Tuesday to Saturday; or Monday, skip Tuesday, then work until Sunday; or if I want, I can do school for the whole week entirely! If my family decides to go out during the week, I don’t have to worry about missing class because I know that I can catch up on school over the weekend. This flexibility has allowed me to travel a lot, and certain places I’ve visited or things I’ve experienced help me develop my stories and inspire others.

Q: Why fairies? What other magical creatures do you admire or like? Is fantasy your favorite genre, and do you think you’ll stick with it for the foreseeable future?

A: I’ve always had an interest in fairies. They seem so magical. And their wings! I always dreamed about how amazing it would be to have wings like a fairy and be able to fly. When I was younger, sometimes my friends and I would pretend to be fairies on a top-secret mission, communicating with other fairy agents through a secret Morse-code-like language. My younger sisters and I would also build fairy houses out of sticks, pine needles, leaves, acorn shells, and dirt, and leave them outside near the playground in case a fairy needed a place to shelter.

To me, fairies are by far the most fascinating magical creature, but I also like mermaids and unicorns. If you were to come visit my RV, you’d see that I have several fairy and mermaid paintings taped beside by bed, all made by my super artistic sister, Karoline.

I equally enjoy fantasy and nonfiction, and I can see myself writing—possibly publishing —books in both genres in the future.

Q: What was your inspiration for this book? I’m especially curious how the big concept—of everyone suddenly frozen in time—occurred to you? Also, how do you come up with ideas in general? Do you keep an “idea journal?”

A: Unlike all the other stories I’ve been writing, I don’t believe there was a definite inspiration for the storyline behind The Magic Sphere. The idea just occurred to me one night, complete and in sequence. I’m not sure how long I thought through my sudden idea when it came, but the very next day (either before or after school; I don’t remember), I got to work on writing what is now called The Magic Sphere. There were certain additions I made as I wrote the story, like giving Chloe a friend and having an adult accompany her on the adventure, but the main premise is the same.

For me, the majority of my ideas come right before I fall asleep, while I’m sitting on the toilet (seriously!), or as I’m touring some place I find interesting. Sometimes certain words, actions, or thoughts about anyone or anything can trigger an idea in my mind, and then I just build onto it, usually at night when it’s peaceful and quiet.

I don’t keep an “idea journal” per se, but I do have an “idea folder.” Before I begin writing anything on my laptop, I usually handwrite the first 10–30 pages on scraps of paper and stick them in that folder for safe keeping. Later on, if I want to expand my story without continuously marking and rewriting sections on scrap pieces of paper, then I’ll type it up on my laptop and carry on with it that way.

Q: One aspect of this story I love is how you incorporate the power of books into the narrative, i.e., the fact that Chloe and the other main character, Maddox, are reading adventure stories has a huge impact on their narrative arcs. I wonder if that’s part of the message you wanted to get across—that books in themselves have an almost magical ability to influence our lives?

A; I do believe that books have the ability to influence our lives, and it is part of a message I’d like to share. Sometimes stories themselves can offer great adventures, even if you experience it all in your imagination—and who knows, one day you may find yourself absorbed in a uniquely amazing adventure!

Q: You have a gift for world-building, and I love all the specific details you incorporate to create your book’s setting. (I especially love the mushroom houses in the fairy village!) What kind of research or brainstorming did you do to conjure this other world? Did you do any drawings or look at particular art to generate ideas?

A: Thank you! I actually did close to no research at all for building my settings, nor did I look at art to generate ideas for the fairy village, Faerfellia. This was primarily because I already had a vivid picture in my mind of what it looked like. When coming up with Mr. Fixin’s house, I did look up pictures of Austrian houses and British thatched-roof cottages because I wanted his house to be a cheery mix of both.

Q: In what ways are you the same/different from the main character? Are you a problem-solver? Do you enjoy meeting new people and having adventures? Can you see yourself going on a quest to a fairy world to save your town?

A: I’d like to think that I’m a problem solver—with three younger sisters, there’s always an issue that needs to be solved :). I love having adventures and always crave more. In my opinion, adventures are always the best when friends are involved and you’re in an outdoor setting—that leaves plenty of room for a memorable adventure.

If my community was in trouble and the only solution to the problem was to travel to a fairy world, I would do so in a heartbeat!

Q: I love the vibrant cover and beautiful black-and-white art in your book! How did you feel when you saw the artwork and how much did it align with your vision of the world you created?

A: I agree, the cover and black-and-white illustrations look fantastic—you can thank Elizabeth Evey for that!

Right from the beginning, I knew what I wanted in the illustrations, so I worked with my illustrator to tweak certain pictures so they would match my vision as closely as possible. Elizabeth Evey did an amazing job on each one, but there were several that really stood out to me which were even more magical than I could have imagined. My favorite illustration is on page 110—I love that one!

Q: What do you hope readers will take away from this story?

A: I hope that readers will leave the story with a sense of adventure and magic!

Q: Name a few of your favorite books. Do you find that reading your favorite authors helps you develop your writing style? Is there a particular author who has influenced your writing?

A: My top three favorite series are 1) Explorer Academy by Trudi Trueit, 2) Spy School by Stuart Gibbs, and 3) The Adventurers by Jemma Hatt. Every book in each of my top three favorite series is equally amazing, so I really can’t pick just one book.

One author in particular who has influenced my writing is Trudi Trueit. I feel like my writing style is most similar to hers, and I do often read her books to continue developing and improving my writing (and because her books are the best!!). She’s been a greater inspiration to my writing than any other author, and she’s also my favorite, so I’d really like to meet her one day.

Q: At age fifteen, this is your second novel. Wow! Do you plan to continue writing and publishing? What other projects do you have in the works?

A: I continue to write and hope to continue publishing as well. I’m currently writing a story that was inspired by my visit a few years ago to Trakošćan Castle in Croatia, and I plan on writing about my various adventures, both overseas and here in America.

Q: I see from your website that you’ve lived all over and are currently traveling around the US in an RV. What’s a favorite place you’ve lived or visited? How is life on the road?

A: Every place I’ve been to or lived in has something spectacular and beautiful about it, but I especially like South Korea, Japan, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, Italy, and Croatia. I love the fresh, tropical fruits that Southeast Asia has to offer, and the mountains in South Korea, Japan, Italy, and Croatia are breathtaking. There’s just something special about places where the mountains and ocean meet.

I also really enjoyed visiting the picturesque European castles. And all the caves. Thinking about it now, there were a lot of things I enjoyed in my travels—but if I were to write it all down, it would probably amount to the size of a dictionary.

After traveling around the US for almost two years, it is extremely hard to pick just one favorite place I’ve visited, but I can list a few. Not in any particular order, a few of my favorite places in the US include Arches, Acadia, Canyonlands, Yosemite, and Bryce Canyon National Parks; City of Rocks State Park; the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina (the hikes were amazing, and so was the Fryingpan Mountain Lookout Tower!)…and the list goes on.

Life on the road is interesting. There are great days, and not-so-great days. There are times when I feel like life couldn’t get better than it already is, and then there are other times when I’d really appreciate being able to shower in my own bathroom, change my clothes behind a closed door, and have some privacy. Privacy is one thing that is really, really scarce in a 32-foot camper with six people.

Living on the road requires some sacrifices, and it’s not for everybody, but in turn you may receive the most wonderful adventures of your life—you just never know until you try.

Thank you, Vivienne! We hope to hear a lot more about your adventures—and read many more of your stories—in the future

Vivienne Palin lives and travels in the USA in an RV with her parents and three younger sisters. Before returning to America, Vivienne lived overseas in Asia and Europe for ten years. Vivienne is an avid reader, writer, hiker, and traveler. The Magic Sphere is her second published book. You can learn more about what Vivienne’s up to and where she’s traveled (and traveling) with her family in their RV at

Buy The Magic Sphere today!

Available in E-Book and Limited Edition Paperback 

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