Edith Cohn: SPIRIT’S KEY

We’ve got a great group of debut authors here at OneFour KidLit. Today we’re introducing Edith Cohn. One author, four questions. Here we go!


What’s your debut book about? Can you share any cool details with us?

My debut novel SPIRIT’S KEY is a mystery about a twelve-year-old psychic girl named Spirit who works with the ghost of her pet dog to uncover the truth of the mysterious deaths of wild dogs on the remote island where she lives.

Cool details about the book —This book is an interesting mix of genres—mystery, light fantasy, adventure, and paranormal. I’d never written anything like it before. I’d only written YA contemporary novels—none of which I was able to sell. One of my friends, who was surprised I would attempt to write something with fantasy elements said, “But you don’t even read fantasy.” Actually this wasn’t true. But I’d written contemporary for so long—that was how people thought of me. The doubts crept in. Had I read enough fantasy to be qualified to write one? Could I get away with never saying exactly where this island was located? Could I make up weird superstitions and beliefs? What were the rules for middle grade? To hush my doubts, I wrote in my notebook in big bold letters: IT’S YOUR ISLAND. YOU CAN DO WHAT YOU WANT! This became my mantra.

But even though the setting of Bald Island is made up, I drew a lot of inspiration from the very real Outer Banks of North Carolina. I did a lot of research that inspired the book, and some of the strangest superstitions in the story are actually based on things I read. For example, the characters in SPIRIT’S KEY drink yaupon tea to cure their anger. And actual early settlers on the Outer Banks believed this tea cured the drinker of anger and falsehoods.

What are you most excited about in the debut process?

I’m really looking forward to having actual kid readers. I want to hear what they think and have the opportunity to talk to them in schools. I used to teach 7th grade, and it will be nice to have the chance to teach kids about writing again. I’m also crossing my fingers for fan mail. 😉

What cool facts might readers not know about you?

Edith_Cohn-9744-2Probably the first thing you should know about me is that I am a crazy dog lady. I even have a bumper sticker on my car that says so! Really this just means, my dog Leia is my little fur baby. I kind of run my life around her happiness.

Also, when I’m not reading or writing, I’m crafting handmade dog collars or jewelry. I used to have an Etsy store called BUTTERPUPS, where I sold dog collars for fancy pups. Now I just do it for fun. These typewriter rings are really popular amongst my friends. If you want one, the cost is two preordered copies of SPIRIT’S KEY. Email me your receipt (edithcohn(at)gmail.com), and I’ll mail you one with your initial. The ring bases are pretty pricey, so please be honest and follow through with the book order. I also only have a handful of the ring bases left, so this is only while supplies last. 1970623_10153944009685654_2031927106_n

What are your desert island books?

In some ways being on a desert island seems like a dream come true for an introvert writer, but it also sounds kind of painful. I just reread THE GIVER by Lois Lowry, and it’s a good reminder that pain is useful, so that one is a must. I think BREADCRUMBS by Anne Ursu is also a great reminder of this. Here’s my favorite line, “This is what it is to live in the world. You have to give yourself over to the cold, at least a little bit.” I’d have to bring my go-to craft books like BIRD BY BIRD by Anne Lamott, ART AND FEAR by David Bayles and Ted Orland and SAVE THE CAT by Blake Snyder. I’d also really like to have a notebook so I could write.

Edith Cohn was born and raised in North Carolina where she grew up exploring the unique beaches of the Outer Banks. She currently lives in the coyote-wild hills of Los Angeles with her husband and her dog. All of these things provided inspiration for her middle grade novel, SPIRIT’S KEY, a mystery about a girl and her ghost dog, coming September 9th from FSG/Macmillan.



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