Monday, December 9, 2013

Today's Special - - Lisa Van Allen

We're delighted to host Lisa Van Allen at the Romance Dish today. Holding a BA from McDaniel College and a MFA from Fairleigh Dickinson University, Lisa has been published in numerous magazines and literary journals.  She has also been a nominee for the Pushcart Prize, a literary prize that honors the best in poetry, essays, short fiction, etc. that is published by small presses.  Lisa's first novel, The Wishing Thread was published by Random House (Ballantine) in September.  

Find more information about Lisa at her website and connect with her online at Facebook.

Please give Lisa a warm welcome!

The Wishing Thread: Magic, Knitting, and Love in Sleepy Hollow!

By Lisa Van Allen

I started knitting in 2001, and whenever I make a gift for someone, I always send a few good wishes and prayers in hopes that some good energy will make it to the recipient. I knit for friends who are hurting and need a pick me up. I knit for babies in a local inner-city hospital. In a way, all hand-made gifts—from baby blankets to holiday dinners—are like wishes for blessings.
So you can guess it wasn’t a far jump from there to, “Wouldn’t it be cool if a person could knit a magic spell?”

That’s how The Wishing Thread was born.

The story is about three sisters who struggle with family connections, romance, and being a part of a struggling community. They play a key role in their neighborhood in Tarrytown, New York. Some people think they’re angels; some people think they’re crooks.

Each sister has her own feelings about the magical traditions that have come down through the ages, going back to the Revolutionary War. The “magic” isn’t easy or straightforward. In order for a spell to work, a person must be willing to give up something that’s as good as what she’ll receive if the spell works. And that means the “magic” is not a sure bet. In fact, some people say it isn’t magic at all. Others swear by it.

The main character, Aubrey, is a soft-spoken librarian who is regularly the victim of speculation and gossip on account of her “magical” knitting and her excessively blue eyes. Some people give her a wide berth. But the new guy in the neighborhood, a carpenter named Vic, isn’t afraid of what people say about her so much as he is intrigued.

The problem is that Aubrey has no time to even think about romance: her aunt has just passed away, breaking tradition by leaving The Stitchery to all three Van Ripper sisters instead of just leaving it to Aubrey alone. And now, her sisters are back—and whether they like it or not, they’ve got to find a way to come together and agree on what to do with The Stitchery.

What would you give up to save your family’s legacy, your sisters, or your whole town? What would you be willing to sacrifice in the name of a magic spell?

I hope this book will speak to any woman who knows the magic of giving or receiving gifts made with heart.

I’m wishing you all happy holidays!

Lisa Van Allen

P.S. If you knit or crochet, find me on as “lisava”! Also, find me on Facebook! Let’s chat!


  1. Hi Lisa! Thanks for visiting with us today. I really like the sound of this book. I'm downloading a copy to treat myself after I cross off everything on my Christmas "to do" list.

    What would I give up? To protect someone I love, I'd give up just about anything.

  2. I loved The Wishing Thread! It's a wonderful blend of the real and the magical and of romance and women's fiction. I compared it to Sarah Addison Allen's books in my review, and I consider that a high compliment. I'm not a knitter, but I delighted in the way knitting functioned as craft and metaphor in the book.

    1. Any book that gets your recommendation, Janga, is one I want to read.

  3. PJ -- Thanks so much for having me. I hope you'll like the Wishing Thread!

    Janga -- So happy to hear this. Makes my day!! <3

  4. YAY! I'm going to seek out this book immediately! I love the Sleepy Hollow a story spinoff would be wonderful to read!! (I cannot knit a whit, but I do have a sister...and friends like sisters, so I can relate to that very well!) I'm not sure what I'd sacrifice. I imagine if I thought it was for the greater good of family, et al, I'd give up the dream of being a wife and mother to protect and take care of my family instead...I think that's a sacrifice, of a sort. It doesn't mean you couldn't still be happy, but it would be different.

    1. I know what you mean, Hellie. At various times over the years I've taken family members into my home to care for them. We do what we have to do for those we love.

  5. What an intriguing premise. Sounds good. I really don't know what I would be willing to give up. As a parent, like most others, if the situation were dire enough, we would give our lives for those we love.

  6. Sounds like an interesting plot here. I’m adding this to my Wish List.

  7. A hard question - I guess whatever it would take! It sounds like a wonderful read!

    1. It is a hard question to answer unless we're actually in the situation. I think we do what we need to.

  8. I'm definitely putting A Wishing Thread on my TRL. I really like the theme of this book. Thanks for the post. As for what I would give up I agree with P.J. in that we do what we have to. It's the fabric of love and family I suppose.
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com