Vivian Vande Velde Main Page
A Well-Timed Enchantment
Ages: 10 & up
Publisher: originally published by Crown/paperback by Harcourt
Book Description:

A girl and her cat disappear back in time to retrieve a lost watch.

 

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Review
Awards/honors
Where do you GET those ideas?
Excerpt
More Stuff

Review

"A wizard, who may or may not be evil; two love-struck and decidedly jealous brothers; fear and excitement and adventure aplenty... A Well-Timed Enchantment gives life to a wondrous set of quirky characters."  -- Chattanooga News-Free Press

Awards/honors

  • A Junior Library Guild selection

Where do you GET those ideas?

When I was Deanna's age, my mother decided it was time that my brother and I meet our French relatives. Like Deanna, I didn't speak any French and felt very cut off from everyone else. Unlike Deanna, I didn't have a cat, nor a Mickey Mouse watch, nor did I find a wishing well. (I didn't have a Mickey Mouse watch until I was an adult--in fact, after I wrote A Well-Timed Enchantment. I spoke to a home-school group, and they gave me a Mickey Mouse watch as a present. Such sweet people!)

Excerpt

One elf had a long, flowing gown of some material that seemed to mix silk and silver, a sword, and shoulder-length hair of fluorescent chartreuse; the other was dressed in two-tone jeans and a black Rock 'n' Roll Forever T-shirt.

"Find the watch," the first elf said. "Go back in time. Brave untold dangers. Destroy evil. Defend justice. Find the watch."

This talk of destroying and defending was making Deanna nervous. "Where? I don't even know where to begin."

The other elf leaned closer to his companion and repeated, "I told you she was dumber than the cat."

"The cat?" the first one echoed. "Do you think we should send the cat to help her?"

The more normal-looking one said. "It doesn't have to be a cat."

"Would you listen to me?" Deanna said. "I'm sure you could find someone who'd be much better at--"

The first fair folk glanced appraisingly at Oliver, who arched his back and made a sound very like a growl. "Good thought. If nothing else, the cat can listen to her complain." He waved his hand. The air sparkled and snapped.

"Oh my gosh," Deanna whispered.

"Not bad," the T-shirted one said.

Whatever Oliver was, he definitely wasn't a cat any longer...

More Stuff

My husband, Jim, is the one who named this book. While I was writing it, I was calling it "The Well." OK, OK, I knew it was a blah title. But I couldn't think of another one. So I went ahead and sent it to my editor, still calling it "The Well."

The editor liked the story. "We'll have to change the title, of course," she said.

Of course.

I thought and thought and thought and couldn't come up with anything she liked.

She thought and thought and thought and couldn't come up with anything I liked.

Finally she called me up and said the book was scheduled to be printed the next day and we needed a title. As we chatted on the phone, my husband called out, "A Well-Timed Enchantment," which sounds like a generic fairy tale title but actually is a terrible pun, given that the story features a magic well, a lost time-piece (the Mickey Mouse watch) that causes trouble, and a limited amount of time for Deanna to put things right before the world goes terribly askew. But, of course, nobody would know any of that until they read the book.

"Be quiet," I told Jim. "Nobody's listening to you."

But the editor had heard, and she said, "That's not bad," and since neither of us could think of anything else, the name stuck.

Thank you, Jim.

 


Another cover by Trina Schart Hyman--A Hidden Magic

For more about illustrator Trina Schart Hyman, you can go to:

Trina Schart Hyman

 

Italian covers of A Well-Timed Enchantment:

   

1994                           2009

 


original Well-Timed Enchantment paperback cover