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July 13th, 2012
A Rock Star Romantic Lead is Born!

The Flower Bowl Spell

I’m thrilled to introduce Olivia Boler and her new release The Flower Bowl Spell. Olivia’s book is a blend of genres and elements and is a fun read. I’ll let her tell you about her book and the inspiration for one of her rock star characters. Over to Olivia.

Thank you so much to Shelley Munro for letting me guest blog today. How cool to reach an international audience from my San Francisco, California home base!

My novel, The Flower Bowl Spell, is about a Chinese American witch named Memphis Zhang, who, after abandoning magick for two years, suddenly finds herself pulled back into that world when a fairy shows up while she’s waiting for a Metro train. She’s also a journalist, writing kind of fluffy articles about music, movies, and entertainment. It just so happens, one of her interview subjects, a rising rock star named Tyson Belmonte, is connected to her past, and she finds herself drawn to him despite the fact she’s in a “normal” relationship…with her former high school French teacher. Admittedly, the love triangle is not the main focus of the novel, but there’s definitely a tension there.

Doug RobbTyson has become a fan favorite, I’ve noticed, so I thought I’d tell readers a little bit about the inspiration for his character. He is Asian American—Filipino, to be precise—and the lead singer of an alternative rock band. As I came up with Ty’s back-story, I thought a lot about guy friends I’d grown up with in San Francisco, many of them Asian (if you didn’t know, San Francisco has a big Asian population—I myself am mixed race, half Chinese and half Caucasian). Many of these guys were cool, smart, athletic, funny, and sexy—just like Tyson. One of my goals for the novel was to spotlight my community without getting into heavy issues (e.g. racial tensions). In general, I find myself creating characters that are like the people around me.

Anyway, one day, my husband was watching TV and I heard this song come on that’d been getting a lot of play on the radio. I glanced up from my book and lo and behold, there was this good-looking Asian guy singing his heart out in a music video. I found out later hat he was Doug Robb of Hoobastank and the song was “The Reason.” I hadn’t seen a lot of Asian lead singers outside of Asia, and to discover Doug was such a gift for Memphis’s story because in that moment I knew that Tyson was a rock star. So, in addition to everyday life influences, I also got a little inspiration from the world of pop music. In a way, “The Reason” is the perfect song for The Flower Bowl Spell’s soundtrack.

What about you, readers? What songs do you imagine hearing when you read or write? How do songs inspire your creativity?


by Olivia Boler


Journalist Memphis Zhang isn’t ashamed of her Wiccan upbringing—in fact, she’s proud to be one of a few Chinese American witches in San Francisco, and maybe the world. Unlike the well-meaning but basically powerless Wiccans in her disbanded coven, Memphis can see fairies, read auras, and cast spells that actually work—even though she concocts them with ingredients like Nutella and antiperspirant. Yet after a friend she tries to protect is brutally killed, Memphis, full of guilt, abandons magick to lead a “normal” life.

The appearance, however, of her dead friend’s attractive rock star brother—as well as a fairy in a subway tunnel—suggest that magick is not done with her. Reluctantly, Memphis finds herself dragged back into the world of urban magick, trying to stop a power-hungry witch from using the dangerous Flower Bowl Spell and killing the people Memphis loves—and maybe even Memphis herself.


"Olivia Boler’s The Flower Bowl Spell is a genre-bending ride with sexy rock stars, Californian witches, children with potentially otherworldly gifts, and the occasional fairy. But it is also a story of identity, of the sometimes warring facets that make and shape a human being. Beautifully written, witty, and brimming with both ordinary and fantastical life, The Flower Bowl Spell will charm readers everywhere." — Siobhan Fallon, author of You Know When the Men Are Gone

Purchase The Flower Bowl Spell

Book Trailer


Author Bio

Olivia Boler is the author of two novels, YEAR OF THE SMOKE GIRL and THE FLOWER BOWL SPELL. Poet Gary Snyder described SMOKE GIRL as a "dense weave in the cross-cultural multi-racial world of complex, educated hip contemporary coast-to-coast America…It is a fine first novel, rich in paradox and detail."

A freelance writer who received her master’s degree in creative writing from UC Davis, Boler has published short stories in the Asian American Women Artists Association (AAWAA) anthology Cheers to Muses, the literary journal MARY, and The Lyon Review, among others. She lives in San Francisco with her family. To find out about her latest work, visit



8 comments to “A Rock Star Romantic Lead is Born!”

  1. Hey, Olivia, we definitely need to hook up, as I’m an expert in Rock Fiction. We could have some fun together!

  2. Oh I love rock star stories. Music is my other passion. Ca’t wait to read this.

  3. Thank you so much for sharing your inspiration for your male lead. Having that lead singer as a muse for the lead also provided you with a perfect cast picture for describing him for the novel.

  4. Thanks everyone, for the comments, and thanks especially to Shelley Munro for hosting me today (and for saying nice things about the book LOL).
    Susan, would love to chat more about Rock Fiction, thanks!
    Savannah, I hope you enjoy the book.
    Angela, it’s interesting how inspiration (like real people) gets me to a place where I can start writing about a character, but then the actual character takes over. That’s fiction!

  5. Welcome again, Olivia. I have to say that although I love music and find the lyrics inspirational, when I start writing I tend to blank out any outside noise. This means the inspirational part gets a bit muted in my case.

    Loved hearing your story about your Tyson inspiration.

  6. I listen to music all the time when I read and when I’m on the computer. I like to listen to all types of music and different songs for different types of moods.

  7. Hi Shelley and Mary,
    I am actually in the category that needs quiet when I write and read, unless it’s something really mellow and instrumental like folk or classical. The fact that I was reading while my husband had the TV is pretty unusual. I’m easily distracted! LOL

  8. This sounds like a great read. I love paranormal romance and the mix of music makes this a must read. Thanks for sharing.