Alyssa Colman won the 2013 Primary Stages ESPA new play competition and was a semifinalist at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center National Playwrights Conference. She has participated both as a mentee and mentor in the Author Mentor Match program and is a member of SCBWI. Alyssa now lives in Virginia, where she enjoys making a mess in her kitchen and hiking with her family.
Author photo credit to Christina Gandolfo
The Tarnished Garden
The Manhattan School for Magic is the newest kindling school in New York, but Maeve O’Donnell knows she doesn't deserve her place there. Though her sister, Izzy, is one of the school's founders and a hero to those who can now kindle, Maeve can't control her magic and she lives in fear of anyone—especially Izzy—finding out.When Maeve’s worst fears come true and her magic goes rogue, it damages not only the new school but Izzy’s reputation as well. While trying to repair what she’s broken, Maeve discovers a mysterious garden in the tenement neighborhood of the Tarnish, a hidden place where her magic actually works. As her magic and confidence grow, she befriends the others for whom the garden is a haven: a litter of talking kittens (house dragons, of course) who need Maeve’s help to find their missing mother. But someone else is searching for the kittens, too, someone who doesn’t care how many magical sites they have to destroy to stop magic’s expansion. And Maeve’s unstable magic might be the only way to save her sister’s school from being snuffed out next.
The Gilded Girl
Any child can spark magic, but only the elite are allowed to kindle it. Those denied access to the secrets of the kindling ritual will see their magic snuffed out before their thirteenth birthday.
Miss Posterity’s Academy for Practical Magic is the best kindling school in New York City—and wealthy twelve-year-old Emma Harris is accustomed to the best. But when her father dies, leaving her penniless, Emma is reduced to working off her debts to Miss Posterity alongside Izzy, a daring servant girl who refuses to let her magic be snuffed out, even if society dictates she must. Emma and Izzy reluctantly form a pact: If Izzy teaches Emma how to survive as a servant, Emma will reveal to Izzy what she knows about magic.
Along the way, they encounter quizzes that literally pop, shy libraries, and talking cats (that is, house dragons). But when another student’s kindling goes horribly wrong, revealing the fiery dangers of magic, Emma and Izzy must set aside their differences or risk their magic being snuffed out forever.