This is a VERY fun week. Thank you to Steve Wiley for agreeing to be on my blog AND to Enchanted Book Tours for putting us all together.

About this fabulous book…

In Chicago, a secret L train runs through the mythical East Side of the city. On that train, you’ll find a house-cat conductor, an alcoholic elf, a queen of the last city farm, the most curious wind, and an exceptional girl by the name of Francesca Finnegan.

When we first encounter Richard K. Lyons, he is a man who has long forgotten the one night, when he was still a boy called Rich, when Francesca invited him aboard the secret L for an adventure though the East Side. The night was a mad epic, complete with gravity-defying first kisses, mermaid overdoses, and princess rescues. Unfortunately for Rich, the night ended like one of those elusive dreams forgotten the moment you wake. Now, Rich is all grown up and out of childish adventures, an adult whose life is on the verge of ruin. It will take the rediscovery of his exploits with Francesca, and a reacquaintance with the boy he once was, to save him.


The Fairytale Chicago of Francesca Finnegan Interview

  • When and how did you know you were a writer? Did any books help you along the way?   I think storytellers are just born that way.  I don’t remember having a moment where I said, “I want to be a writer.”  I’ve just always like to tell stories.  For this book, Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland helped the most.  I wanted a Wonderland for Chicago.  Chicago needs a Wonderland, badly.
  • Writers often have colorful histories and discarded careers along the way. What was your favorite past job? If you weren’t writing what else can you picture yourself doing and why?   Favorite past job is difficult. I’ve hated most jobs I’ve had.  I’ll say college lifeguard (part-time), because after work we’d party and swim and nothing is better than partying and swimming, for a college kid at least.  If I weren’t writing I wouldn’t be happy –  I’d have to do something writing related.  I was a managerial consultant for years, and I wrote all day in that job.  I was the ‘writer’ guy.  Whenever we had a writing job it was mine.  So, if I wasn’t writing, I wouldn’t be happy.
  • The Fairytale Chicago of Francesca Finnegan has some very distinctive, eye catching illustrations. What made you decide to include pictures and how did you go about finding an artist to bring them to life?   I didn’t decide on illustrations until after I’d finished the story.  After I’d finished, I realized the book could really be strengthened with pictures.  And so, one night at a party I met my future illustrator.  I didn’t know he was an artist, but we started talking about art, and I showed him the background on my iPhone, which was El Greco’s View of Toledo (Google it if you don’t know it!), and the rest is history.  He did an amazing job.  I was just super lucky to have bumped into him at this party for a mutual friend. 


Funny you should bring up that particular painting- it is one of my all-time favorites! Bravo!

  • Can you share one resource: website, marketing strategy, social media medium that you feel has most helped you and could help other writers on their way?   We’re  donating half of the profits from this book to Chicago Public Schools.  That little fact has gotten the book a lot of favorable attention.  I was recently featured on WGN Radio here in Chicago, and that was something they wanted to talk about.  So, I think authors should consider strategic partnerships to help sell their books. 
  • What do you wish your readers could know about you?  I would defer that question to the readers.  There isn’t anything I’m dying for people to know about me, but I’ll throw some interesting facts out there for this interview: I once swam through Buckingham Fountain on a dare (in the middle of the day), my wife has reported me missing (like Richard in the book), and my mother was a nun.  That’s a start!
  • Do you have any new projects in the works? What should we be eagerly anticipating from Steve Wiley?  I’m all marketing all the time lately.  I’ll start my next project likely in 2018, once the smoke has cleared from this book.  Expect the unexpected, in the form of a book.
  • Who’s your favorite super hero and why?  I’m a Wolverine guy.  The more flaws in the super hero the better.  Perfect characters just aren’t as interesting. 
  • Favorite meal, health concerns and calories aside, if you could just enjoy anything what would it be?  Oh, easy question.  Lou Malnati’s deep dish pizza and a coke, last meal every time.  That’s probably the answer half of Chicago would give you.
  • Please share three things you have NOT done yet on your Bucket List. 1) Write a story for my son 2) DMT 3) Write a story for my wife
  • And lastly… what is your favorite reward after a long day of writing—that little treat you give yourself?  Book and a beer!  I like reading and drinking, but only after I’m done playing with the kids, and have gotten them to bed. 

Author Bio

Steve Wiley, Author

Steve is a father, husband, uncle, brother, friend, and purveyor of fairy stories. He grew up in and around Chicagoland, where he still lives with his wife and two kids. He has been published in an array of strange and serious places, from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C., to Crannóg magazine in Galway, Ireland. This is his first book. He has an undergraduate degree in something he has forgotten from Illinois State University and a graduate degree in something equally forgotten from DePaul University. You can email Steve at, or visit thewileymancan on Instagram.


This post was written by Erika Gardner. She’s a native Californian, lifelong lover of fantastical adventures, and a dedicated Whovian. If you enjoyed it, please sign up to receive updates on   Or you can follow Erika on Twitter @Erika_Gardner, “Like” her Facebook page Erika Gardner- Writer and Storyteller.Or check out her contributions to the BBB Blog.