E: Welcome to Erindipity, Ann Marie! I do appreciate this rather large jug of rum. I do believe shenanigans are in my future.
AM: Is that a bottle of Old Oak on the table next to you? Did you go to Trinidad without telling me?
E: You have a new book coming out. What is it called and what can you tell us about it?
AM: The book is entitled Up In The Air and it is a Middle Grade fantasy. It is about a girl called Melody who has dreamed of flying since forever! When she lands in the mystical realm of Chimeroan and gets the wings of her dreams, she thinks life is finally going her way. Yet, even with wings, Melody realizes she cannot outfly her past. The car accident that left her father paralyzed, and her unscarred, still plagues her; she believes it was her fault. In Chimeroan, Melody is forced to come to terms with her part in her father’s accident. She must choose between the two things that have become the world to her: keeping her wings or healing her father.
E: I think you are the very first children’s author to visit me. I think perhaps Charlie scares most of them away. I mean, corpses aren’t really for kids. What’s it like writing for children?
AM: It’s refreshing and exciting. I think of my daughter a lot when I write, and try to picture her reaction to my stories. At other times I find myself wondering if, and hoping that, my books will uplift kids in some way. I think that may be why I feel so passionate about the stories I write. It’s fun!!
E: You’ve got some events coming up. What can you tell us about them?
AM: My first launch will be in Trinidad (which is where I’m from). I’ll be reading in two bookstores and visiting a bunch of libraries to speak with kids at summer camp. When I get back to Toronto I’ll have my launch here and several book signings and school visits.
E: According to your website, your initial audience was adult readers, but that you changed that once your daughter was born. How has becoming a mother influenced your writing beyond the shift in audience?
AM: That’s a very interesting question. Before my daughter was born I used to see advertisements in magazines asking for authors to submit manuscripts for children’s books. I was never tempted to even consider it. In fact, the very idea of writing a children’s book didn’t even penetrate my subconscious.
With the birth of my daughter, everything shifted. Not all at once, but gradually. I found myself wondering what kinds of stories would interest her. And then I started getting ideas for Picture Books (which, sad to say, I don’t have the knack for). But longer stories… now that’s my thing. Every idea I have now is for a children’s book, whether MG or YA.
E: Have you written anything for adults or are you focusing on children’s literature?
AM: Right now I am focusing only on children’s literature. And the strange thing is that the fantasy book I wrote for ‘adults’ (part of a trilogy) is in fact YA. I just didn’t know it at the time.
E: Are you currently working on anything?
AM: I am in the process of going over a YA book called Out of My Skin. This book is based in Trinidad and is a coming of age story set in 1969 and involves the folklore of my country.
E: Where can we purchase your book?