Interview With Anna-Marie McLemore - Author of The Weight of Feathers (In which I am so excited, I CAN'T EVEN)

Saturday, October 17, 2015
author interview laptops graphic

HELLO, LOVELY FELLOW NERDLINGS!! I hope you're having a weekend that is as happy as I am!! (If you're not, don't worry. The world can't stay mad at you forever! <3) Just a small warning; I'm extremely excited today. Why, you might ask? BECAUSE I AM DOING MY VERY FIRST AUTHOR INTERVIEW! (!!) Which is absolutely amazing.

So today on my blog, we have the amazing Anna-Marie McLemore, who has graciously accepted my request for an interview (WHOO-PEE!! See? I told you I was excited!). So with no further dillydallying, let's get to the questions1

1) I loved your book, The Weight of Feathers, and how magical the story was! Are there any books/authors who inspired you to write this?

Thank you so much! So many authors of magical realism inspire me: Allende, Marquez, Coelho, Esquivel, Belli, Lorca, and more…I come back so often to their novels, short stories, poetry, and plays.

2) TWOF features some pretty diverse characters. What was it like,writing about different cultures? Did it involve a lot of research? People-watching? Old relatives who gave you all those sayings in French and Spanish? ;)

About half the characters in THE WEIGHT OF FEATHERS are Latinx (for readers who don’t know, Latinx is a term that includes those of all gender identities), so I drew on my own experience there. But a number of the characters are Romani, including Cluck, who narrates half the story. And in writing him, I knew I needed to reach out to someone from that community. I did as much research as I could, and then I found someone who was willing to help me understand what I couldn’t understand on my own.  

3) That someone must have been very supportive! Which part of writing TWOF did you enjoy the most? (Creating characters, outlining, publishing, etc)

The people you get to meet—publishing industry professionals, fellow authors, book bloggers, booksellers, readers…you meet so many wonderful book lovers!

4) What's your favourite candy? (Random, but what is a Q&A sessions without some randomness thrown in?)

Sour Patch Watermelons

5) As much as I'd love to say that I love them, too, I have never tasted Sour Patch Watermelons in my life! (sad face.) What would be the YA book that you'd recommend to anyone? (And by anyone, I mean ANYONE; your mother, your grandmother, your colleague, the cleaning-lady, total strangers. It doesn't necessarily have to be your favourite.)

I just reread Aisha Saeed’s WRITTEN IN THE STARS, and I was struck all over again by its powerful use of spare language, vivid details, and unexpected humor even in the midst of a harrowing story. 

6) Now that's another book that's been pushed up my TBR! Were there any hard parts to writing TWOF? What was the hardest?

I’m not sure if I’d so much say there were easiest and hardest parts, but I did feel a tremendous responsibility to represent Cluck’s heritage in a way that was as respectful and as authentic as possible. I wanted to do the same for Lace’s, but it was a different kind of challenge, because her heritage is the same one I’ve lived. 

7) Here's another random question for you: favourite TV show?

Right now I’m really into unReal. 

8) Yep, never heard of unReal. I am terrible at this interview business. But, finally, I loved TWOF so much that I really need to get more of your writing! Are you planning on publishing another book? (I would totally support that!)

Thank you so much! I’m currently working on another book that’s about new characters, but has some of the same elements as THE WEIGHT OF FEATHERS—magical realism, multicultural themes, and a small-town setting. I’ll be sharing more soon, but for now I can tell you that I’m especially excited because this book will also have LGBT themes. 

Suffice to say that I CANNOT WAIT for it!

So, thank you, Anna, THANK YOU SO MUCH for being the very first author to be interviewed on my blog! And thanks for writing such an amazing book with amazing characters. 

anna-marie mclemore author
Anna-Marie McLemore was born in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains, raised in the same town as the world’s largest wisteria vine, and taught by her family to hear la llorona in the Santa Ana winds. She is a Lambda Literary fellow, and her work has been featured by The Portland Review, Camera Obscura, and the Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West. THE WEIGHT OF FEATHERS (Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin’s Press) is her first novel. You can find Anna-Marie at or on Twitter @LaAnnaMarie.

For twenty years, the Palomas and the Corbeaus have been rivals and enemies, locked in an escalating feud for over a generation. Both families make their living as traveling performers in competing shows-the Palomas swimming in mermaid exhibitions, the Corbeaus, former tightrope walkers, performing in the tallest trees they can find.
Lace Paloma may be new to her family's show, but she knows as well as anyone that the Corbeaus are pure magia negra, black magic from the devil himself. Simply touching one could mean death, and she's been taught from birth to keep away. But when disaster strikes the small town where both families are performing, it's a Corbeau boy, Cluck, who saves Lace's life. And his touch immerses her in the world of the Corbeaus, where falling for him could turn his own family against him, and one misstep can be just as dangerous on the ground as it is in the trees.
Beautifully written, and richly imaginative, Anna-Marie McLemore's The Weight of Feathers is an utterly captivating young adult novel by a talented new voice.

and now, my dear nerdlings, have you read TWOF? is it not the most a-maz-ing magical realism book ever? isn't anna wonderful? and, tell me, WHAT ARE SOUR PATCH WATERMELONS?

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