Interview with Anna-Marie McLemore

Back in September (it seems to long ago!) Old Firehouse Books was thrilled to have the chance to host YA author Anna-Marie McLemore. She was joined by local YA author Todd Mitchell, and the two talked about their latest books. There was tea and scones and everyone had a fantastic time.

Anna-Marie was kind enough to answer a few questions to be featured here, on our lovely blog, for our readers’ enjoyment. So I hope you enjoy!

You can purchase both Anna-Marie and Todd’s book online here and here, or call the store and we’ll reserve a copy for you!









Sometimes authors talk about their earliest stories, the ones they wrote when they were kids. What’s the first story you can remember writing?

I don’t remember if I ever wrote it down, but when I was little I made up a fairy tale about two sisters who grew apples, and told it to anyone who would listen. Now that I think of it, I’m wondering if a little of is showing up in my 2018 book without me realizing it…

Your new book, Wild Beauty, has a trope that can be found in many other places (that being, terrible things happening to the ones you love). What is you favorite story that contains this trope (besides your own, of course)?

Cupid and Psyche is one of my favorite myths, and I’m enthralled by different interpretations of its dangerous love themes, from C.S. Lewis’ Til We Have Faces to Roshani Chokshi’s The Star-Touched Queen.

All your books so far are for a young adult audience, but have you ever thought about writing for adults?

I absolutely have! My work already tends to fall in that nebulous space between YA lit and adult, but I definitely have some ideas that would fall more definitively on adult shelves. I’m not sharing too much just yet, but I have some ideas I’m cooking up, including some possible intergenerational stories.

Wild Beauty takes place in a beautiful, but rather terrifying, garden. Do you have a favorite garden that you’ve visited?

Both Butchart Gardens in British Columbia and the Huntington Library in Los Angeles were huge inspirations, from the intricate layout of the flowerbeds to the gorgeous juxtaposition of plants you wouldn’t quite expect to see side by side. They brim with the sense that there’s unexpected magic under all those petals, and that feeling of enchantment inspired so much of Wild Beauty.

Are there any authors that are particularly inspiring or influential to you? Any authors you think deserve more recognition then they are getting?

C.S. Lewis, Lorca, Allende, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Nella Larsen, Jean Rhys, and many more. From Passing and classic works of magical realism to The Little Prince and The Chronicles of Narnia, I’m so grateful to these authors and those who put their work in my hands, because I wouldn’t be a writer without them. And I have many favorite YA authors, but I have to call attention to the gorgeous work of Aisha Saeed and Kelly Loy Gilbert; everyone should read Written in the Stars and Picture Us in the Light.

Thanks to both Anna-Marie and Todd for visiting our store. You can learn more about both of these fantastic authors on their websites:

Anna-Marie McLemore       Todd Mitchell

Happy reading!


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