I’m so excited to welcome my dear friend and online crit partner, Ann Marie Meyers, to MUF today. Her book, Up in the Air, released in July and she had a very successful launch in Trinidad! Her Canadian launch is coming up soon.
Ever since she can remember, ten-year-old Melody has always wanted to fly.
And when she leaps off a swing in the park one day and lands in the mystical land of Chimeroan, her dream finally comes true. She is given a pair of wings. She can fly! Life cannot be any better.
Yet, dreams do come with a price. Even with wings, Melody realizes she cannot outfly the memories of her past. The car accident that has left her father paralyzed, and her unscarred, still plagues her with guilt—she believes that it was entirely 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 and healing her father.
In Canada: Indigo, Chapters, Coles, Ella Minow Children’s Bookstore, Amazon.ca
Me: I had the chance to read Up in the Air many times in all its various stages. I can attest that it is a wonderful fantasy story. Chimeroan is a magical world that Melody visits – and probably one of the things I loved most about your book. Where did you find your inspiration for the world of Chimeroan?
Ann Marie: The original idea for Up In The Air came to me one day while I was meditating. I was so excited that I ended the meditation abruptly and went to my computer to type up my ideas. But by chap. 3 I realized that I had no idea what came next. I immediately went back upstairs and sat down to meditate again, but I got absolutely nothing. It took several years and lots of trial and error to figure out the world of Chimeroan, which is a place where dreams, a person’s deepest desires, come true.
The original images I got during the meditation were this: a girl, unhappy, longing to fly, trying to escape her family life, landing in the magical world of Chimeroan and getting wings. The more questions I asked myself (e.g.: Who is this girl? Why does she want to flee? What is this place called Chimeroan? Why does it exist?), the more hooked I became, and the more I knew that this story had to be written.
Me: I love that! What child doesn’t dream of flying? I know I still do. What does that say about me? LOL. Would you say that the main character, Melody, is like you? Or is she like someone else you know?
Ann Marie: I’ve been asked this question several times, and I’ve always said ‘no’. Yet, the more I think about it, the more I am gradually realizing that, in fact, Melody does bear certain aspects of myself. Melody’s inability to trust is in some way reminiscent of how difficult it was for me to trust others when I was younger. At times I, too, would like to escape my problems and not face up to them. But of course, problems have a way of following you no matter where you go, or how far you run. Dealing with them, both Melody and I have learned, is the best way to achieve inner peace. And then, of course, there is flying. In many of my dreams, I love to soar through the sky.
Me: That’s a great message to send to young readers as well. As authors and crit partners we both signed with the same publisher – just weeks apart (and no, it wasn’t planned)! What has your experience been working with a small press? Did you have any expectations, especially pertaining to getting your book in the hands of readers?
Ann Marie: This is a tough question. I don’t think I gave this much thought when I signed with Jolly Fish Press. My mother passed away around that time, and all I could think of was how happy she was when I told her about the interest of Jolly Fish Press to represent my book. My main focus at the time was how wonderful it was to have someone in the industry love and appreciate the story. The idea of Up In The Air being available to everyone was exciting and thrilling and as the months prior to publication passed by, my hope was that people, especially children, would love Melody’s story as much as I did.
Me: That’s a very reasonable expectation and I’m betting that readers will adore Up In The Air! I’ve seen the pictures on Facebook and you had a pretty incredible launch in Trinidad. Tell us a bit about that.
Ann Marie: The launch was wonderful, and the interest and turnout even more amazing than I could possibly have imagined. The owner of Paper Based Bookstore at the Normandie hotel, where the launch was held, was so happy and impressed by Up In The Air that she offered to arrange school visits for me in Trinidad for next year.
My daughter and I came up with three crafts for the library readings:
1) On a piece of notepaper, she wrote: “If you could have one dream, what would it be?”’ I had some very interesting discussions with the kids about this.
2) Coloring two of the illustrations from Up In The Air.
3) Making wings.
Needless to say ’wing-making’ was the most popular. Here is a link to what this involved and the fun we had. http://www.annmarie-meyers.com/2013/08/the-evolution-of-wings.html?spref=tw
Me: Fabulous! What creative ideas. So, one last question. Would you rather eat gooey marshmallows or have peanut butter stuck to the roof of your mouth?
Ann Marie: I love marshmallows so I’ll choose the first option. However, I wouldn’t have minded a choice like: would you rather win a trip to Venice or spend a year touring the world?
Me: I wouldn’t have minded a question like that either – especially if you’re paying! Thanks for joining us Ann Marie and congrats on your debut book!
Ann Marie grew up in Trinidad and Tobago and graduated from Mount Saint Vincent University, Halifax, Nova Scotia with a Joint Honors Degree in French and Spanish. After leaving university, Meyers took a job at the Trinidad and Tobago Tourist Board and later at the United Nations, New York. While at the UN, she took a translation certificate course at New York University, School of Continuing Education, and went on to become a freelance translator. Somewhere in the middle of all of this, she started writing and never stopped.
Though adults were Meyers initial target audience, this changed soon after her daughter was born and ideas for children’s stories kept pouring in. Up In The Air, is her first children’s book.
Ann Marie is an active member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and facilitate a children’s writing group twice a month.
Would you like to win a copy of Up in the Air? Well, you’re in luck! Ann Marie is giving away a book to one lucky winner! Just fill out the rafflecopter form below.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Amie Borst writes twisted fairy tales with her 13 year old daughter, Bethanie. Their first book, Cinderskella, debuts October 26th, 2013.