Thursday, December 10, 2015

2015 Debut Author Bash: The Weight of Feathers by Anna-Marie McLemore {Interview/Review/Giveaway}

About the book: 

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, The Weight of Feathers is an utterly captivating young adult novel by a talented new voice.

About the author: 

I’m Anna-Marie. I’m a Mexican-American author represented by the fabulous Taylor Martindale of Full Circle Literary. My debut novel, THE WEIGHT OF FEATHERS, a 2016 William C. Morris YA Debut Award Finalist, is out now from Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin’s Press.

My shorter work has been featured in The Portland Review, CRATE Literary Magazine’s “cratelit,” Camera Obscura’s Bridge the Gap Gallery, and by the Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West. I was a 2011 Lambda Literary Fellow in Fiction (you can find my reading here). I live in California’s Central Valley with a boy from the other side of the Rockies.

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1. What inspired you to write The Weight of Feathers?

Years ago, my father told me about a mermaid show he’d seen when he was in his twenties. Ever since I’ve wanted to write a story about performing mermaids, but it wasn’t until a photographer friend had me out in the woods while wearing a set of wire and cloth wings that the idea for the book came to me. Women swimming in mermaid tails, and winged tree performers. The story grew from those two images coming together.  

2. What did you do when you found out that your book was being published?

Almost dropped the phone. My agent called me to share the news!

3. Do you have a favorite 2015 debut novel?

Oh there were so many I loved, I could never pick one! But I will mention one I reread recently, Aisha Saeed’s WRITTEN IN THE STARS, which combines powerful use of spare language, vivid details, and unexpected humor into a harrowing story.

4. Did you receive any valuable piece of advice before you sold your novel that you would like to pass along to aspiring writers?

That if you’re not reading work that inspires you, your writing will end up, well, uninspiring. If I’m not reading books I love, I don't have as much of that raw passion for words.

5. Are you working on anything new right now?

My next book, WHEN THE MOON WAS OURS, is slated for next fall. I’m thrilled to be continuing to work with the wonderful team at St. Martin’s Press! MOON follows new characters through a story that, like TWOF, has multicultural elements and magical realism, but also has central LGBT themes—a transgender boy, the best friend he’s falling in love with, and both of them deciding how they want to define themselves.  

Thank you so much for having me! (Note: Thank you so much for answering my questions! I can't wait to read When The Moon Was Ours!


The Weight of Feathers is one of the most beautiful novels I've ever read. Anna-Marie McLemore's voice is captivating and unique, her characters are deliciously rich, and the way she sprinkled words/sayings/phrases in both Spanish and French left me completely hypnotized.  Normally, I write down my thoughts about a novel as I'm reading it but, in this case, I didn't want to break the spell. I finished the novel without a single note, which usually tells me that I loved it so much that nothing I say will ever express the way it made me feel. 

The story follows the feud between the Palomas and the Corbeaus, in a Romeo and Juliet kind of way, and what happens when their beliefs are put to the test.  Lace Paloma and Cluck Corbeaus quickly became two of my favorite characters of 2015. Their stories are told in such a whimsical, lyrical, and heartfelt way that there is no way that you can walk away from this novel without taking a little piece of them with you. They are strong individually, and their families have interesting dynamics separately, but when they come is pure magic. Trust me, their journey is beautiful. 

Anna-Marie McLemore really kicked it out of the park with her gorgeous debut novel. I checked this one out of the library and I cannot wait to add a copy to my shelves. Why? Because The Weight of Feathers is the kind of novel that will always stay in the back of you mind, the one that touches your heart in so many instances that you lose count, and the one that you want to gift friends, family, and strangers.  


The lovely Anna-Marie McLemore is giving away one copy of her GORGEOUS novel, The Weight of Feathers, to a lucky winner in the US/Canada! This giveaway runs until December 30th. Enter below: 
a Rafflecopter giveaway
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