Happy Friday Everyone! Joining us today is Anna Meriano, author of the LOVE SUGAR MAGIC series. Here’s a quick background:
The series centers on Leo Logroño, the youngest in a family of Mexican-American sisters in small-town Rose Hill, Texas. Leo’s family runs the beloved Amor y Azucar panaderia, and it’s truly a magical place. TRULY. Little Leo learns in book one that she and her sisters are the next generation of bakery brujas, and each of them is imbued with a special power of her own. But no one told Leo, because she’s too young to use her magic. So of course she dives headfirst into it, and chaos ensues. In book three, titled A Mixture of Mischief (released this past February 4), it’s spring in Rose Hill, and the bakery’s got some stiff competition in the new Honeybees across town. Plus, Leo still hasn’t figured out what her magical powers are. Will a visit from her long lost Abuelo finally clear things up?
Hi Anna! Thanks for joining us on ALWAYS in the MIDDLE.
Tell us about your journey. How did a girl from Texas end up being a writer?
I started writing at a young age (like, “drawing squiggles on a sheet of paper and calling it a story” young), and officially decided I wanted to become an author around fourth or fifth grade when I read The School Story by Andrew Clements. I was lucky to have teachers and professors who let me write fiction for my finals, and parents who could support me when I went to graduate school in New York, and I was very lucky to meet CAKE Literary founders Dhonielle Clayton and Sona Charaipotra who started me on the LOVE SUGAR MAGIC adventure.
It really is the connections you make in life that can make a difference. Was the original plan to make LOVE SUGAR MAGIC a series?
Yes! I think so! I’m 99% sure that was something I discussed with Dhonielle and Sona in our first ever meeting about the project. The idea of Leo discovering her family’s baking brujería opened up too many interesting avenues to be a standalone story.
Food is the centerpiece of this series. Does this come from your own culinary experiences?
Well, I am not a cook or a baker myself, but I do think food is intimately connected to family and culture, and many people have some connection with a certain food that makes them feel safe or loved. So I do put my feelings about food into the books, and I do give Leo’s family some signature dishes that my family also cooks (like the migas in the first book), but a lot of Leo’s food traditions are specific to a family of bakers, which my family is not.
Many of my readers are authors or on the road to being one. What does your writing process look like?
It looks a little different every time, but for this series I usually worked from an outline and wrote the manuscript in order from beginning to end by hand. Then I typed it all up, often while making large-scale changes like deleting scenes or fixing plot holes or switching the order of things. Then I got feedback and worked on revisions.
For this book specifically I also gave myself permission to throw in things just because I wanted to. Since it was the end of the trilogy, I let myself explore tangents and topics that had been on my mind while writing the other books, but had never made it in. I did still end up cutting some of those things, but others became important character motivations or even arcs.
Your main character, Leo, wants to discover her magical power. What would be the magic power you’d choose for yourself?
Oooh, no spoilers but I would really like to have Leo’s power… I would also definitely like Marisol’s power of conjuring up small items, which is the one I would actually have if I followed the rules of my own magic system. Or, if I could pick any power at all, I would like to have pyrokinesis like the Human Torch!
Yes, there are times Leo’s newfound ability would come in handy. What is on the horizon for your writing career?
I’m venturing into YA soon with a contemporary novel about a muggle quidditch team (title forthcoming), which is scheduled for fall of this year! I’m not sure yet what’s next for me in middle grade, but I’ve got several possible projects I’m excited about.
Thanks for your time, Anna. You can find Anna at https://www.annameriano.com/ and on Twitter at https://twitter.com/AnnaMisboring.
Hurry back after the weekend for Marvelous Middle Grade Monday and my review of LOVE SUGAR MAGIC A Mixture of Mischief. If you plan on posting something middle grade related next week here are the details on how to join the celebration: