|Maisy Card, photo by Marian Calle|
Maisy Card is the author of the new novel These Ghosts Are Family. Her work has appeared in a variety of publications, including School Library Journal and Lenny Letter. She is a public librarian.
Q: You write, "Writing this novel has helped me make peace with all the aspects of my family history that are unknown or unresolved." Can you say more about that?
A: There's so much of our history that's been obscured and erased by slavery and colonialism. It was refreshing to find a way to through that, to write this alternative family and reveal a hidden history, even if it's a fictional one.
Q: The novel stretches over several centuries. Did you need to do any research to write it, and if so, did you learn anything that especially surprised you?
A: Yes, I did a ton of research. I thought I knew a lot about slavery but reading first-hand accounts were eye opening. Some of the stuff I learned about the apprenticeship system, which some former slaves argued was even more brutal than slavery, was really fascinating, but there was no place for it in the book.
Q: The book takes place in New York City and Jamaica. How important is setting to you in your work?
A: I'm really inspired by setting. It was important for me to convey how setting shaped the characters. Writing about Jamaica after having been away so long was especially exciting and a good way for me to reconnect with the place I was born and to think about how it shaped me.
Q: The Kirkus Review of the book says, "We all hunger for something, she tells us: love, acceptance, freedom, an understanding of the past to know who we are, because our lives are never just our own." What do you think of that assessment?
A: I love that they really got the last section of the book. It ends with a kind of allegory and I think some people were confused. But yes, hunger is an important recurring theme in the book, especially the hunger for blood ties and a nurturing family.
Q: What are you working on now?
A: I'm working on a novel that takes place in Florida. It's about a group of home health aides trying to organize a union at a wealthy retirement community.
Q: Anything else we should know?
A: I'll be doing some local events to promote the book. If you're in the Northeast, visit my website, maisycard.com to view the dates and locations.
--Interview with Deborah Kalb