Q: What inspired you to write The Sisters of Luna Island, and how did you create your character Marigold?
A: I was inspired to write The Sisters of Luna Island because I wanted to write a story about sisters.
I am extremely close with my own sister, and I've always been interested in the relationship between siblings--the natural bond formed by growing up together, the conflict and closeness, and the way we define ourselves by who our siblings are or are not. I wanted to explore the complications and the emotions of that relationship.
I also wanted to write from the perspective of the youngest sister, which is how the character of Marigold came along. I was determined to write a book where the little sister saves her big sisters as a tribute to my own little sister who has saved me so many times throughout my life.
Marigold's character developed as I considered the influence of Marigold having magic she doesn't want, being the youngest of three girls, and growing up on a small island.
But a good bit of Marigold's character simply came to me fully formed; her determination and grit, her natural optimism, and her desire for harmony were all characteristics that existed immediately in my mind.
Q: The novel is set in North Carolina--how important is setting to you in your writing?
A: Setting is very important to me in my writing. I think it establishes the tone for the entire book!
I live in the South and my novels are set there as well because I love the quirky and friendly nature of small Southern towns. I also am happiest when I'm near a body of water, which is why my books tend to take place in towns near oceans or rivers.
Q: The Kirkus review of the book says, “This is a captivating fantasy with a touch of mystery centered around family.” What do you think of that description, and what do you see as the role of fantasy and magic in the book?
A: I was delighted by the Kirkus review! That quote does a great job of capturing what the book is about--magic, family, and yes, a little mystery.
I like to use fantasy and magic in my writing as a way of addressing tougher issues in a more lighthearted manner. In this book, magic is used as a way to discuss personal responsibility and the consequences of decisions, as well as the importance of remaining true to yourself and your own nature.
Q: What do you hope readers take away from the story?
A: A major theme of the novel is standing up for yourself and being proud of who you are. I hope readers will take away the message that it is important to celebrate your differences and your own unique talents.
Q: What are you working on now?
A: I'm working on a new middle grade novel. It's got a touch of horror and mystery, and also deals with grief and recovery from loss.
Q: Anything else we should know?
A: I love writing for the middle grade age range! This is the time when kids really learn to love reading, and it's an honor that my books get to play a small part of that journey for some kids.
Thanks again for including me on your blog!
--Interview with Deborah Kalb