A Dash of Trouble is the kind of book that makes you smile as you read. Eleven year old Leo is impetuous, mischievous, curious and smart. When she discovers that she’s a witch, she embraces magic in a way that surprises everyone around her. There are so many things to love about this book. Leo is part of a loving Mexican family who owns a bakery. They also happen to be brujas! Love the premise, the setting and how Meriano sprinkles Spanish throughout the book. It’s filled with love and laughter and warmth and the true angst and growing pains that come with being the youngest.
Themes of friendship, siblings, family ties, integrity, and understanding who you are will evoke discussion with your tween. This is a must read for all ages!
I’m excited to interview author, Anna Meriano, for Writer’s Rumpus!
Kirsti Call: My kids and I loved your book, Love, Sugar, Magic: A Dash of Trouble, especially because of the large family (we’re a family of 7!). What inspired the story?
Anna Meriano: The story was written through Cake Literary, a packaging company run by Dhonielle Clayton and Sona Charaipotra, so the initial inspiration is theirs. But to write the large Logroño family, I drew on my mom’s experience of growing up the eighth of nine kids, and one of six sisters! Cake Literary is interested in helping put more diverse fantasy on the shelves, and I was drawn to their concept because I absolutely love stories that bring magic into the real world.
KC: What is your favorite scene in the book?
AM: Always a tough call, but I think right now it’s the two scenes where Leo tries out her first spells and talks to her two oldest sisters about her family’s magic. One of those scenes involves flying cookies and can be seen on the cover of the book. I loved writing these two scenes because they are both so full of fun and joy—exactly the kind of magic I wanted to read about when I was Leo’s age.
KC: What is your favorite story that you’ve written and why?
AM: This is such a tough question! There are always things I love in every story I write, but I honestly think that Love Sugar Magic is my favorite, just because it’s required more effort than anything I’ve ever done, and because I got to work on it alongside so many smart, talented collaborators. I definitely hope that I will someday love the sequel even more, but right now it’s still in early draft form and not quite as lovable…
KC: What other projects are you working on?
AM: As I just mentioned, I am in revisions with the Love Sugar Magic sequel! It’s been so much fun to expand Leo’s story and world, especially in terms of the magic system and the population of the town of Rose Hill. I also have a contemporary YA about fandoms and sports (muggle quidditch, to be exact) that I’m revising with my agent Victoria Marini.
KC: What advice would you give aspiring kidlit authors?
AM: Read and write! And if you’re up for it (I know this doesn’t work for everyone), I’ve always found it very helpful to reread my favorite books. The third or fourth read is when I start to see beyond my feelings about the story and start recognizing the structure of the story and how the author crafted it.
On the more business side of things, I’ve found that finding people who have similar writing goals is amazingly helpful. I wrote a novel in middle school because my best friend was also writing a novel and we encouraged each other and swapped work. I wrote my novel in grad school because my roommate and classmate helped me stay accountable. In general, the more you can be around people who are doing or have done what you want to do, the less impossible it seems.
Anna Meriano Is the author of Love Sugar Magic: A Dash of Trouble. She grew up in Houston with an older brother and a younger brother, but (tragically) no sisters. She graduated from Rice University with a degree in English and earned her MFA in creative writing with an emphasis on writing for children from the New School in New York. She has taught creative writing and high school English and works as a writing tutor. Anna likes reading, knitting, playing full-contact quidditch, and singing along to songs in English, Spanish, and ASL. Anna still lives in Houston with her dog, Cisco. Her favorite baked goods are the kind that don’t fly away before you eat them.