We had the good fortune of connecting with Anna Meriano and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Anna, what is the most important factor behind your success?
My success as a writer absolutely depends on the support of the communities I’m part of. Writing books is an extremely collaborative process, and sometimes that fact gets lost since readers only really see the author’s name on the spine. Besides all the editors, designers, my agent, artists, publicists, and others who put in work to make each of my books the best it can be, I also rely on my friends and fellow writers to help me navigate the world of publishing. I’ve been very lucky to connect with Cake Literary, the packaging company that started me on the road to writing my middle grade series, Las Musas Books, a collective of debut and sophomore Latinx kidlit authors, and other groups (both formal and informal) of writers on social media and in person. And of course, I also get so much support from the bloggers, librarians, and teachers who get the books into the hands of readers. I try to be pretty open about how much of my job doesn’t exist without a huge support system, and do my best to boost other authors and their teams too.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I write novels for kids and teens. My first series, Love Sugar Magic, is a fantasy series for middle grade (ages 8-12) about a family of brujas who run a bakery in a small town in Texas. It’s full of joy and mischief and sisters and delicious baked goods, and it’s been so much fun to see the way readers fall in love with the characters (and the recipes) from the book. My upcoming YA novel, This Is How We Fly, is a contemporary Cinderella story set in Houston. It follows a high school graduate who joins a quidditch team the summer before college. Since I played quidditch in college and beyond, I am really excited for this book to show off the amazing community I found through the sport. It’s also coming out at an unfortunate time for the fandom, when its creator is attacking marginalized communities in her new books, so it’s even more important to me that we celebrate what’s inclusive and empowering about fan communities without staying too stuck in a fantasy world built on prejudice. The thing I’m most proud of in all my work is creating characters that readers can connect with, that they see themselves in or want to be friends with. That’s what made me love reading as a kid, so that’s what I really hope I put into my books.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I’ve been in this situation a lot, so I should have a good itinerary set, but actually I’m hilariously bad at hosting people around Houston–but I try my best! I always like to bring people to the Menil park if the weather is nice, and I have a lot of restaurants I love to show off like House of Pies, Hobbit Cafe, and 100% Taquito. Since my friends tend to be book people, we’ll usually hit up Half Price and Brazos Bookstore, and coffee shops like Black Hole or Campesino. I love Hermann Park and the Museum district but don’t spend as much time there as I would like, so showing off the city would be a great excuse to check out what’s new at The MFAH or the Museum of Natural Science. Depending on how much time we have, I might drive my guests down to Galveston and ride the ferry to Bolivar for some relaxing beach time. I’m not super into the bar scene, but I like places that are kind of low-key like Under the Volcano or The Harp, and for a fun night out I would take people to kareoke at Genji! I feel like I’m exposing how uncool (and Montrose-based) I am here, but that’s accurate so oh well!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Since I already talked a lot about my writing communities, I think I’ll give a shoutout to the quidditch community, especially my team the Houston Cosmos! My upcoming YA novel explores real world quidditch, and my teammates and friends around the world have been so supportive as I wrote and now as I market the book.
Rita Meriano, Debbie Kovacs