Sometimes a near-magical connection is sparked between a manuscript and the agent who will represent it in the marketplace. Ammi-Joan Paquette’s experience with Elaine Vicker’s LIKE MAGIC crackled with just such a connection. I asked her about it.
Can to tell us a bit about how you and Elaine came to work together? Was LIKE MAGIC the manuscript she originally queried?
No, she queried me—and I signed her—with a different manuscript, which I dearly love as well. But as soon as I read the opening lines of LIKE MAGIC, I was hooked! I knew this was something truly special.
What first struck you about LIKE MAGIC?
Hands down, the voice! There’s a gentle authenticity and tender realism that feels like stepping inside a hug. These girls are so real, and so lovable, that you just can’t wait to be part of their world.
Would you say you’re most like Grace, Jada, or Malia? Why?
You know—I kept going back and forth on one or the other, and finally I realized that I have a little bit of each of the girls in me: I’m bookish and on the quiet side, like Grace; when I was young I moved a lot like Jada, and found myself constantly having to start over; and, like Malia, I don’t always do the best with sudden change. I guess it’s little wonder I fell hard for this story.
What would you most like to find in a magical library treasure box?
Are we talking proper magic? If so, I have this particular childhood photo that I lost somehow many years ago. I would be tickled pink to one day open a magical library box and find that photo inside!
Other than writing, which art form means the most to you and why?
I love playing guitar, though I don’t do it very often at all. It’s got fond ties to my mom and my childhood. I also have a particular love for watercolor painting—or I should say, the idea of it, as I haven’t done more than think about someday taking a class or two!
Here’s an adorable photo of Ammi-Joan at around ten years old, note the guitar in the background.
Jason Gallaher asked this question while interviewing Megan Wagner Lloyd. Elaine originally asked it of Pat Zietlow Miller. Now that we’re circling back to Elaine, I think I can safely say that this final question is an EMU’S DEBUTS classic.
Please finish this statement: The perfect reader for LIKE MAGIC is…
Every reader who has ever longed for—and found!—a true friend; for anyone who believes in everyday magic.
Thank you, Ammi-Joan. Elaine and LIKE MAGIC have certainly found such a true friend in you!
I spotted LIKE MAGIC on the shelf in my local bookstore, BookEnds in Winchester, MA. Why not check your local too? I know if they don’t have LIKE MAGIC on hand (Sold out! Hooray!) they’d be happy to order it for you.
I write for young people and live to make kids laugh. My picture book BABYMOON celebrates the birth of a new family and is coming from Candlewick Press. WHAT MISS MITCHELL SAW, a narrative nonfiction picture book, is coming in spring 2019 from Simon & Schuster/Beach Lane Books and will be illustrated by Diana Sudyka. I’m represented by Ammi-Joan Paquette.