My debut novel is coming out in November 2018 from Amberjack Publishing, and I'm excited about the other authors whose first books come out this year. This is part of an occasional series of interviews with other debut authors.
Today we welcome Anna Quinn, author of The Night Child, about Nora Brown, a young mother and high-school English teacher, whose unremembered childhood trauma returns to threaten her sanity in the form of a child named Margaret. This examines the fragile line between past and present—it is a story of resilience, hope, and the capacity of the mind, body, and spirit to save itself despite all odds. I love stories that consider the impact of the past on the present, so I'm excited to read this one. Take a look at the cool cover!
Here's what Pam Houston, author of Cowboys Are My Weakness thought of the book:
“Packed with riveting detail and radical emotional honesty, motored by a powerful (what I think of as a “life depends upon it”) authorial voice, this book does at least fifteen things novels are not supposed to be able to do. I won’t name them, but I will tell you that it will stand you up against yourself in all the best ways possible. You will love this night child, and she will remind you to love the night child inside you. I can’t remember a novel in which I have been more deeply emotionally invested."
Carrie: Anna, welcome! Can you share a favorite quote from the book?
Anna: “Her past—a malevolent undertow she cannot escape from simply by swimming parallel to and waiting for release; no, this is a force demanding a surrender she cannot allow.”
Carrie: Where did you get the idea for The Night Child?
Anna: The Night Child was born from my memoir. When I finished writing the memoir, deeply cathartic as it was, it still wasn’t the story I most wanted to write, but I wasn’t able to articulate why. Weeks later another story began to push up, a story with similar themes to the memoir (identity, power imbalance, betrayal, resilience, hope) a story that wanted to go beyond my singular experience—beyond the way I’d been telling it. I realized the problem was in the form—the memoir wanted to breathe, break free, it wanted to be a novel.
Carrie: Can you tell us something that we couldn't pick up from the jacket copy?
Anna: Literature shaped Nora’s identity as a feminist, teacher and mother. The following books are mentioned in The Night Child:
- To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
- The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
- The Important Book by Margaret Wise Brown
- The Tempest by William Shakespeare
- Hamlet by William Shakespeare
- The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
- The Crabapple Fairy by Cicely Mary Barker
- The Book of Light by Lucille Clifton
- Man and His Symbols by Carl Jung
- Lord of The Flies by William Golding
- Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes by Edith Hamilton
Carrie: Who's your favorite character?
Anna: I love Margaret. She is a fierce six-year old who attempts to save the protagonist, Nora, and her daughter, Fiona, from a terrible danger. Margaret’s courageousness both gutted and inspired me beyond measure.
Carrie: Anna, thanks for talking about your exciting book! Here's where you can find the book: https://www.amazon.com/Night-Child-Novel-Anna-Quinn, or Anna: https://annamquinn.com/
Anna Quinn is a writer, teacher, and the owner of The Writers’ Workshoppe and Imprint Books in Port Townsend, WA. She has thirty years of experience teaching and leading writing workshops across the country. Her writing has appeared in various literary journals and texts, including Literature Circles and Response, Practical Aspects of Authentic Assessment, Instructor, Tidepools, IS Literary Magazine, Manifest-Station, Lit-Fest Anthology, 2016, and Washington 129 Anthology.