Author Interview: Anna-Marie McLemore on Representation & Their Writing Journey

By Suma Subramaniam

We’re thrilled to welcome Anna-Marie McLemore to Cynsations today.

When you look back on your writing journey, what are the changes that stand out?

I’ve gone from coming from a place of thinking I had to apologize for my identities—especially my intersectional identities like being queer and Latinx—and thinking I had to apologize for including them in my stories, to a place of knowing my communities belong on the page.

Like so many of us, my identity is a work-in-progress—I recently came out as trans and nonbinary—but my work is becoming more and more of a place where I get to celebrate my communities, to show our magic.

Could you tell us about your latest book?

In The Mirror Season (Feiwel & Friends, 2021), two sexual assault survivors—a queer Latina girl and a white boy—find their lives and fates unexpectedly intertwined during a season of enchanted pan dulce and secret forests.

If you could tell your younger writer-self anything, what would it be?

“You weren’t asking for it.”

What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?

I’m dyslexic, so reading was/still can be difficult for me. I was reading picture books long past the age most of my peers were (I joyfully and proudly continue to read them today), and one of my most profound experiences reading a picture book was a story in which the color brown was celebrated as beautiful.

That sounds like a small thing, but to me, as a mixed-race Latinx kid, it was the world.

What are you working on next?

Though I can’t tell too much just yet, I’m working on a book about neurodiversity, nonbinary identity, and queer, trans, Latinx magic, and I can’t wait to share more soon.

Thank you so much for having me!

Cynsational Notes

Anna-Marie McLemore (they/them) is a queer, Latinx, nonbinary author who grew up hearing la llorona in the Santa Ana winds.

Their books include:

  • The Weight Of Feathers (Thomas Dunne Books, 2015), a 2016 William C. Morris YA Debut Award Finalist;
  • Stonewall Honor Book When The Moon Was Ours (Thomas Dunne Books, 2016), which was longlisted for the National Book Award in Young People’s Literature and was the winner of the Otherwise Award (formerly the James Tiptree Jr. Award);
  • Wild Beauty (Feiwel & Friends, 2017), a Kirkus, School Library Journal, and Booklist best book of 2017;
  • Blanca & Roja (Feiwel & Friends, 2018), which was a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice and was recently named one of TIME Magazine’s 100 Best Fantasy Novels of All Time;
  • Dark And Deepest Red (Feiwel & Friends, 2020), a Winter 2020 Indie Next List title;
  • and The Mirror Season (Feiwel & Friends, 2021).

They can be found at and on Twitter at @LaAnnaMarie.

Suma Subramaniam is the contributing author of The Hero Next Door (Penguin Random House, 2019). She is also the author of Centaurs (Capstone, 2021), Fairies (Capstone, 2021), She Sang For India: How MS Subbulakshmi Used Her Voice For Change (Macmillan FSG, 2022), and Namaste Is A Greeting (Candlewick, 2022).

She is the Chair of the Children’s Internship Grant Committee at We Need Diverse Books and Mentorship Program Coordinator for SCBWI Western Washington. She hires tech professionals for a leading software company during the day and is a writer by night.

Suma has an MFA in Creative Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts and degrees in computer science and management. Visit her website at