Author Spotlight: Maisy Card

In this edition of our Author Spotlight, debut novelist Maisy Card shares where she got the inspiration for her novel These Ghosts Are Family and how many people actually work on a book before it's published.
Author:
Publish date:

In this edition of our Author Spotlight, debut novelist Maisy Card shares where she got the inspiration for her novel These Ghosts Are Family and how many people actually work on a book before it's published.

Maisy Card

Photo by Marian Calle

Name (byline): Maisy Card

Literary agent (if one): Monica Odom of Odom Media Management

Book title: These Ghosts Are Family

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Expected release date: March 3, 2020

Genre/category: Literary Fiction/ Family Saga

Elevator pitch for the book (1-2 sentence pitch): Stanford Solomon has a shocking, thirty-year-old secret. And it’s about to change the lives of everyone around him. Stanford Solomon is actually Abel Paisley, a man who faked his own death and stole the identity of his best friend. These Ghosts Are Family revolves around the consequences of Abel’s decision and tells the story of the Paisley family from colonial Jamaica to present day Harlem.

Previous titles (if any) by the author: debut author

What prompted you to write this book?

I was reflecting on the state of my family when I began the book, thinking about how close I was with my extended family when we first came to America and how we’d drifted apart both geographically and emotionally over the years. My grandfather was also beginning to show signs of dementia around that time. There were so many stories about him and his past that I’d heard from others but had hardly heard anything about him out of his own mouth. I was thinking about how much of the truth would be lost when he was gone, and how as a member of the black diaspora whose ancestry has been effected by both slavery, colonialism, and immigration, I have to find a way to accept those mysteries, questions, and silences. I had the idea to create a fictional family that would mirror some of the questions I struggle with.

Maisy Card

How long did it take to go from idea to publication? And did the idea change during the process? (Explain.)

The idea for this book evolved over time. So many different iterations of it have existed, but I would say that the first real kernel began in 2006. Initially, I was writing unrelated short stories centered on Jamaican characters. Eventually I began to connect them and started to ask myself how the stories would change if they were all part of the same family. And later I decided the story should center around the actions of one member in particular, the family patriarch. We sold the book in 2018, but I also made more edits after it sold while working with my editor, including adding an additional 30,000 words.

[Read our previous Author Spotlight with Afia Atakora, author of Conjure Women.]

Were there any surprises or learning moments in the publishing process for this title? (Explain.)

I think what surprised me was how many people work on a single book. During most of the writing process, I wasn’t sure if anything that I was doing even mattered. Later, I got input from my agent, then my editor, and soon I was interacting with the art department, editorial, marketing, publicity, sales etc. So much labor, other than your own, goes into publishing a book.

Were there any surprises in the writing process for this book? (Explain.)

I think my style or voice shifted over time. I began writing this book it in my early twenties and finished in my mid-thirties. The way I write stories and my voice as a writer has really changed. I think the structure of this particular book—a novel in stories—absorbs that shift in my style and uses it to the different characters’ advantages, without it becoming jarring.

What do you hope readers will get out of your book?

I hope they start to reflect on the questions they have about their own familes and the stories that were never told. I hope it leads them to ask questions to their parents, their grandparents, etc. And to begin to document those family stories while they still can.

If you could share one piece of advice with other authors, what would it be?

Find a writing buddy or join a writing group. Writing can be very lonely, and it can be hard to stay motivated on a long project. It’s great to have people to hold you accountable.

Maisy Card | These Ghosts Are Family

Order your copy of These Ghosts Are Family by Maisy Card.

IndieBound | Barnes & Noble | Books a Million | Amazon

[WD uses affiliate links.]

Maisy Card holds an MFA in Fiction from Brooklyn College and is a public librarian. Her writing has appeared in Lenny LetterSchool Library JournalAgniSycamore ReviewLiars’ League NYC, and Ampersand Review. Maisy was born in St. Catherine, Jamaica, but was raised in Queens, New York. Maisy earned an MLIS from Rutgers University and a BA in English and American Studies from Wesleyan University. She is the author of These Ghosts Are Family.

Amorak Huey: On Stalling Out After Publication

Amorak Huey: On Stalling Out After Publication

Poet Amorak Huey hit a creative roadblock after publishing his latest poetry collection Dad Jokes From Late in the Patriarchy. He shares his cure (and more!) in this article.

From Script

New Original Podcasts, Videos, and Understanding Data as a Screenwriter (From Script)

In this week’s round-up brought to us by ScriptMag.com, Script releases brand new audible and visual content!

Summer Writing Activities for Writers

8 Summer Writing Activities for Writers

Summer is upon us, so here are 8 summer writing activities for writers to consider as the temperature rises.

Books and Authors to Check Out in 2021

71 Books and Authors to Check Out in 2021!

Need a book to read in 2021? Want to find a new author to check out? Then, explore this list of 71 books and authors featured in our author spotlight series in a variety of genres.

How Do I Get My Poetry Published?

How Do I Get My Poetry Published?

Learn how to get your poetry published, whether you're trying to get a poem or an entire book of poems published.

Dyslexia Is a Writer's Superpower (With Help)

Dyslexia Is a Writer's Superpower (With Help)

Author PJ Manney shares how dyslexia, dysgraphia, and dyscalculia should not be viewed as impediments to becoming a writer. Rather, they should be viewed as writing superpowers, especially when paired with certain technologies.

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Falsely Accused

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Falsely Accused

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, have a character get falsely accused for something.

By Any Means Necessary: Finding Unorthodox Ways to Break-In

By Any Means Necessary: Finding Unorthodox Ways to Break-In

Novelist D. Eric Maikranz gives advice for how to get your readers to sit up and take notice of your work in untraditional ways.

M.M. Chouinard: On Jumping From One Project to Another

M.M. Chouinard: On Jumping From One Project to Another

Novelist M.M. Chouinard immediately started writing her second book after finishing her first and shares here why that was the best decision she could have made.