I love this book. It’s the perfect combination of modern, old fashioned, clever, sweet, and FUN. If you don’t believe me, you can read the reviews from all the big names (Publishers Weekly, etc.) on B&N and here’s an Examiner review of this adorable “fang-in-cheek” delight from Anne Marie Pace and Le Uyen Pham.
Although it’s great for Halloween, the message is universal — try hard, follow your dream, and practice, practice, practice! That’s a good lesson for those of us who are writers, too, because if we keep at it, maybe we can hit the big time with a winner like VAMPIRINA BALLERINA!
And now, here’s an interview with VAMPIRINA’s creator, Anne Marie Pace:
Can you tell us how this book, or any of your books, came to be published?
I have three published picture books. The first two are with Scholastic Book Clubs. My agent had sent my first Scholastic editor several manuscripts that didn’t fit Scholastic’s needs at that time, but my editor remembered my writing and when she need a book about stranger safety, she approached my agent to see if I was interested. The second book came about in a similar way, although with a different Scholastic editor. My third book, VAMPIRINA BALLERINA, which comes out this August from Disney-Hyperion, came to be published in a more typical way. I had the idea of a vampire ballerina as a joke and bounced it off my agent Linda Pratt. At first we just laughed and set it aside, but over the next few months I was drawn to develop it further. Once I had a manuscript, Linda submitted it to Disney-Hyperion. Linda also represents LeUyen Pham and knew that Uyen hoped to do a vampire book someday, so in a few weeks time, the pieces fell into place. Our editor Kevin Lewis encouraged a real collaboration between Uyen and me, in a way that many picture book authors don’t get to experience. It has been a gift to work with them.
How much of your book is autobiographical?
Although all three of my daughters had several years each of ballet lessons, I wasn’t much of a dancer myself. My mother signed me up for ballet when I was in kindergarten but I don’t think I was very good at paying attention. I do remember the dance we performed for the parents. It had a Halloween theme, and we sang, “Stirring and stirring and stirring my brew, oooooo-oooo, oooooo-oooo!” which Google tells me is a real song, not something my teacher made up. I’d call that more coincidental than autobiographical. I believe Uyen would say that there are some autobiographical elements in the illustrations.
:o) What are you working on now?
I’m working on a couple of middle-grade novels, some farther along than others. And I’ve always got picture books in the pipeline.
Tea or coffee? Flavor? Milk or sugar?
Tea. Plain black tea with milk. I like PG Tips and Twinings English Breakfast best.
What’s always in your fridge?
Dairy products: milk, cheese, yogurt. Carrot sticks. In summer, watermelon. My kids will eat two a week, easily.
Favorite comfort food?
Mashed potatoes and gravy. Pumpkin pie. Thanksgiving food, I guess.
Chocolate or some lesser nectar of the gods?
I do love chocolate, but there’s nothing like a perfectly ripe peach in summer or a perfect apple in fall.
Cat or dog?
Both, though right now we only have dogs. Cats and dogs bring their own special joys to a family.
Flats or heels?
Sadly, flats. I have foot issues and prefer walking to not walking, even if it means my feet are clunkily dressed.
We will be clunky together, Anne Marie, although it’s hard for me to associate “clunky” with you, since you’ve given us VAMPIRINA! Thanks, and everyone can learn more about Anne Marie at her website and on Twitter. Don’t you just love her photo with a little VAMPIRINA fan??