Today is my stop on the blog tour for Anna-Marie McLemore’s beautiful novel, THE WEIGHT OF FEATHERS.
Kate Ormand: The circus is such an intriguing setting. Can you tell us about the one featured in THE WEIGHT OF FEATHERS?
Anna-Marie McLemore: Thank you so much! THE WEIGHT OF FEATHERS centers on two rival traveling shows. One is a group of performing mermaids who swim in rivers and lakes, the other is a family descended from a long line of tightrope walkers, who now wear wings and dance in the tallest trees.
KO: From the book description, we get a Romeo and Juliet vibe with the mention of the two rivalling families. Can you tell us about the Palomas and the Corbeaus?
AMM: The Palomas are the performing mermaids, and the Corbeaus are the winged tree-climbers. They’ve been in a feud for a generation, and competing with each other for an audience for longer than that. But just as important as their circuses are their cultures. The Palomas are Mexican-American, and the Corbeaus are French-Romani. Lace and Cluck’s heritages are as central to their lives as their families’ unusual professions.
KO: Beautiful cover art! Can you give us a breakdown of how your cover fits your story?
AMM: Thank you so much! I am absolutely thrilled with how the cover designer captured the story. She so beautifully combined the feel of a contemporary setting with the sense of the magical. And there are details she incorporated—the red on the feathers, the way the branches are drawn, even Cluck’s clothes—that take on more meaning during the story.
KO: And to wrap up, can we end with a quote from THE WEIGHT OF FEATHERS?
AMM: “Her hand found the feathers under his hair, soft and thick as river grass, and she kissed him back. She opened her mouth to his and pretended the sky was water.”
KO: Thank you, Anna-Marie!
AMM: Thank you so much for having me, Kate!
Two proud families with strong values and individual travelling shows have a long history of rivalry. The sequinned Palomas swim wearing mermaid tails and the winged Corbeaus walk along the branches of the tallest trees. Both families shield their secrets and project their hostility and, as time passes, rivals become enemies, and the feuding families spiral down a path of fistfights, sabotage, and superstition. When a life-threatening accident brings Lace Paloma and Cluck Corbeau together, the only life they’ve known is about to fall apart.
With a Romeo and Juliet vibe, competing circuses, and a contemporary setting laced with quiet magic, this is one of the most gorgeous books I’ve ever read. The writing was breath-taking at times, carrying rich description and characters to fall in and out of love with. An achingly beautiful story of forbidden love, the dangers of falling, and the beauty of breaking the surface.
The Night Circus meets Romeo and Juliet in this stunning young adult novel about two teens who fall in love despite the almost impossible odds against them. The Palomas and the Corbeaus have long been rivals and enemies, locked in an escalating feud for over a generation. Both families make their living as traveling performers in competing shows-the Palomas swimming in mermaid exhibitions, the Corbeaus, former tightrope walkers, performing in the tallest trees they can find. Lace Paloma may be new to her family’s show, but she knows as well as anyone that the Corbeaus are pure magia negra, black magic from the devil himself. Simply touching one could mean death, and she’s been taught from birth to keep away. But when disaster strikes the small town where both families are performing, it’s a Corbeau boy, Cluck, who saves Lace’s life. And his touch immerses her in the world of the Corbeaus, where falling for him could turn his own family against him, and one misstep can be just as dangerous on the ground as it is in the trees.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Anna-Marie McLemore was born in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains and grew up in a Mexican-American family. She attended University of Southern California on a Trustee Scholarship. A Lambda Literary Fellow, she has had work featured by the Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West, CRATE Literary Magazine’s cratelit, Camera Obscura’s Bridge the Gap Series, and The Portland Review. The Weight of Feathers is her first novel.
Many thanks to St. Martin’s Press.