So, Joanne, Musical Youth…What is your book about?
Okay, the book is about a girl who is a loner, a girl who plays guitar, a girl who doesn’t believe in herself, who kind of wants to disappear, it’s about how she flowers during a summer of musical theatre. The book is also about a boy who knows his ability and unlike the girl feels part of a family, traditional and non-traditional, a boy who also has his own journey of discovery during that summer. It’s about this boy and girl bonding over a shared love of music, and it’s about the ways they are connected that they don’t even know. It’s about these kids, the boy and the girl, and others who learn what they can do.
What was your inspiration for it?
I run a writing programme in Antigua and Barbuda, the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize, designed to nurture the literary and visual arts, these kids in Musical Youth are involved in the performing arts, and since they write, some of them, also the literary arts, but there’s a similar belief in the power of the arts to help young people find their voice, that runs through both that programme and this novel. As for the specific inspiration, I don’t know. These kids just started telling me their story one foreday morning; they were insistent about it, and I did what I always try to do when characters show up, I listen, I write, and when the tale is told, the haunting is over, and they leave.