Maika Branch is our featured author on this month. It is a notable accomplishment to have two novels published but is even more newsworthy when the author is in their early teens. She has the pleasant distinction of being the youngest author on the Scribbler.
4Q: Please tell us about yourself Maika, the young lady
MB: Maika the person? Yes, I believe she's still in there somewhere. Well, I'm thirteen years old and counting, and have been told many times that I have an unhealthy addiction to books. Or stories in general, especially fantasy. Mystery is ok. Too many clichés.
I love snakes, rain over sun, and smile at strangers for no apparent reason. Surprisingly, aside from being an author, my life is pretty normal. My mother is Dutch and my father is Acadian, so I can get by in three separate languages. I go to middle school, in seventh grade. Writing and reading are my main hobbies. Aside from that, I draw, paint, make videos, and sing.
4Q. Your mother, Lidia, has been a guest on the Scribbler (see here) and is an accomplished author also. How have her accomplishments inspired you?
MB: My mother has been an inspiration in so many ways. Her book, Baby Jonah, is her memoir about how she gave birth to my older brother Jonah (before the age of Maika). She has endured so much, has done so much, it was only through her encouragement and patience that I ever wrote a book at all.
4Q: Please tell us a childhood anecdote or story.
MB: A childhood story? Well, let's see. As a child, a toddler really, I wanted desperately to go to school. From what I had heard, kindergarten was an amazing place filled with learning, fun, and friends. So when my older brother by two years, Jonah, was sent off without me, I was, of course, devastated. I didn't understand why I couldn't go on the huge yellow bus with my brother. Thankfully, my mother let me have homework, instructing me to write Z's all over a blank page. That was the first story I've ever written.
4Q: To date you have published two novels. Please tell us about them.
MB: My two novels, Calagarmii Cliffs and Sisters of Serenah, are both fantasy genre, the former for preteens and the latter for young adults. My first, Calagarmii Cliffs is about two young girls, Emma and Kaila, as they go on a class field trip to the legendary Calagarmii Cliffs (inspired by the Hopewell Rocks). However, the duo get more than they bargained for when they get lost in one of the many caves there, in which they discover a magical world unlike anything they've ever known. With the help of Stefia, a local girl, and Squirt, a courageous creature, the group find themselves dealing with cunning spirits and battling evil foes to get back home.
My second and newest novel, Sisters of Serenah, follows the story of two sisters – Larah and Skye – teens who have lived in the forest of Serenah for as long as they can remember. The two are hunter-gatherers, each with the power to shape-shift into different animals, and live alone. Alone, that is, until Skye finds a boy in the snow. A human. His name is Tai, and he comes from a mythical place called a cit-ai, having accidentally found his way here. He learns to hunt, build, and live in the forest. Perhaps he would go his own way and explore. But suddenly that is impossible. A hurricane wreaks havoc on the forest, and the three are suddenly forced to work together and leave the only place they know to find a new home.
An excerpt from Sisters of Serenah
She soared upwards, catching a gust of wind and letting it carry her. She then used her powerful wings to go yet higher, clearing the treetops and grazing the clouds. Flying was easy. For a single blissful moment, she was so caught in flying that she forgot all about the race back to camp. She swooped down and soared back up, spinning and falling, free and without worry; she could dance and fly easily in the air...
Pay attention, Skye! she chided herself. Skye stopped in her dance and looked down. Where was Larah? She was probably ahead now. Later, when dinner was cooking, she could play sky games. Skye was very competitive, but stubborn. She loved a challenge.
Thank you Maika for being our guest this
week on the Scribbler. Discover more about
this clever storyteller by visiting her
this clever storyteller by visiting her
Next week the Scribbler is pleased to post
another 4Q Interview with professional artist
Nicole Tremblay of Shediac, New Brunswick.
A very talented lady.
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