How many of us have an undercover desire to publish a novel? Maple Grove resident Anastacia Hawkins has turned her long-time habit of writing into a debut fantasy adventure novel for preteens entitled Larkspur. It follows the journey of Taylor and Leslie, two young dancers who find themselves lost in the enchanted land of Larkspur. They discover the risks they are willing to take for friendship along with the depths of their own courage and faith amongst Areli, the amazing people of light, in a land where beauty and the arts reign and magic abounds.
Maple Grove Magazine: When did you begin writing?
Anastacia Hawkins: I first discovered a love for writing in elementary school. I went on to earn a degree in English/Communications. But writing was only a hobby and terrific therapy for many years. In my thirties, I came across an ad for the Institute of Children’s Literature. The ad said, “We’re looking for people to write children’s books!” I was intrigued. I signed up for their course “Writing for Children and Teenagers”. I had discovered my passion: writing for children!
MGM: When did you start your first book?
AH: I began writing Larkspur in the summer of 2009, and completed it a year later. Larkspur's sequel was written in 3 months.
MGM: Tell me about the process of getting the book published.
AH: Being a new author is difficult in the publishing world. The manuscript was rejected by several companies before being picked up by Tate Publishing. The process from signing the contract to holding Larkspur in my hands took 12 months.
MGM: What inspired the story?
AH: At age 11, my daughter was struggling to find a book that really grabbed her attention. She loved books about magic and friendship, but also loved to dance, and wanted to read a story with dancers as the protagonists. Until then, I had only written short stories, but when your child sincerely asks you to write a book for them… well, could you say no?
MGM: What are you doing now?
AH: I work as a nanny for two wonderful families. My job keeps me in touch with children and allows me time to write during naps.I have completed a middle grade Christian novel for which I am looking for a publisher, and am working on a new novel that is a new take on a classic tale. I also enjoy posting short stories on my website and Tumblr account. Larkspur Academy is a series of short stories involving the characters from the books. I also do author presentations at local elementary schools.
Excerpt from Larkspur:
"Redmond was excited about hearing Luminara’s voice. It made her feel closer somehow, and he knew she was safe. He just didn’t know if he would ever see her again. If they couldn’t figure out the dance dilemma before the day after tomorrow,what would happen to Luminara? If she was as old as Taylor and Leslie said, how much longer could she live in the Earthly Realm? He missed her with all his heart, but he knew that Larkspur needed him right now. Claire needed him, and this little group of brave souls needed him. He needed more time to tap into his box of wisdom, as Leslie had called it, but right now he needed to focus on finding Sugar. This tunnel would be a perfect hideout for all ofthem until he had more answers."
Excerpts reprinted with the permission of the author.