Interview with Anna Meriano
What kind of creative work do you do?
I’m a kid lit author. My debut novel, Love Sugar Magic: A Dash of Trouble, is a middle grade fantasy with a sequel coming out in 2019.
Had you ever been to a Worldcon before?
No, never! I’ve been to Houston comic conventions several times and I made it to one book convention a few weeks before Worldcon, but it was so amazing to find a place that celebrated and centered scifi and fantasy books specifically. It was awesome and nerdy in a way that lined up so perfectly with my interests. And of course it was made even better by having the Initiative there!
What did you expect being part of the Initiative would be like? How did your experience compare with that expectation?
I was excited but nervous about it, mostly because I had so little idea what to expect. I had all my usual social anxiety about meeting new people, fitting in, and being “Mexican enough,” but even beyond that, I worried about the problems WorldCon had with organization and treatment of marginalized guests a few weeks before the event. I was so relieved to see John speaking out and trying to make sure that the organizers did the right thing, but I think we’ve seen that nerd culture, including the Hugos, can become toxic when the wrong people get a voice, so it was a little scary to go to the convention not knowing what kind of reception we would get there.
Luckily, my experience was overwhelmingly positive. From the moment I walked into the reception, I felt so welcomed by my fellow Initiative members. Throughout the con, folks seemed excited to support and learn more about us and our work. I had such a fun time talking, eating, dancing, and attending events with old and new author friends, and seeing all the amazing artwork and talent displayed at the booth. The panels themselves were great, and I came out with so many new books on my TBR list—in English and Spanish!
Tell us about one highlight moment of your Worldcon experience.
So hard to choose! I absolutely loved hearing Smok’s poetry performance. I’m still working to become more fluent in Spanish, but the moment she took the podium, I was completely drawn into her words. It’s been great finding her YouTube channel so I can relive the brilliance and see the artistic videos that go with her poems.
Runner-up moment: eating free food, talking linguistics and AmLo with Iliana in the Con Suite!
Recommend any or all of the following: a song, a written work, a piece of visual art, and a movie. Tell us why you love them!
Definitely recommend checking out Smok’s videos (linked above) and all of the great books, comics, and artwork of the other Mexicanx Initiative members! At Worldcon I was also lucky to hang out a bit with Rebecca Roanhorse, whose novel Trail of Lightning was absolutely fantastic and impossible to put down.
Totally unrelated to Worldcon or the Initiative: I was on Netflix recently looking for new musicals to watch and I stumbled upon Holy Camp! (Spanish title: La Llamada) which is a completely fun, campy, absurd movie set in a summer camp in Spain where the main character starts having holy visions of a man serenading her with Whitney Houston songs in a sequined tux. It was apparently a popular musical before it became a film so maybe other people already know about it, but it was new to me and I had a lot of fun with its tongue-in-cheek take on religion and jukebox musicals.
What was the funniest thing that happened during your trip?
I really enjoyed going to the Steampunk Ball with some members of the Initiative and dancing the first few dances together. We also played with a pair of kaleidoscope steampunk goggles, which were a lot of fun.
Where should new people start familiarizing themselves with your work?
You can definitely pop over to my website to check out my books as well as some interviews and guest posts for blogs. I’m also on Twitter a lot, and you should be able to find Love Sugar Magic: A Dash of Trouble on the middle grade or young readers shelf of your local English or German bookstore! (Still waiting to see if someone will publish it in Spanish).