Stacy Hackney Interview

This Richmond author offers a kid’s book about adventure, magic, and sisterhood.

The Sisters of Luna Island by Stacy Hackney. Simon & Schuster. pp. 336. $17.99 


Konstantin Rega: have you always wanted to be a writer?

Stacy Hackney: Well, I grew up in Fairfax, and like a lot of writers I was a huge reader—my father had a lot of books. I also remember trying to coerce the neighborhood kids to act in the plays that I would make up. But I never really imagined that I could make a career out of it. So I went to law school. After working as a lawyer for several years though, I realized how much I missed being creative. About 15 year ago I moved to Richmond with my husband and my first book came out in 2020.

And where did your first book, Forever Glimmer Creek, originate from?

After I started to write again for myself and then seriously, it was about ten years before I got what would be Forever Glimmer Creek published. I was inspired partly by our cottage in Whitestone. Being in that area made me want to write about a small, waterside town, and the people there are just wonderful.

Was The Sisters of Luna Island similarly inspired?

Well, that actually came from a totally different region. My family spends summers in Bald Head Island in North Carolina, and Luna Island is set in North Carolina. But also, I really wanted to write a book about siblings. I am very close with my sister. And I’ve always found sibling relationships fascinating because they are the only people who really share your version of home through childhood. They know you before you grow up and learn how to protect yourself from the rest of the world.  

For me, I write what I enjoy reading. I like to read books that have a little bit of magic, that are heartwarming, and have some adventure. I grew up reading classic children’s books like the Anne Green Gables series as well as Newbury Medalist Robin McKinley’s books. In my book, the main character, Marigold, learns to stand up for herself, for her family, and that she needs to believe in her own abilities to save her family.

How do isolation and community play a part in the story?

I was writing a lot of this during the pandemic. Watching my own children be on their own more and have to rely on each other certainly influenced how the characters interacted with one another.

In my first book, community is a really important part of the book: how it can influence and shape who you become. It also comes into play in Luna Island, as well. But it’s different because the sisters start off very isolated. Marigold, especially, is cut off from her community.

In your book, the sisters use “Aromagic.” Can you explain this?

I actually invented that partly because I was fascinated with the history of perfume. A lot of original perfumers were women (all the way back to ancient Egypt), and it’s connected a lot of times with alchemy. In the old days, people thought there was a sort of magical influence to perfume. And since I hadn’t read a lot of books that use scent as magic, I thought it would be interesting as a magic system. 

And so, what do you want your readers to get out of your books?

One, there are different ways of looking at how to handle a particular problem, and often there is no right or wrong way, never black and white. That’s something Marigold learns throughout the course of the book. Another thing is that I want kids to take the message that it’s important to have confidence in yourself and your own abilities and not to let others make you feel that parts of you are embarrassing or not worthy of attention. 

I hope that people reading this book will find a fun escape, too. Hopefully, you learn something about yourself along the way. I want it to be entertaining but have some depth behind it because I think that makes the most powerful stories.


Events:

April 16, 2022: Reading at New Dominion Bookshop at 2 PM (Charlottesville, VA)

Konstantin Rega
A graduate of East Anglia’s renowned Creative Writing MA, Konstantin’s been published by the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Poetry Salzburg Review, www.jonimitchell.com, the Republic of Consciousness Prize (etc.). He contributes to Publisher Weekly and Treblezine.
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