Welcome, readers, writers, and Jumbie lovers, too! We have NYTs Bestselling Author Tracey Baptiste with us today sharing her popular, bestselling trilogy with us - The Jumbies. This spine-tingling story all starts when a young girl named Corinne La Mer accidentally draws a Jumbie out of the forest during All Hallow's Eve. This starts a war that only Corinne herself can stop. Will she be able to? Want to know more about Tracey, her Jumbies series, PLUS want a chance to win a super spooky and sweet treat from her? Read on...
Q: Thanks again for joining #SeasonsOfKidLit! We’re thrilled to have you back for another season, and especially have you Trick or Treat with us. We can't wait to hear all about your book The Jumbies. Readers, if you missed Tracey's interview in May, click here to hear all about her mer-mazing mermaid book!
Please share a little about The Jumbies Trilogy's journey to publication.
A: The Jumbies was written primarily for my kids, to introduce them to the folklore I grew up hearing as a child in Trinidad. I’d already written my first novel–a contemporary mystery called Angel’s Grace–but I didn’t have another story like it in me. I really wanted to do something with Caribbean fantasy. So I started working on what would become The Jumbies and it took me nine years to figure out how to write a fantasy well enough that it could be published. Angel’s Grace debuted in 2005, and The Jumbies, my second novel, came out in 2015.
Q: In The Jumbies you weave in some Caribbean Folklore. Can you touch upon the stories that inspired / shaped this story? Which one was your favorite tale and why? What book would you recommend for those interested in reading Caribbean or Haitian Folklore?
A: I infused several folk and fairy tales into the Jumbies. You’ll see there’s a little bit of Hansel and Gretel, some Little Red Riding Hood, and all the jumbies I could fit into this first book. But the story I leaned most heavily on was Cinderella. The entire structure of the story is Cinderella’s, from menacing stepmother, to fairy godmother, to the single magical object that upends the entire story problem.
There are lots of Caribbean stories now that readers can sink their teeth into, but I particularly enjoy “The Magic Orange Tree” (also a Cinderella story) which provided the inspiration for the ending of The Jumbies.
Q: Is there anything from your personal life that influenced the story?
A: As a child, my cousins and I were outside a lot, climbing trees, swimming in the sea, having adventures on our own–or so it seemed. Our parents were never far away. I used a lot of those memories to create the landscape that Corinne and her friends navigate in the story. It’s for sure an homage to Trinidad. It’s also the story I wish I had when I was a kid. Much as I loved fairy and folk tales, there was never one that made me feel like it might have happened in my backyard. And my backyard felt magical to me, so I wanted to provide that for other readers.
Q: Can you tell us how you came up with your character's names for the stories? They're all so beautiful and unique.
A: Something few people ask is about the names of the characters, which all have interesting origins. Corinne La Mer, got her name because “courir” means “run” and she begins the story mid-run. Her surname, of course, places her directly into the sea, “la mer.” For Severine, I was looking for a name that had a bit of harshness to it, but also a bit of sensuality since she would be a love-interest for Corinne’s father. Severine has the base “sever” which I thought was perfect. Then there are two tertiary characters: the baker, Hugo, and a fisherman named Victor, who were named for the author Victor Hugo. You might also notice that they are almost perfect opposites of each other in terms of temperament. There’s plenty more there. I had a lot of fun with all of the names of the characters.
Q: What is one of your favorite things about Halloween?
A: It’s nice when the world cools and quiets after a long, hot, active summer. I love driving around and seeing what the neighbors have done for Halloween. We didn’t have that in Trinidad when I was growing up. It was all about going to the cemetery to clean off the graves and play with the candles. There’s a scene like that at the beginning of The Jumbies. I do light a lot of candles in the house for the occasion, though.
Q: BONUS QUESTION: What candy pairs the best with your book?
A: Orange slices pair best with my book, which is not candy, but is lovely anyway. Plus they’re a perfect Halloween color!
Thanks again for joining us, Tracey! We had a blast talking about The Jumbies Trilogy with you!
Q: Would you like to leave a Trick or a Treat for the readers?
A: A treat! I'm offering a signed copy of The Jumbies Series!
Wow! Thanks for such a terror-ific treat!
Contest Details: To enter to win this amazing giveaway make sure to 1) share this post on social media and 2) leave a comment below to thank Tracey for stopping by.
#SeasonsOfKidLit's Trick-or-Treat Winners will be chosen on or about November 5th.
*Books will be shipped in the US only*
Note: Those who leave a comment on all posts will be eligible to win one (1) of ten (10) Rate Your Story Speed Passes, perfect for quick MS feedback, provided by Agent Mentee Lynne Marie & Author Heather Macht.
About Tracey Baptiste:
Tracey Baptiste is a New York Times bestselling author, best known for the creepy Caribbean Jumbies trilogy. She is also the author of MINECRAFT: THE CRASH, AFRICAN ICONS: TEN PEOPLE WHO SHAPED HISTORY, and the graphic nonfiction ROSA PARKS AND CLAUDETTE COLVIN: CIVIL RIGHTS HEROES. Tracey writes fiction and nonfiction picture books, middle grade, young adult, and graphic novels. She is a former elementary school teacher, curriculum designer, and editor. She currently writes full time and teaches in the low residency creative writing program at Lesley University. Tracey travels for school visits anywhere in the world. Contact her at www.traceybaptiste.com.
For more about Tracey, check out the below links:
Facebook: Tracey Baptiste, Author
To purchase Tracey's books on Amazon, or to leave a review for them, click here.