Interview with the Author: Lisa Moore Ramée

By: Sally White

We were thrilled to include acclaimed author Lisa Moore Ramée's latest middle grade novel, MapMaker, in our 'Map It Out' themed box. MapMaker is "an absorbing, imaginative adventure about a Black boy who has the magical ability to bring maps to life."

Read on for our interview with Lisa as she answers our questions on the inspiration behind the story, creating your own world, and more!


Hi Lisa! MapMaker is a great story that is both fantastical and very relatable. How did the idea for this book first come to you?

I have sort of a weird fascination with maps. Maybe because I didn’t travel much, and exploring maps was my way of going somewhere. I especially loved ancient maps and the idea of people making guesses on what might be in unexplored realms. And the other thing I’ve spent way too much time thinking about is wishes --and how to get them right if you ever meet a genie. So when a friend asked me what would I write if I could write about anything, my two favorite things immediately came to mind. That was the beginning of the concept. I just needed the right person/character to explore these ideas with and I found a role model of sorts in one of my favorite books growing up: The Phantom Tollbooth. I started asking myself, what would that book look like if the main character had been Black? And if you added dragons. All of that combined together to birth the idea for MapMaker.

We loved the cast of characters you created for this book! Which one do you see yourself in the most?

Definitely Walt. Although, ironically I felt too tall growing up, not too small, like Walt does. But I relate so much to feeling like you’re not good enough and that your siblings are a bigger deal than you are. I am also very much a scaredy cat about a lot of things and often wish I could be a bit more daring. I would like to be more like Van, which is why she was so fun for me to write about.

If you could create your own world, what are some of the “must have” things you would include in it?

My world would include family and friends, tons of books, sunflower seeds, tall trees, sunshine, butterflies, ladybugs, witches, crystals, deep green lakes, balloon arches, paint and COFFEE.

Do you have any new projects we can look forward to seeing from you?

I’m working on a new middle grade (mostly) contemporary story about two best friends, Emmett and Will (Will is short for Willow but don’t make the mistake of calling her that) who are both keeping an important secret from each other. There’s a mysterious new girl, a magician that has fallen out of the limelight, and big discussions about what are the absolute worst things to eat. I’d tell you more, but I’m still trying to figure it all out.

Which books would you say turned you into a lifelong reader?

I have always been a reader. I’m an introvert and reading quietly in a corner is my favorite pastime. Absolute favorites that I’ve read over and over are: The Phantom Tollbooth, The Hobbit, The Long Secret, The Witch of Blackbird Pond, The Skin I’m In, A Gift of Magic and all the Nancy Drew mysteries!

Thanks, Lisa!