Middle-grade fiction isn’t exactly my top genre, but when I saw the cover of The Edge of Everywhen, I mentally put it in my “possibilities” pile. Just a few days afterward, the book’s publicist reached out and asked if I would be willing to review the book. I took it as a sign. And I was not disappointed. A.S. Mackey’s debut novel is love letter to Story that will enchant and delight, no matter your age.
Not soon after I finished the book, I had the opportunity to talk to Allison Mackey about the book.
The Interview | The Edge of Everywhen by A.S. Mackey
This excerpt has been lightly edited for brevity and clarity. You can listen to the full interview by clicking the play button above or subscribing at Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts.
Josh Olds: Where did the idea for The Edge of Everywhen come from?
A.S. Mackey: I was on social media back in 2015 and saw this comment that someone had made in passing about how someone should write the Book of Requirement. For fans of Harry Potter, it’s a reference to the Room of Requirement. The Room of Requirement featured heavily in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. It’s a magic room that appeared only when the student had need of it. And the concept of that just really—it was like a mic drop moment—I thought, “Oh, my goodness, I need to write that book.” So this is the book of requirement that appears right when they need it, and gives them whatever story they need to hear. So that’s kind of a nutshell of what the book is.
Josh: What do you hope that readers, kids or adults, what do you hope that they take away from this book after they read it?
A.S. Mackey: Well, it’s a kind of a story of hope. You know, there’s really hard circumstances. We all have tough testing, but losing a parent is a really hard thing. And even right now, we’re going through a really weird phase in the world. [ed. This interview took place in the middle of the COVID19 pandemic] Things can be hard, but there is hope. One of the big things is leaning on your family and there being family reconciliation.
The faith aspect of it for me is huge. You know that prayer works and that faith is for everyone. And then you know—you said it perfectly—it’s a love letter to literature. I was one of those readers who devoured every book that I could get my hands on. And so just to pique their interest in reading…just to expand their literary horizons. So I guess all of this kind of plays into what I hope they’ll take away.
The Book | The Edge of Everywhen
A unique middle-grade novel, The Edge of Everywhen tells the story of Piper, a 13-year-old self-proclaimed book nerd whose world has been upended after the death of her mother. She and her autistic little brother (and best friend) Phoenix cling to one another as they are forced to move a thousand miles away from everything familiar and live with their rich, estranged aunt.
Piper reaches to the books on her shelf for comfort, but it is one unique book, Novus Fabula, who offers true guidance as the omniscient narrator in the story. It watches them arrive at their aunt’s home, with tired hearts and stones in their stomachs, and now its whispered voice must point the children to depend upon the sovereignty of God during the most dire times as they await word of their missing father.
Full of mystery and intrigue, The Edge of Everywhen story bridges the chasm between faith-based and fantasy kid-lit genres. It is a book-lover’s book, carrying the reader right into the adventure as Piper and Phoenix embark upon a life-changing journey, in search of their father and of a faith to call their own.
The Author | A.S. Mackey
Allison Mackey’s debut book was a Steno pad full of poems, given to her parents as a gift when she was eight. She wrote her first sci-fi novel at age fifteen (it was horrid), but she still went on to solidify her love for creative writing with a degree in English literature from the University of Georgia. A member of the Shoals Writers Guild and the mother of three adult children, Allison lives in Florence, Alabama, where she and her husband are church planters and worship leaders.