Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Anna Humphrey



Anna Humphrey is the author of RHYMES WITH CUPID (currently available) and MISSION (UN)POPULAR (due out June 2011)—both books for teens. She lives in Toronto with her husband and kids. 

I've been lucky enough to meet Anna in person through the fabulous @torkidlit tweet group. Follow our hashtag. :)


RHYMES WITH CUPID from HarperTeen is the story of a girl who finds romance despite her best efforts not to.

After a terrible heartbreak last Valentine’s day, Elyse Ulrich has sworn off dating as well as celebrating the February 14th holiday. Both things are a problem, though, since:
a) she works at a gift & stationery store, surrounded by annoying singing Cupid dolls, tacky heart-shaped balloons, and sappy cards with poems that don’t even really rhyme.
b) she ends up meeting Patrick, who works in the same mall and is her new neighbor and her driving instructor and is really cute and incredibly charming… which might be okay except for the whole ‘sworn off dating’ thing…

Elyse isn’t interested in putting her heart on the line. But with Valentine’s Day approaching, she finds out that avoiding Cupid’s arrow is a lot harder than she expected.


Maureen: What’s your favorite holiday?
Anna: Unlike Elyse, the character in RHYMES WITH CUPID, I don’t hate Valentine’s Day. That said, it’s not my favourite. I think my favourite holiday is that week-long stretch between Christmas and New Years when the presents have been unwrapped and the big dinner’s been eaten and you can just relax with your family.

Maureen: What’s your favorite movie of all time?
Anna: UHF with Weird Al Yankovic. It’s old, but delightfully strange. Totally worth renting.

Maureen: What a quirky pick! Cool. Where do you most like to read and how often?
Anna: I love to read in sunny coffee shops, but since I’ve got two small children, that almost never happens these days. I read in bed most nights, in that blissful half-hour left over after the kids are in bed all my work is done.

Maureen: What’s your favorite kind of story to get lost in?
Anna: I love books that make me laugh. Contemporary YA books that make me laugh, specifically.

Maureen: What’s the first book you remember reading?
Anna: “Molly Mouse Goes Shopping—Fun with a Mouse on a String.” It actually had a mouse on a string, too (not a real one, don’t worry). I still have it. I read it with my daughter.

Maureen: What’s your favorite word?
Anna: “Glitter.” It just sounds sparkly. And you didn’t ask, but the word I hate most is “spumoni”—as in, spumoni ice cream. I can’t bring myself to eat it, just because the name sounds like something you might cough up.

Maureen: What’s your favorite fairy tale?
Anna: Rapunzel.

Maureen: Hiking boots or high heels?
Anna: Definitely hiking boots. Blundstones, specifically.

Maureen: What’s your favorite cartoon character?
Anna: I will be honest. I have a small, unrequited crush on Handy Manny from the Disney Channel.

Maureen: Well, as long as it stays unrequited... What turns you off like nothing else?
Anna: People who talk endlessly about how busy they are. Swap the word ‘important’ for the word ‘busy,’ and you’ll get what they’re really trying to prove.

Maureen: What sound or noise do you love?
Anna: I love putting my ear up to a purring cat.

Maureen: Do you write while listening to music? If so what kind?
Anna: I’m so jealous of people who can do that. I find it too distracting.

Maureen: What’s your favorite kind of cheese?
Anna: Aged cheddar.

Maureen: What was the first story you remember writing?
Anna: “Mr. Roudoudou et L’Arc-en-ciel Triste.” It was a French story about a sad rainbow. I totally ripped the plot off from this TV show called Dr. Snuggles.

Maureen: What was your first boyfriend’s name? Would you want to meet him again?
Anna: If by “boyfriend” you mean the first boy I ‘kind of almost held hands with,’ that’d be Jeremie. I met him in third grade. He lives in Australia now but still writes to me every year on my birthday. I really hope I’ll see him again someday.

Maureen: Oh, how cool that you’re still in touch! What’s something you’d like to tell your fans?
Anna: Hello! Thanks for being my fan!

Maureen: If you couldn’t be a writer anymore, what profession would you take up?
Anna: I think I’d like to refinish furniture. Either that, or I’d want to be an inner-city dance instructor with a big dream, like in the movie Honey.

Maureen:  Ha! I LOVEthe Honey answer. Now for the deep questions: Is Elvis really dead?
Anna: Absolutely.

Maureen: What’s the first thing you do when you finish writing a book?
Anna: Send it to my agent, take a day or two off, then move on to the next one.

Maureen: If you could interview one person (and it doesn’t have to be a writer) who would it be?
Anna: I’d have to say Judy Blume… but the idea of an interview stresses me out a little. Maybe we could just have coffee. 

Maureen: If you were given a chance to travel to the past where would you go and why?
Anna: I’d spend a day with my Grandma Humphrey. She died unexpectedly, so I never got to say goodbye.

Maureen: What do you like on your burger? (and do you take your burger veggie or beefy?)
Anna: Beef. Sliced tomato is a must but, besides that, I’m easy.

Maureen: Which of your characters would you most/least to invite to dinner, and why?
Anna: I’d love to invite Dina from RHYMES WITH CUPID. She’s so thoughtful. I know she’d bring a great hostess gift.

Maureen: Do you read reviews of your books? If so, do you pay any attention to them, or let them influence your writing?
Anna: Wait!! Are you saying there are authors who don’t read their reviews obsessively? I’m actually thinking of banning myself from GoodReads. Not because the reviews aren’t fair (I’m humbled, actually, by the fact that readers take the time to put together such thoughtful, well-balanced commentaries), but just because checking the site 12 times a day (oh, okay, more like 20) cuts into my writing time too much.

But, yes, absolutely, I take what’s said to heart—the good and the bad. I think you need to have feedback to improve as a writer.

Maureen: What dreams have been realized as a result of your writing?
Anna: I got to travel to New York to meet my agent and editors.

Maureen: What soundtrack or playlist do you recommend for your current release?
Anna: The characters in RHYMES WITH CUPID listen to Van Morrison’s, Brown Eyed Girl, so I’d definitely recommend that song.

Maureen: I LOVE that song. Tea or Coffee? And how do you take it?
Anna: Coffee and lots of it. With cream, please.

Maureen: Coming right up.  What does it mean to love someone?
Anna: It means wanting to see them succeed and find happiness, even if their version of success and happiness looks different than yours.

Maureen: What’s your favorite kid joke?
Anna: So, two sausages were hanging out in a frying pan.
The first one says to the other one, “Man! Is it ever hot in here!”
Then the second one goes: “Oh my GOD!! It’s a talking sausage!!”

Maureen: Ha! The moms always have the best answers to that question. 


Maureen: Do you have plans for Valentine’s Day?
Anna: My book launch is being held on February 12th at Indigo Yorkdale in Toronto (2 p.m.)—come if you can!! But, as for actual Valentine’s Day, I’m guessing it’ll be pretty low key.


What’s the worst or best Valentine’s Day gift you’ve ever received?


Anna would like to offer a copy of RHYMES WITH CUPID to one lucky reader who comments on this post!

Note: Offer void where prohibited. Prizes will be mailed to North America addresses only. Odds of winning vary due to the number of entrants.


Twitter:  @Anna_Humphrey


  1. Welcome to GLIAS, Anna! Such a pleasure to have you visit for the day. Congratulations on your book launch.

    To answer your question, the best Valentine's Day gift is a hand-carved wooden heart my husband made me last year. Polished, flat on one side so it will sit on a shelf in my office, and has our initials. Very dear to me... We rarely spend Valentine's Day together and he always tries to give me something to make up for it. (It might also be because he usually forgets to get something special for Christmas...LOL)

    Curious, how did you like NYC?


  2. Anna, what a charming story and charming interview! Love Judy Blume, she was kind of the Godmother of YA; would you agree? I can't imagine torturing your protagonist more than by having her swear off Valentine's Day and then making her work in a card shop. You are a devious author. Well done, and welcome!

  3. Welcome! My best Valentine's present was my husband's grandmother's ring. My hubby went behind my back and got it from his mother and gave it to me as a surprise.

    He usually forgets my birthday, but sometimes he makes up for it :)

  4. Hi Anna,

    All my men, from father to boyfriends to husband to boyfriend to husband have never been really great at Valentine's Day. So much pressure, you know, to stop by the market and pick up some daisies and a heart-shaped box of candy. But it is so cute when they bring it home and stand there waiting for their kiss!

  5. I loved Judy Blume growing up; in fact she taught me alot about life, things that I wasn't exactly comfortable talking about with my mom.

    My husband uses the excuse that 'everyday with me is like Valentine's day', smart guy, huh? After years of marriage we remember to celebrate and sometimes we don't. The important thing is that we're always got the others backs.

  6. Hi Anna! I just love your titles. What fun!

    My husband makes Valentines heart shaped pizzas with the kids. It's not a big romance production, but a great deal of fun. I love it when he picks me out mushy cards.

    Your joke made me laugh out loud. :)

  7. Anna, RHYMES WITH CUPID sounds like a wonderful story. My daughter has really dark brown eyes and I used to sing Brown-Eyed Girl to her when she was little. It's one of my favourite songs! What a great choice for your novel.

    I can't remember a Valentine's gift that stood out, but on our tenth wedding anniversary, my (now ex-)husband gave me a baseball glove. I called it the leather anniversary! He couldn't afford to get me diamonds ;-)

  8. What do you mean Elvis is dead...? *grin*

    Anna and Maureen, great interview!! One of my best friends (who's happily married with children) despises Valentine's Day but loves reading YA. I suspect she'll adore this story, and I know I will ;).

    As for gifts, my first Valentine's Day with my husband was very sweet and he gave me these small ruby earrings I still love...

  9. My favorite word is "glitter" too!! Glitter, glitter, glitter, glitter!

    Hmmm ... best or worst Valentine's gift ... I'm not a huge fan of fancy dining, I don't care too much for chocolate, and I don't like roses (I know, I know) but I do love red. And I love cinnamon hearts. So the best Valentine's gifts consist of take-out and cinnamon hearts for dessert!

    Congratulations on RHYMES WITH CUPID, Anna! I'm really looking forward to reading it!

  10. Hi Anna! What a delightful interview. So many of your answers resonated. I would absolutely go back and spend a day with my Nana if I could.

    Rhymes With Cupid sounds fantastic. Adding to my TBR :)

    I see your favorite fairytale is Rapunzel. Did you see Tangled?

  11. Anna, this story sounds adorable! I worked at a greeting card shop in college, so I know what poor Elyse has to put up with. I can't wait to read more.

    As for the best Valentine's gift...my husband writes beautiful and tear-inducing note every year. Better than anything from a store.

  12. Thanks so much for all of your comments! I'm loving reading about the gifts you've received. I especially like the hand-written notes, and the idea of heart-shaped pizza, although I suspect that if I tried it I'd end up with blob-shaped pizza instead. :)

    Angi, NYC was amazing. I'd go back in a heartbeat.

    Heather, I haven't made it out to see Tangled yet, but my daughter and husband say it's great. I'm planning to see it the second it's out on DVD.

  13. Congratulations Anna! What a great interview! I hope to be there on the 12th to congratulate you in person!

  14. Anna, I think my favorite valentine was one I received unsigned. Never knew who it was from and that made it special. I will always wonder and dream....and dreaming isn't just for the young. I will have to share your writing with my grand daughters. I know they will enjoy your talent.