The Edge of Everywhen is author A.S. (Allison) Mackey’s debut novel. Full of mystery and intrigue, The Edge of Everywhen 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.
What are the key themes in the story? Why do you think these themes are important for young readers today?
The key themes are grace, hope, and reconciliation. We are all faced with difficult people or difficult situations at times in our lives, and grace is what enables us to be kind, to offer forgiveness, and to keep our circumstances from making us untrusting and bitter. Hope is the evidence of things unseen. Hope dispels fear, and holding onto hope, even in the face of confusion, is an act of faith that better days are coming. Reconciliation is the heart of God, and He longs to see broken families restored, and many of us today have estranged family members with whom we long to be reconciled. All of these themes are present in one way or another in readers’ lives. The Edge of Everywhen doesn’t answer every deep question or offer pat answers to questions of trauma. But we’re all on a journey, and I think that Piper’s journey will resonate with readers of all ages.
Tell us about the main characters, Piper and Phoenix. Why are they special to you?
Piper has seen more than her share of tragedy in life, but she hasn’t let it make her bitter or angry. She loves her little brother, in spite of (or perhaps because of) his special needs, and she is fiercely protective of him. Though just thirteen years old, Piper is mature and responsible as a result of the trauma she’s endured, and she’s what I would aspire to be if I were in her shoes. She is on a journey of faith, a journey similar to the one many of us take when faced with hardship.
Phoenix is a brilliant enigma, and he reminds us that “normal” for one person is not necessarily “normal” for another. Phoenix’s family life depicts the close bond that siblings of special needs children can share, and he lives life on his own terms. He carries a bit of the supernatural within himself, perhaps because he doesn’t give in to the expectations and limitations of the “normal” people around him.
How do you hope middle-grade readers grow from reading it?
I hope readers will look up every single book mentioned in the story and go read them all! (I do that when I’m reading a good book; I will hop on Goodreads and add the books to my “want to read” list, then head to the library.) I also hope that readers will expand their compassion and understanding for children with autism, and for grumpy older relatives who’ve dealt with loss and trauma.
What do you hope they walk away thinking about?
I hope they think deeply about their families; the good parts, the confusing parts, and the broken parts in which they may have a role in mending.
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.
The Edge of Everywhen is available at Lifeway.com and everywhere books are sold.