Greek-American Lisa Andrea McCarthy spoke with The National Herald about her latest children’s book, titled The Greek Girl, which explores possible future careers for the title character made possible by her ancient Greek ancestors and their contributions to western civilization. McCarthy’s previous children’s book, “Where’s the Ramp?” highlighted what life was like for people using wheelchairs before ramps were required in public places through the United States.
TNH: What is the target age group for readers of The Greek Girl?
Lisa McCarthy: The target age group is intermediary grades 3-5. I enjoy visiting the library and reading children's books so I hope my audience will be all readers.
TNH: Who are some of the children's authors who have influenced your work?
LM: One of my Master degrees is in Developmental Reading so I am familiar with so many children's authors of many decades. I generally gravitate towards authors who write in a realistic manner. Some of these authors are Thomas Locker, Bruce Hiscock, and Jean Craighead George.
TNH: How long did the process take from idea to publication for your latest book?
LM: This book didn't take as long as my first book in terms of the publication process. The ideas were floating around in my mind for some time. During the few months when almost everything was shut down due to the pandemic, I was able to brainstorm and complete The Greek Girl.
Where’s the Ramp? by Lisa Andrea McCarthy. Photo: Amazon
TNH: How many drafts did you write before the final result?
LM: This one went more smoothly than my first book. It's similar to walking or driving to a new place when the trip home always seems to go faster. There were only a few rough drafts. Overall, I felt the story came together in a more seamless manner than my first book, Where's the Ramp?.
TNH: What made you decide to write The Greek Girl?
LM: Although the opportunities for women are abundant, many young girls still have to be given encouragement. They may know they have more choices than in past generations, but it's nice to see role models. This book gives a dose of self-esteem to females as some of the fields mentioned in the story were once filled only by males.
Growing up I met many Greek individuals through my immediate and extended family. I always thought they worked hard in whatever job they were doing. My paternal grandfather came to this country and opened a flower store while my maternal grandfather worked in restaurants and a candy shop. I enjoy looking at family black and white pictures and hearing stories about how they paved the way for all of us to achieve our dreams.
TNH: Where in Greece is the family originally from?
LM: Both my parents’ ancestry happens to be from the island of Lesvos. My father's family was from the capital Mytilene and my mother's family was from the small town of Filia.
TNH: How has your family reacted to your work?
LM: They are very proud of me and they enjoy reading my books. They like to tell friends and relatives about the stories.
McCarthy’s books are available online at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.