Publishers' Preview: Spring 2023: Five Questions for Angeline Boulley

This interview originally appeared in the March/April 2023 Horn Book Magazine as part of the Publishers’ Previews: Spring 2023, an advertising supplement that allows participating publishers a chance to each highlight a book from its current list. They choose the books; we ask the questions.

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Boulley’s much-lauded debut Firekeeper’s Daughter introduced Perry, a young niece of the main character, Daunis. In Warrior Girl Unearthed, it’s ten years later and Perry’s story to tell.

1. What do you call the relationship between this book and Firekeeper’s Daughter?

Connected stories — this is neither a traditional sequel nor a true standalone. I wanted to continue writing about my Ojibwe community and ­Firekeeper’s characters, but challenge myself to write a protagonist different than Daunis. It made sense to age the ­six-year-old twins from Firekeeper and jump from 2004 to 2014. Writing from twin Perry’s POV was such fun! She is impulsive, hilarious, and blunt.

2. What did writing Firekeeper teach you?

How to tell a story, research topics, write dialogue, and work with an editor. I’m a perfectionist — it took me ten years to complete a draft of Firekeeper that I felt comfortable submitting to an agent! But working with my editor, Tiff Liao, I learned to accept the messy nature of a work in progress. This was vital to write my second novel on deadline…because I wouldn’t have ten years to finish it.

3. Which among Perry’s qualities would you most want in yourself?

I wish I spoke Ojibwemowin as fluently as Perry can. I also love how she says what’s on her mind without analyzing her responses and the potential impact of her words. I’m much more like her aunt Daunis in that way.

4. What’s the first thing on Sugar Island you would want to show a friend?

The Sugar Island experience begins and ends with the ferry ride. I had the pleasure of bringing my agent, Faye Bender, and Tiff Liao to Sugar Island for the powwow one year. While we made the crossing, we heard a car horn — it was my friend ­Shannon. The car next to hers was a cousin’s. I knew every person on that ferry! It was like ­showing Sugar Island in a nutshell to Faye and Tiff.

5. Where is the first place a person should go online for information about efforts to repatriate Native remains and artifacts?

The Association on American Indian Affairs (, the oldest nonprofit serving Native Americans. Much of their focus is on repatriation of Indigenous ­ancestral remains and funerary belongings from museums and institutions.

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Photo: Marcella Hadden.

Roger Sutton
Roger Sutton

Editor Emeritus Roger Sutton was editor in chief of The Horn Book, Inc., from 1996-2021. He was previously editor of The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books and a children's and young adult librarian. He received his MA in library science from the University of Chicago in 1982 and a BA from Pitzer College in 1978.

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