Annette Vendryes Leach is a Brooklyn author, publisher, and entrepreneur who started her career as a copywriter for a Madison Avenue ad agency. For years, she wrote magazine, radio and TV ads for everything from soda to the CIA. After winning industry awards and moving on to Creative Director, Annette decided it was time to follow her real passion – fiction writing.
She founded the Black Literary Club (BLC), the foremost direct mail book club devoted to African-American, African and Caribbean literature. BLC’s success led Annette to become a consultant for a major publishing company to help develop a new niche book club. During her membership in several writers’ workshops in Brooklyn and Manhattan, Annette published a short story, “Tima and the Quetzalcoatl”, in Voices of Brooklyn: Writings from the Women of Color Writers’ Workshop. Song of the Shaman (MindPress Media, 2013) is her first novel.
Annette is a graduate of The New School where she majored in Creative Writing and Comparative Religion. A writing coach and publishing consultant, Annette provides publishing services for authors through MindPress Media. She is currently working on a second novel. Annette lives in Brooklyn, NY, with her husband and two sons.
Why I wrote this book:
Song of the Shaman was inspired by two vivid family stories:
1) The mystical things my sons told me when they were very little about their past lives and where they were before they were born. Their striking stories led me to ponder questions of identity — who are we really, what does the knowledge of past lives bring to the present, and why?
2) I discovered late in life that my grandmother was orphaned when her mother died in childbirth. I set out to trace my grandmother’s family in Panama but my search turned up very few clues. Though I hardly knew my grandmother, I was always curious about the vacant look on her face, her far away eyes. I now attribute that look to her lost ancestry. With the few facts I did know about my grandmother I began to create this story for her, as a way to give her a history. This book is dedicated to the memory of my grandmother and my mother.
In the end, the process of weaving Song of the Shaman’s historical love story with the contemporary single mother’s search for her origins transformed me as a writer and storyteller.