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I was born in Queens, New York where most of my family still resides. Coming from an Italian heritage from both of my parents, growing up my family was large, loud, loving and fun. When the entire New York division of the mixed groups of Russo, Pellegrino, Santucci, Guidice, LaBoccetta, and Dalo (to name a few) got together for an event, it was basically let’s rent out a banquet hall type of gala.
I remember when I was fairly young, maybe about six or seven, we gathered at my aunt’s home for a party. She’s really my second cousin but in an Italian family if the cousin is your mom or dad’s age, then respect dictates calling them aunt or uncle. My memory fades when it comes to the why, but I do remember about a hundred people attending and this was just the inner circle. I loved my childhood and my colorful family.
Which brings to me to Amry, named for my cousin Mary. For the first nearly fifteen years of my life I spent holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, and various family dinners with Mary and her two sisters, Nancy, and Lisa. Mary was quiet, kind, beautiful, and giving. A deep soul with a huge heart. After my dad moved us to California with his job, I’d go back to my hometown occasionally and always enjoy the treasured moments I got to spend with my cousins and some of the meaningful conversations I shared with Mary. The moments were brief and as time marched on and my grandmother passed, the visits became less and less. Conversations turned into words on a Christmas card or photos of our children’s accomplishments. But I always held her, and all my cousins close to my heart.
In 2017 we received the phone call that no one wants to hear. Never smoking a day in her life, Mary was given the dark sentence of lung cancer. Over the next year my beautiful cousin fought the battle of warriors, losing the war on February 15, 2018.
During her treatment I began to write the Academy of Souls. My muse took over and before I knew it, memories of Mary and my perception of her as a teenager weaved their way into the character Amanda. Over time I yearned to change her name to Mary, but already having a main character with the same name in another book, I chose the anagram, Amry. Nothing will ever bring back the light extinguished by her leaving, but I hope a piece of her as I remember her to be, will forever live in the pages of my book.
I create a playlist for each Alex McKenna book and when I was creating the one for Alex McKenna & The Academy of Souls, I thought it might be nice to add a few of Mary’s favorite songs. Her husband John, contrived a list for me. There were several and I didn’t want to limit her tunes so for this book, there’s two playlists. Alex and Amry’s. I hope you enjoy my cousins choices, I think she was pretty cool.
Check out Amry’s (Mary) Playlist on Spotify!
Also listen to the playlist for Alex McKenna & The Academy of Souls!
Originally from New York, Vicki-Ann Bush currently resides in Nevada. Writing Young Adult paranormal, she finds inspiration from events that have been in her life for as long as she can remember. Inheriting her sensitivity to the supernatural from her family, they continue to be an endless source of vision.