23 5 / 2014
My Basmati Bat Mitzvah was named a ‘Highly Commended Book’ for the 2014 South Asia Book Award (SABA). This makes me really happy and proud. :-)
See the full list of 2014 titles here: http://southasiabookaward.org/2013-award-books/
Congrats to the winners, honorees, and fellow commendees!
07 4 / 2014
Crap. It’s Monday. This is due today, isn’t it? Okay, focus. Drink coffee. Feed the pets. Boot laptop. Battery’s dead? Already? Plug in. Google “samsung series 9 battery life crap.” So it’s not just me. That’s good. Right. What was the topic again?
There, you’ve just had a taste of “my writing process.” Sorry to disappoint you. If you want good advice, you should probably go back and read Kimberly Pauley's blog post again.
But, seriously… the lovely Kimberly Pauley, author of the much-anticipated Ask Me, invited me to participate in this blog tour about Writing Process. No kidding, you should definitely read what she had to say about it. Our, ahem, “processes” are not the same.
Now back to me.
What am I currently working on?
I’m working on a second middle-grade novel. I can’t tell you what it’s about. If I were capable of summarizing it in a paragraph, I probably wouldn’t be writing a full-length novel, knowwhatimean? It’s got a little humor, a little heartbreak, and (in a major milestone for me) it’s written in the third person. Right now. That could change. Just saying. It’s not a sequel to My Basmati Bat Mitzvah, but I’m hoping it’ll appeal to the same sorts of readers.
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
That’s a tricky question. In My Basmati Bat Mitzvah, readers seemed to appreciate that Tara’s “differences” were no big deal. Meaning, the diversity elements of the story were not the “problem” of the novel, just facts. That’s cool.
Why do I write what I write?
Because my characters tell me to. That’s not exactly true. I’m pretty sure my characters don’t know about me, or wouldn’t care. They pretty much talk amongst themselves while I eavesdrop. I become interested in the characters and the story follows. The premise for My Basmati Bat Mitzvah came to me while I was walking down the street (Upper West Side of NYC, so not that surprising). Here’s what I told The Streetlight Reader in my first online interview:
I came up with the title first, the story next. I was literally walking down the street when it came to me. It felt right. By the time I got home and wrote anything down, Tara and Mum were already arguing in my head. That first day I wrote just one page (which I ended up using in chapter three – it hasn’t changed very much!).
How does my individual writing process work?
See paragraph one. Okay, semi-seriously. I alternate between writing in total isolation at home (cookies, coffee, napping, talking to self) and writing side-by-side in public with like-minded companions (cookies, coffee, no napping, writing until the cursed battery runs out, talking to self and companions, teeth brushed). I recently moved to London from NYC and was thrilled to find a new group (mainly Kimberly Pauley and Tracey Mathias) as inspiring as my NYC group (Margaret Crocker and a revolving cast of geniuses). I am super motivated by deadlines. When I don’t have a real one, I will inform my agent or editor that I will deliver something to her by a specified date, and then I will miss that deadline by only a few days. I plan to write every day Monday through Friday (and usually do); I don’t write on weekends because it’s my job and nobody works seven days a week. By the time Monday rolls around again, I’m itching to get going. I’m not allowed to watch TV while I’m working, though I often listen to music and take the aforementioned naps (giving those characters in my head time to stretch their legs).
Next up in the blog tour:
My friend Michelle Knudsen, prolific author of adorable picture books and thrilling novels. Two that you’ll want to keep beyond their return date are Library Lion and the upcoming Evil Librarian (sporting my favorite cover of all time—but you’ll have to wait until it comes out in September. Mwahahaha!).
For something completely different—Sheri Koones, journalist and author of Prefabulous World: Energy Efficient and Sustainable Homes Around the Globe, coming out just in time for Earth Day. The book profiles 50 of the most energy efficient and environmentally friendly houses around the world.
I can’t wait to read their answers on April 14.
02 4 / 2014