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Friday, February 29, 2008

Author Visit: Mitali Perkins



Please welcome author Mitali Perkins! We're going red, white and blue and taking about the First Daughter books.

What was your writing background prior to writing your first novel?

I’ve always written, scribbling in diaries and journals from when I was about nine years old. Poetry, fiction, confessions about my crushes, prayers … you name it, I wrote it.

How did you get the idea for First Daughter?

Dutton wanted me to write a book about a president’s daughter, so it was their idea, but I added my own signature twist by making her adopted from Pakistan.

Why did you decide to make Sparrow’s family Republican?

I hunted around, and discovered that every other story for kids about a likeable president’s daughter, including books, movies, and television, was about a Democrat. I’ve gotten so used to being different, I can’t swim with the tide.

What would you say to a Democrat teen deciding whether or not to read First Daughter or First Daughter 2?

The book’s more about the process of a campaign, and really doesn’t have anything to do with the parties. If you just can’t stand it, feel free to cross out the word “Republican” in the book and put in “Democrat;” it won’t change a thing in the story.

What’s your writing process?

I write in a local coffee house because I like the background buzz and there’s no internet access. I also make my butt stay on the chair until I’ve written a certain amount of words, usually 1000 or 2000 a day.

What did you do when you wrote the last word of First Daughter 2?

Left for an RV trip across the country (from Massachusetts to California and back) with my hubby, sons, and two Labrador Retrievers.

What advice would you give aspiring authors?

“Never give in,” as Winston Churchill urged his countrymen during WWII. My second novel, Monsoon Summer, was rejected over 20 times. I had to revise it so many times, my hard disk was chock-full of different versions. It was finally published ELEVEN years after The Sunita Experiment, my first novel. If you want to see a dream come true, you need thick skin, unflagging hope, and the determination to work hard, hard, hard.

In First Daughter, you infuse Indian culture with such seamless ease into the text. How did you do that without over explaining Indian culture to readers who may be familiar with it?

Wow, that’s a compliment, thanks! It helps that kids and teens as a whole are getting more familiar with Indian culture these days so you don’t have to cover as much of the basics. Also, all my life I’ve jumped back and forth between groups of people who know Indian culture and those that don’t.

What’s next for you? What’re you working on?

I’m revising a novel for Random House coming out January 2009 called The Secret Keeper about an Indian girl with big plans to come to America until tragedy strikes, and she has to find a way to keep her beloved sister safe.

Thanks so much for stopping by, Mitali! This was a great Q&A!

2 shout outs:

Anonymous said...

"“Never give in,” as Winston Churchill urged his countrymen during WWII. My second novel, Monsoon Summer, was rejected over 20 times. I had to revise it so many times, my hard disk was chock-full of different versions. It was finally published ELEVEN years after The Sunita Experiment, my first novel. If you want to see a dream come true, you need thick skin, unflagging hope, and the determination to work hard, hard, hard."

Holy Mother of Pizza! I think I love you. Will you please say that 11 million more times?

Jessica Burkhart said...

Great comment, LOL! :)

 
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