During Ramadan, we're not allowed to eat from sunrise to sunset, for a whole month. My family does this every year, even though I've been to a mosque exactly twice in my fifteen years. My exercise-obsessed mom — whose hotness skipped a generation, sadly — says I could stand to lose a few. But is torture really an acceptable method? I think not.
Things wouldn't be so bad if I had a boyfriend, but my oppressive parents forbid me to date. This is justcruel and wrong. Especially since Peter, a cute and crushable artist, might be my soul mate. Figures my bestest friend Lisa likes him, too.
To top it off, there's a new Muslim girl in school who struts around in super-short skirts, commanding every boy's attention — including Peter's. How can I get him to notice me? And will I ever feel like a typical American girl?
Can you give us a little backstory on your novel? What inspired this particular story and character?
Years ago I had an idea for an MG novel revolving around a boy and his male cousin celebrating Ramadan. The more I thought about it, my main character Almira popped into my head and I began writing her story.
Bestest. Ramadan. Ever. is a novel about a teen dealing with real life struggles. Can you talk a little bit about why you wrote a contemporary novel and will you continue to write YA contemporary in the future?
The only piece of speculative fiction I wrote was a short story long ago. As far as historical fiction, one of my drawer manuscripts took place in the 70’s, the earliest I’ve gone back in time for setting. I focus on writing about real life in modern times, and many of my favorite books are contemporary. But I'm open to writing other things. I’m a big fan of horror, and I do have a horror story floating in my head. Currently, though, my two wips are contemporary.
There is a lot of debate about how book covers sometimes fail to portray the ethnic or multicultural characters the books are about. The cover for Bestest. Ramadan. Ever. defies the norms. What are your thoughts about your cover?
I’m glad there’s an ethnic face on my cover. Along with the title and font of my name, the multicultural aspects of my novel are clear and out in the open.
What is your writing process like? Is there a particular time of day you prefer to write or do you have any “must-haves” while you write (coffee, music, etc.)?
I'm a plotter, so I work from an outline. As for time of day, I prefer writing late at night or early in the morning. I need music, so I play from my collection or Slacker Radio. And Diet Coke and chocolate are involved.
Because we are The Apocalypsies and tend to be a little preoccupied with reading books like there’s no tomorrow, please share the titles of some books you’ve torn through like there was no tomorrow.
These are only a few books I’ve torn through, and I’ll concentrate on what I’ve read in 2011 so that I don’t get carried away: Veronica Roth’s DIVERGENT, Beth Revis’s ACROSS THE UNIVERSE, Gary Ghislain’s HOW I STOLE JOHNNY DEPP’S ALIEN GIRLFRIEND, C.J. Omololu’s DIRTY LITTLE SECRETS, Alissa Grosso’s POPULAR, Kim Harrington’s CLARITY, Bettina Restrepo’s ILLEGAL, Nova Ren Suma’s IMAGINARY GIRLS, Karen Mahoney’s THE IRON WITCH, and Lorraine Zago Rosenthal’s OTHER WORDS FOR LOVE.
Thanks so much for dropping by, Medeia, and congratulations!