Today Neesha Meminger is on the blog!! Neesha is celebrating the debut of her YA novel: Shine, Coconut Moon.
About Shine, Coconut Moon
Samar–a.k.a. Sam–is an Indian-American teenager whose mom has kept her away from her old-fashioned family. It's never bothered Sam, who is busy with school, friends, and a demanding boyfriend. But things change after 9/11. A guy in a turban shows up at Sam's house–and turns out to be her uncle. He wants to reconcile the family and teach Sam about her Sikh heritage. Sam is eager, but when boys attack her uncle, chanting "Go back home, Osama!" Sam realizes she could be in danger–and also discovers how dangerous ignorance is.
About the Author
Neesha Meminger was born in India, grew up in Canada, and currently lives in New York City with her family. All of her writing explores the inner landscape of her characters, and how it merges or conflicts with the outer. She writes stories of women and girls defining themselves and shaping their own destinies within the confines of their day to day realities.
(This is the short version. To read the long version, go here: http://www.neeshameminger.com/About_Me.html)
On to the Interview!
Me: Without giving away too many spoilers, what is your favorite part of Shine, Coconut Moon or what was the part you had the most fun writing?
Neesha: I had the most fun writing Great Aunt Maggie's birthday scene. I loved all the details and the festivity and really got lost in the details. It was a large, Irish family gathering, so I asked some Irish folk to weigh in on Irish family gatherings (having little experience being Irish, myself). I realized, however, that many of the details were not that different from big Indian family gatherings. After that, I was able to really immerse myself in the scene. It was great fun.
Me: Sounds exciting! What kind of writing projects are you currently working on? Or, if you aren't working on anything new, is there a different demographic/genre you wouldn't mind tackling in the future?
Neesha: I've finished a fun, humorous romance novel and am now working on a paranormal with some time travel. I'm loving this third project and might foray a bit more into the paranormal if this works out well.
Me: Who is your writing hero and why?
Neesha: Octavia Butler. She was able to accomplish what I dream of: to combine wonderful storytelling with the real and relevant issues of our time. Her worlds are incredibly real and suck you in in such a complete way. I trust her completely as an author and am willing to follow her threads wherever they might lead.
Me: She sounds fabulous! I must put her on my “to read” list!
Readers, you should know that Shine, Coconut Moon is getting lots of love from reviewers (and I do mean LOTS of love!).
Kirkus says: "This straightforward and ultimately reassuring novel reads like an older Sikh version of Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret and will fill a niche in any school or public library . . . "
Publisher's Weekly says: "Debut novelist Meminger raises complex questions of identity, but avoids moralizing or spelling out answers for readers, who will likely be hooked as Samar takes a second look at her relationships with her boyfriend, friends and family, while seeking a better understanding of herself."
Booklist says: "This novel is especially poignant as our country continues to deal with prejudice against [South] Asians and individuals from the Middle East. Readers will be drawn to Sam's story and her struggles to make sense of and combine two cultures. This admirably explores identity and difference through the voice of a girl who thinks she is a 'typical' teenager."
Way to Go, Neesha!
You can visit Neesha at her home on the web: http://www.NeeshaMeminger.com
And . . . Shine, Coconut Moon is officially on sale. You can buy it here: http://www.amazon.com/Shine-Coconut-Moon-Neesha-Meminger/dp/1416954953/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1225987472&sr=1-1
Neesha will be chatting with Cheryl Renee Herbsman tomorrow at: http://blog.cherylreneeherbsman.com/
Thank you so much for stopping by, Neesha! You’re awesome!