Please give the readers a brief bio on you the person and the writer.
Mitali Perkins was born in Kolkata, India and immigrated at age seven to the States with her family. She studied political science at Stanford and public policy at Berkeley before deciding to try and change the world one children's book at a time. Her blog is a virtual fire escape where she chats about books, movies, music, television, and life between cultures.
Tell us about your current book?
In First Daughter: Extreme American Makeover, Sameera (Sparrow) Righton helps her dad win the presidential election. Readers continue to enjoy Sparrow's witty, one-of-a-kind take on life at 1600 Pennyslvania Avenue in First Daughter: White House Rules. These smart, funny, and timely novels provide an engaging behind-the-scenes glimpse into American politics.
What would you like your readers to take away from your book?
A big smile and the characters alive in their imaginations.
Are you a morning writer or a night writer?
I’m a night writer under deadline, a morning coffee-house writer when I’m writing on a regular basis.
What aspect of writing do you love the best, and which do you hate the most?
I love revising the last draft of a story, when the backbreaking work is all done and you add the grace notes. I don’t like the middle of novels, the second third.
What’s something you wish you’d known earlier that might have saved you some time/frustration in the publishing business?
If you don’t treat yourself like a professional nobody else will either. Also, as Winston Churchill told his people during WW2, NEVAH GIVE IN. Monsoon Summer, my second book, was rejected over 20 times and it took ELEVEN years for it to come out. You need big dreams, thick skin, and ruthless revising to succeed.
What’s the most interesting change in your life as a result of being a published author?
I didn’t expect to enjoy public speaking so much, and love doing gigs in schools, libraries, and at conferences.
How much marketing do you do? What have you found that particularly works well for you?
I do a lot of marketing. My blog
What one thing about writing do you wish other non-writers would understand?
It takes courage to finish a book. Each time, it’s a huge internal, psychological struggle and I die a little more. But I also live a little more.
Name your top five favorite writing books.
Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
The Courage to Write by Ralph Keyes
Elements of Style by EB White
The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning And Importance of Fairy Tales by Bruno Bettelheim
Roget’s Thesaurus and Webster’s Dictionary
What do you do to make time for yourself?
I take silent retreats about twice a year at a nearby monastery.
This month our theme is Writing for Children. Why did you choose to write for young adults?
My soul is pretty much stuck at age fourteen, so I don’t think I could write for any other group of readers. Knowing how much I was shaped and formed by the stories I read when I was a child, I feel it’s a high calling and responsibility to write for kids. Adults read with their minds first and hearts second; kids do it the other way around. There’s an openness to the power of story that wanes as we grow older and become jaded. I do write non-fiction for adults, but I’m sticking to fiction for young readers till I can write no more.
How can readers get in contact with you? (mail, email, website)