Hello, book lovers! In this, the “month of love,” I’m celebrating one of our greatest loves, YA fiction, by featuring Tuesday interviews with authors of 2016’s BEST YA DEBUT NOVELS.
Today’s Must-Read Debut YA Author is. . .
Smart, funny, fashionable Randi Pink whose talent and passion for beautiful writing is about to skyrocket her to literary stardom.
Into White is set to release in September 2016.
Why Into White is a must-read:
Compelling, controversial, magical. “In a moment of desperation, a black girl prays for the power to change her race and wakes up white.”
Eve: In the early days of crafting your novel, were you shy about sharing what you’d written with others?
R.P.: I was terrified! I wrote the first chapter of INTO WHITE as an assignment in a Children’s Literature Workshop, and I was so nervous that I could hardly sleep the night before. I knew the subject matter was controversial, so I feared judgment, but the class was so supportive and kind!
Stepping into that class and opening myself up to criticism taught me a valuable lesson about writing – as long as the story is rooted in truth, the audience will respond positively. I also learned that fear and creativity can’t live in the same place – one kills the other.
Eve: Many YA writers also seem to be music lovers. If you created a playlist for your novel, what are some of the songs on it?
R.P.: Yes! I wouldn’t have made it through the process of creating this novel without Johnny Cash, India Arie, Cyndi Lauper, and especially Willow Smith. Every musician on INTO WHITE’s playlist has one thing in common, they embrace their own artistic uniqueness. I imagine Toya listening for the courage to be herself, because that’s what I listen for.
[Click here to hear some of the songs on Randi Pink’s Into White playlist.]
Eve: Do you have a critique group and, if so, how did you find them?
R.P.: I do! We’re called The Night Writers, and we met at an SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) conference. We had our first meeting nearly three years ago, and the group has produced such beautiful writing! I encourage every aspiring children’s book author to join, not only SCBWI, but a critique group. Creative minds need to be around other creative minds. Even the most solitary writer needs a regular dose of creative companionship.
Eve: What’s your typical writing schedule? Do you reward yourself for meeting writing goals?
R.P.: I don’t do writing schedules. I write because it’s my compulsion. Example: I can’t get through the pastor’s sermon without scribbling a haiku, poem, or short story on the tithing envelop. J
I usually don’t do rewards either. My reward is the calm that comes when I search my mind for innovative ways to articulate a story. And the feeling of accomplishment when I read (and love!) my own words.
Eve: What’s something you really hope people say after they read your novel?
R.P.: I hope INTO WHITE encourages an honest dialogue about self-denigration. In many ways, we are all Toyas. Hoping to lose those extra pounds. Praying for lighter or darker skin. Wishing for a smaller or larger nose, or waist, or rear-end. Secretly haunted by our own self-doubt.
I sincerely hope that Toya’s vulnerability and openness will inspire the reader to reveal his or her own insecurities to someone they trust, because honesty is the first step to self-love. Accessing true happiness begins with accepting ourselves as imperfect beings. If you’re chasing perfection, there will be no rest.
For more information about Randi Pink and her exciting new YA debut novel, visit:
- website: www.randipink.com
- Instagram: randi_pink