Hi friends! I’m so happy to be back today to chat with another author whose debut I am really, really anticipating with my feature, A Talk With…!
In case you missed it, “A Talk With” is a brand new feature here on Drizzle & Hurricane Books, where I will invite young adult book authors to chat with me about their upcoming books, share their writing tips and tricks and more!
Today, I’m having the lovely Natasha Dìaz on the blog to talk about her upcoming debut, Color Me In, a contemporary story I personally count in one of my most anticipated reads of the year. We’re talking about writing, personal experiences, awesome book covers and sharing, as always, some awesome recommendations!
1. You have a lot of experience in writing, in different fields: from screenwriting to personal essays, to freelance writing and now, debuting with your first young adult novel. How different was your novel-writing experience – if it was any different ? Are there any things, writing methods, brainstorming tips you stole from your screenwriting process, for instance, that you used in your novel writing, too ?
Screenwriting is the format of writing I have had the most experience in, at least in practice. I took playwriting classes in college (which is an adjacent format to screenwriting in terms of technique and style) and I also graduated from the UCLA professionals program, which is a three semester certificate program where each semester you workshop a new script from concept to first draft. My brain loves to come up with dialogue, I hear the voices in my head and the conversations almost write themselves to the point where I find my fingers are struggling to keep up with the lines. For some reason, I struggle with prose. I have to be in a specific zone and even then, this nagging voice with the name of imposter syndrome gets in my way. So, sometimes what I do is just write the dialogue of the scene first and then go back in and sprinkle in the descriptions and the set ups around the dialogue.
2. Color Me In is, from what I gathered, loosely based on your own life experiences. How did your experiences reflect on the writing of this book ? Was it difficult to get into writing about your multiracial experience, to draw the line between sharing your own personal experiences and fiction-writing ?
Many aspects of the book are based on my own experiences. I drew from my real life to create the characters, the locations, and some of the circumstances that Nevaeh, the protagonist, finds herself in. One of the pressures when writing an #ownvoices novel is I had moments where I felt like I needed to stick to exactly what happened in my own life because I was worried that otherwise, it would be inauthentic. But I had to remind myself that I had an overall message I wanted to get across and the best way to reach that goal was to blend truth with fiction. It took me a while to believe in my ability to do that effectively, but I am so glad I was able to move past my fears to put out the story I truly wanted to tell.
3. When you’re writing, what does your writing schedule look like? (If you even have one, obviously!) Do you write more on certain times of the day, do you need a specific snack or drink of choice to get through the words of the day? Do you prefer notebook writing or computer writing? 🙂
As I said earlier, I struggle with writing prose, so procrastination is a huge part of my process, but once I do get into a good rhythm, I find that sticking to a routine helps. That usually includes a latte, the soundtrack to The Hours, and turning the wifi off (I wrote on the computer). In terms of time of day, I have stayed up until 4 in the morning, but I try my best to start in the morning and stop when the “traditional” workday ends so I can spend time with my husband and give my brain a break. However, when it comes to the final weeks before the deadline, all bets are off.
4. Can we expect more writing projects in the young adult books field soon? Another book, or maybe books in the works, anything you can tell us about? Or maybe just a hint? 🙂
I’ve got some stuff in the works, but nothing I can talk about just yet! Let’s just say, this isn’t the last YA you will see from me 🙂
1. Is there any debuts, #novel19s books just like yours that you loved and would recommend? (this may be a little cruel… so maybe you can mention two or three 🙂 )
Oh, I have had the honor of reading so many amazing books from #Novel19s and the Las Musas (a collective of women & non-binary (identifying on the female spectrum) Latinx MG & YA authors I am a part of who everyone should check out, https://www.lasmusasbooks.com/) Just to name a few: Opposite of Always by Justin Reynolds, I Wanna Be Where You Are by Kristina Forest, We Set The Dark on fire, by Tehlor Kay Meija, Dont Date Rosa Santos by Nina Moreno, The Moon Within by Aida Salazar, Just South of Home by Karen Strong, A Good Kind of Trouble by Lisa More Ramee, and I’m currently in the middle of For Black Girls Like Me by Mariami Lockington, which will knock your socks off.
2. Let’s talk about beautiful book covers, since Color Me In is one of my favorite book covers… for sure! Are there any covers for new, old, debuts or not that you fell in love with lately? 🙂
Oh thank you! I can’t take much credit for it but I love my cover so much and feel so fortunate to have had Regina Flath as my designer and Bijou Karman as my artist! I am and will always be in love with the covers for The Poet X (by Elizabeth Acevedo) and Tyler Johnson Was Here (By Jay Coles). It should also be noted that I adored these books in their totality, they took my breath away, front cover to back cover.
Cover design credits:
- The Poet X, Elizabeth Acevedo, cover designed by Erin Fitzsimmons, and featuring art by Gabriel Moreno based on a photo by AMANDA.
- Tyler Johnson Was Here, Jay Coles, cover designed by Marcie Lawrence with art by Charlotte Day.
- Color Me In, Natasha Dìaz, cover designed by Regina Flath and art by Bijou Karman.
3. Can you share with us one line of Color Me In that you’re particularly proud of?
Ooo! Tough question. I am really proud of this line because it sums up the message I hope readers walk away with when they finish Color Me In:
“What I know now is that privilege is a powerful drug, especially if you have the freedom to feel sorry for yourself.”
Thank you so, SO much for chatting with me today, Natasha, it was such a pleasure to have you on the blog! Friends, keep on reading to find out more about Color Me In and make sure to keep an eye on it when it releases, on August 20th!
📖 More about Color Me In
Who is Nevaeh Levitz?
Growing up in an affluent suburb of New York City, sixteen-year-old Nevaeh Levitz never thought much about her biracial roots. When her Black mom and Jewish dad split up, she relocates to her mom’s family home in Harlem and is forced to confront her identity for the first time.
Nevaeh wants to get to know her extended family, but one of her cousins can’t stand that Nevaeh, who inadvertently passes as white, is too privileged, pampered, and selfish to relate to the injustices they face on a daily basis as African Americans. In the midst of attempting to blend their families, Nevaeh’s dad decides that she should have a belated bat mitzvah instead of a sweet sixteen, which guarantees social humiliation at her posh private school. Even with the push and pull of her two cultures, Nevaeh does what she’s always done when life gets complicated: she stays silent.
It’s only when Nevaeh stumbles upon a secret from her mom’s past, finds herself falling in love, and sees firsthand the prejudice her family faces that she begins to realize she has a voice. And she has choices. Will she continue to let circumstances dictate her path? Or will she find power in herself and decide once and for all who and where she is meant to be?
📖 More about the author, Natasha Díaz
Natasha Díaz is a born and raised New Yorker, currently residing in Brooklyn, NY with her tall husband. She spends most of her days writing with no pants on and alternating between E.R. and Grey’s Anatomy binges.
Formerly a reality TV producer, Natasha is both an author and screenwriter. Her scripts have placed as a quarterfinalist in the Austin Film Festival and a finalist for both the NALIP Diverse Women in Media Fellowship and the Sundance Episodic Story Lab. Her essays can be found in The Establishment and Huffington Post.
Raised by a first generation half-Liberian/half-Brazilian mother and a Jewish-American father, Natasha writes stories about people who don’t fit into the boxes society imposes, and instead, create their own as they search for their places in the world. Her first novel, Color Me In, will be published by Delacorte Press/Random House August, 20 2019.
Find Natasha Díaz on:
Do you want to read Color Me In? Did you read it already? Are you anticipating it as much as I am??
And.. what do you think of this gorgeous book cover? Any cover favorites? I’d love to hear from you in comments!
Hello friends! As this blog post publishes, I am still on hiatus and on holidays, until Sunday, August 11th. I won’t be replying to comments or anything else until that date. Thank you for stopping by and see you soon! x