Hi friends! I’m so happy to share my A Talk With… today and to talk about a book I’m really, really excited about!!
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!
I’m so, so, SO very excited today, friends, because I’m welcoming the two authors of one of my most anticipated debuts of the year… Maika and Maritza Moulite! They wrote together Dear Haiti, Love Alaine, an absolutely beautiful-looking debut that I know will win my heart and… they wrote it together as sisters. Honestly this is one of my dreams too so… this makes me feel all dreamy and HAPPY. I can’t wait to share my interview with you all so keep on reading!
1. Dear Haiti, Love Alaine is a story told through letters, articles, emails, diary entries and more. Was the idea of juggling between different forms of media here from the start? How did you pick which media to take and manage to make it fit seamlessly into the story?
Maritza read and adored Where’d You Go Bernadette and is a sucker for an epistolary novel in general. She convinced Maika (read: bothered every day) until she agreed to write Dear Haiti that way as well. That’s how we make all our book decisions actually. We state our cases and go with whoever who is more passionate because we’re sure it’ll make the story better. And the beauty of writing an epistolary novel is that you’re building a puzzle. For each section, we thought of the best way to present that piece of information in the most entertaining way possible, while also doing some “showing” and not just “telling.”
2. Your debut novel tells the story of Alaine, visiting Haiti for the first time and discovering her roots. It seems like such a heartwarming, family-focused kind of story and, with you two being sisters as well… I can’t help but wonder: was the family theme something that you knew should be omnipresent in that story you wrote, or did it impose itself as you started drafting together?
Awesome question! The family unit plays a huge role in Haitian culture. Not just your immediate family either. Your aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins, cousins’ cousins, all end up knowing your business somehow! But besides that, we knew we wanted to create a story about the women who make sacrifices for themselves and their families. They are often forgotten or overlooked but vital to a family’s survival.
3. Writing a book together: how does this work? Does one of you has a predetermined place, writing specific scenes, does one control the computer while the other brainstorms? How do you work together?
We make an incredibly extensive outline (Maika calls it “plotting the plot”) and then we jump in. We don’t split characters or chapters. We just pick up where the other has left off and then for each chapter go back and edit and sprinkle in any special pieces of dialogue or action we come up with so we feel like the story is a cohesive unit with one voice. Sometimes we even end up arguing about who wrote what because we can’t remember anymore!
4. If you had to make a playlist for Dear Haiti, Love Alaine, can you give us some songs you would put into it?
We have a DHLA playlist on Spotify! Funnily enough, we put it together after we wrote the book but the songs go with the vibe we were going for. You can check it out here.
A few stand out songs:
1. Michael Brun, Eddy Francois: Ede M Chante
2. T-Vice: Toi et moi
3. Emeline Michel: A.k.i.k.o
5. One upcoming book in 2019 and a book deal announced already for 2020! Are you planning on writing more books together in the future? Maybe in different genres than contemporary? 🙂
Yes! Writing has been a dream job our entire lives! To be able to do this now… still doesn’t feel real sometimes. We’re going to keep writing and see where our creativity takes us, in different genres, and age ranges.
1. You are debuting this year with Dear Haiti, Love Alaine. Are there any other #Novel19s, books debuting this year that you absolutely adored and would recommend?
There are too many books we are excited to name but off the tops of our heads, we love:
i. I’m Not Dying with You Tonight by Gilly Segal and Kimberly Jones
ii. The Field Guide to the North American Teenager by Ben Philippe
iii. Don’t Date Rosa Santos by Nina Moreno
iv. Color Me In by Natasha Díaz
v. Truly Madly Royally by Debbie Rigaud
2. If you could eat one food for the rest of your life: what would it be?
Maritza: Lactose-free frozen yogurt topped with peanut butter cups and Nutella then just a bite of chicken to get rid of the sweetness after
Maika: That is strangely specific, Maritza 😂! I would probably eat sushi. Yum!
3. Can you share one line of Dear Haiti, Love Alaine that you particularly like?
“Call me Rumi and Sir, because the Ivys were calling my name.”
Thank you so, SO much for chatting with me today, Maika, Maritza, I had so much fun with this interview and I hope you all did, too! Friends, keep on reading to find out more about Dear Haiti, Love Alaine, its awesome pre-order campaign and keep this book on your radar, it releases on September 3rd, 2019!
📖 More about Dear Haiti, Love Alaine
Find & Order Dear Haiti, Love Alaine.
Co-written by sisters Maika and Maritza Moulite, and told in epistolary style through letters, articles, emails, and diary entries, this exceptional debut novel captures a sparkling new voice and irrepressible heroine in a celebration of storytelling sure to thrill fans of Nicola Yoon, Ibi Zoboi and Jenna Evans Welch!
When a school presentation goes very wrong, Alaine Beauparlant finds herself suspended, shipped off to Haiti and writing the report of a lifetime…
You might ask the obvious question: What do I, a seventeen-year-old Haitian American from Miami with way too little life experience, have to say about anything?
Actually, a lot.
Thanks to “the incident” (don’t ask), I’m spending the next two months doing what my school is calling a “spring volunteer immersion project.” It’s definitely no vacation. I’m toiling away under the ever-watchful eyes of Tati Estelle at her new nonprofit. And my lean-in queen of a mother is even here to make sure I do things right. Or she might just be lying low to dodge the media sharks after a much more public incident of her own…and to hide a rather devastating secret.
All things considered, there are some pretty nice perks…like flirting with Tati’s distractingly cute intern, getting actual face time with my mom and experiencing Haiti for the first time. I’m even exploring my family’s history—which happens to be loaded with betrayals, superstitions and possibly even a family curse.
You know, typical drama. But it’s nothing I can’t handle.
🎁 Preorder Dear Haiti, Love Alaine and receive AWESOME gifts!
If you preorder a copy of Dear Haiti, Love Alaine , you can receive wonderful goodies, friends!
- A special note from the authors,
- Haitian recipes that you can try at home,
- Beautiful postcards featuring images from Haitian photographer Sameul Dameus.
This preorder campaign ends September 2, 2019 and is only open to US and Canada. Check out the authors website for more info!
📖 More about the authors, Maika & Maritza Moulite
About Maika Moulite
Maika Moulite is a Miami native and daughter of Haitian immigrants. She earned a bachelor’s in marketing from Florida State University and an MBA from the University of Miami. When she’s not using her digital prowess to help nonprofits and major organizations tell their stories online, she’s writing stories of her own. She also blogs at Daily Ellement, a lifestyle website featuring everything from diverse inspirational women to career guidance. She’s the oldest of four sisters and loves Young Adult fantasy, fierce female leads, and laughing.
About Maritza Moulite
Maritza Moulite graduated from the University of Florida with a bachelor’s in women’s studies and the University of Southern California with a master’s in journalism. She’s worked in various capacities for NBC News, CNN, and USA TODAY. An admirer of Michelle Obama, Maritza is a perpetual student and blogs at Daily Ellement as well. Her favorite song is “September” by Earth, Wind & Fire.
Do you want to read Dear Haiti, Love Alaine? Did you read it already? Are you anticipating it as much as I am?
Do you enjoy contemporaries exploring families and family roots? I’d love to hear from you in comments!