Today I’m touring my lovely friend Debbie Rigaud who has a story in a new anthology called Open Mic, which is edited by Mitali Perkins and has the prettiest cover that you’re going to see all year long!!!
About OPEN MIC
Listen in as ten YA authors use their own brand of humor to share their stories about growing up between cultures. Edited by acclaimed author and speaker Mitali Perkins, this collection of fiction and nonfiction embraces a mix of styles as diverse as their authors, from laugh-out-loud funny to wry, ironic, or poignant, in prose, poetry and comic form.
Thanks to overprotective parenting, Simone’s elderly great aunt Ma Tante has more of a social life than she does. But one afternoon, Ma Tante’s social scene awkwardly intersects with Simone’s in the unlikeliest of places.
Rave Reviews for OPEN MIC:
“[Open Mic] will leave readers thinking about the ways that humor can be a survival tool in a world that tends to put people in boxes.” –Publishers Weekly
“Naomi Shihab Nye offers an eloquent poem about her Arab American dad, whose friendliness made him ‘Facebook before it existed.’ David Yoo, Debbie Rigaud, Varian Johnson and Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich also contribute stories to this noteworthy anthology, which robustly proves Perkins’ assertion that ‘funny is powerful.’”
–Horn Book Magazine
“Teachers will find some powerful material here about how the young can become discomfited and find solace in their multifaceted cultural communities.
–School Library Journal
1. How did you come up with the idea for this book?
OPEN MIC is the brainchild of Mitali Perkins, the book’s editor/contributor who is also a YA/MG author with a passion for cross-cultural stories. When I heard about Mitali’s plans to edit a collection of humorous short stories about growing up between cultures, I was wild about the idea. As a child of over-protective immigrants, I had experienced enough awkward, cringe-worthy moments in my teen years to inspire tons of humorous short stories. So when I found out that my story “Voila” was selected for the book, I was overjoyed.
2. What’s been your favorite author moment so far in your career
It’s tough to pin it to one specific moment, but what stands out is the warm reception I received when my romantic comedy PERFECT SHOT was released. Readers, bloggers, librarians and YA authors welcomed the book, included it in lists (like humorous books of the year lists or books featuring sporty main character lists). It was a great feeling to see both the book and myself accepted by this awesome community of YA lovers. There’s always that scary moment before a book is released when you fear the worse, but thankfully, I encountered lots of support and encouragement.
3. It’s Oscar speech time! Who are the three people that you would most like to thank for helping you write this story?
That’s easy–my godmother is the inspiration for the elderly character in “Voila,” so she gets the first mention. Next I’d have to thank my grandmother, another awesome senior with an unexpected quick wit and a comedic sensibility that won’t quit. And finally, I’d thank OPEN MIC editor Mitali for creating this special platform to support this form of storytelling.
4. Describe a typical writing day
When I lived in Bermuda, I had writing sessions with my friend and fellow author Sylvia May. We’d take turns hosting these writing (and chatting!) mornings, and we’d keep track of how many pages we’d average per week. It was a great system! This summer I moved back to the States, so I’m excited to get back to writing at local coffee shops. I find that I’m my most productive when I write in public settings.
5. Tell me one strange random fact about this story
The setting for my story is an inner city doctor’s office waiting room where my protagonist and her elderly aunt wait hours and hours for her aunt’s name to be called. It may not come as news to some folks, but there really are medical practice offices where patients wait alllll day to be seen by the doctor. Hopefully, my story captures a bit of how maddening it can be to experience this.