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The Next Big Thing Blog Hop

If you’re not sure what a “Blog Hop” is, check out my earlier post, and hop on! It’s a great way to introduce new authors and books to your circle, and to get practice pitching your own project out there as well. I was tagged by the dear Stephanie Nikolopoulos, a new friend and dedicated writer who is working on an exciting new book about legendary novelist and poet Jack Kerouac. She’s been hard at work on it and I can’t wait to read the finished product.

Here’s info about my book, Powder Necklace:

Where did the idea come from for the book?

When I was 12, my parents sent me from Queens, NY to Ghana, where we’re originally from. I lived and schooled there for three years. It was a life-altering experience for me, mainly because I was really embarrassed about being from Ghana/Africa. I grew up in the ’80s when assimilation was the name of the game, and the Ethiopian famine was in heavy rotation on the news. Africa represented abject poverty, famine, and war. But after seeing for myself that only a fraction of the story about Ghana, and by extension Africa, was being shown on the news/American television, I wanted to write a book  that created a more balanced portrait. I started to write Powder Necklace as a memoir, but wanted to open the story up so it wasn’t just specific to my experience, but could be more universally enjoyed. Though inspired by actual events, it is fiction.

What genre does your book fall under?

Powder Necklace is a YA / coming-of-age novel.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Powder Necklace chronicles the experience of 13 year old Lila Adjei when her mother abruptly yanks her from her familiar life in London to live and school in Ghana. Lila’s father is not a main character, but he is a shadow throughout the story that completes Lila’s circle in the end. With that preamble, I’d say:

Lila should be played by an unknown.

Lila’s mother should be played by Viola DavisAma K. AbebreseGenevieve Nnaji or Jackie Appiah

Lila’s father by Idris Elba, Chiwetel EjioforAdewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Djimon Hounsou, or Kwaku Sintim-Misa.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

When Lila Adjei’s mother sends her packing on an indefinite “vacation” to her unfamiliar homeland Ghana, Lila finds herself globe-spanning quest of self-discovery.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Powder Necklace  was published by Simon & Schuster’s Washington Square Press.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

It took me about a year and a half to write the first draft, but four years to find a literary agent!

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Powder Necklace has been compared to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie‘s first book Purple Hibiscus.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?

I didn’t feel like there were many novels out there about contemporary Africa, and I felt like black literature immediately conjured the African-American experience. With Powder NecklaceI wanted to include a version my story which is African, American, with some Europe thrown in.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

I think Powder Necklace is a great introduction to Ghana without any political biases or agenda to present Ghana/Africa in a certain way.

Five Authors You Should Check Out:

Deanna Nikaido is a talented poet I had the chance to join on a fellowship/residency in Brazil.

Tayari Jones (I’m in the middle of her latest book Silver Sparrow which is absolutely amazing)

Tinesha Davis (you will just gobble up her book Holler at the Moon)

Katherine Thomas Woodward (I just finished her self-help relationship book Calling in “The One” and thought it was wonderful–a must-read for single girls who don’t want to be!)

Catherine McKinley (I loved her book Indigo, a memoir of her travels across West Africa learning about the history of the indigo dye trade and African textiles)

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