Good morning everyone!
How are you all today? It’s Monday once again, but I’ve got something to cheer you up: a wonderful guest post from author Saadia Faruqi! As part of the UK blog tour for her book, I’m honoured to host a guest post about why Saadia wrote the book (and let me tell you, I think it’s lush and I hope you guys enjoy it!)
“Mimi is not thrilled to be spending her summer in Karachi, Pakistan, with grandparents she’s never met. Secretly, she wishes to find her long-absent father, and plans to write to him in her beautiful new journal. The cook’s daughter, Sakina, still hasn’t told her parents that she’ll be accepted to school only if she can improve her English test score—but then, how could her family possibly afford to lose the money she earns working with her Abba in a rich family’s kitchen? Although the girls seem totally incompatible at first, as the summer goes on, Sakina and Mimi realize that they have plenty in common—and that they each need the other to get what they want most.”
Why I Wrote A Thousand Questions
Inspiration strikes in a funny way. You never have an expected or ordinary idea for a story. It’s always something out of the blue, something that makes you sit up in bed in the middle of the night and say aha! My husband is quite used to these incidents. I am too.
Even then, my inspiration for my previous books has always been within the boundaries of my physical world. I never thought I’d write a book set anywhere outside of the U.S. or Europe. My readers live here, after all. Then a few years ago everything changed. I took my children to my birth place of Pakistan for summer vacation, because my mother needed help during her knee surgery. They’d not visited for years, and hardly remembered anything from previous visits. This time was different.
Almost as soon as we stepped off the airplane in Karachi and entered the hot, humid air of the city, I could see my children’s reactions. The next month was full of inspiration for me. I watched my children react in a strange love-hate sort of way to everything about their vacation. The food was too spicy, the weather was too hot, and they couldn’t speak to anyone. And yet there were also positive aspects, how everyone looked familiar, and how they finally fit in with other brown people… their people.
Over the years, I’ve witnessed my first-generation American kids grapple with a hyphenated identity and not really feel comfortable and welcomed anywhere. In the U.S. they’re too eastern, and in Pakistan they’re too western. Yet I believe that when they visited Pakistan, they finally found a little bit of the home that they’d felt was elusive. They found themselves, in a way.
That was my aha! moment. I decided to write about a girl who visits her grandparents in Pakistan and finds an unexpected bit of home in the people who live there. My aim was to explore how children born in the diaspora feel when they visit their “homeland” – a place to which they have no real connection beyond the stories they’ve been told – as well as how they differ so starkly with the children who live in the homeland itself.
A Thousand Questions is my love letter to my birth place, and a gift to my children. I hope they can be comfortable and happy wherever they live.
A massive thank you to Saadia for asking me to be part of the UK blog tour for this book! There’s some brilliant bloggers on the tour, so please go check out their posts when they go live, and please support this book when it comes out in the UK – it’s a great story of friendship, family and the importance of kindness!