Author Chat with Daniel Aleman (Indivisible), Plus Giveaway! ~ (US Only)
Today we're excited to chat with Daniel Aleman author of
Read on for more about Daniel, his book, plus an giveaway!
Meet Daniel Aleman!
Daniel Aleman was born and raised in Mexico City. A graduate of McGill University, he is passionate about books, coffee, and Mexican food. After spending time in Montreal and the New York City area, he now lives in Toronto, where he is on a never-ending search for the best tacos in the city. You can connect with him on Twitter (@Dan_Aleman), Instagram (@danaleman) or at danielaleman.com [danielaleman.com]
A timely, moving debut novel about a teen's efforts to keep his family together as his parents face deportation.
Mateo Garcia and his younger sister, Sophie, have been taught to fear one word for as long as they can remember: deportation. Over the past few years, however, the fear that their undocumented immigrant parents could be sent back to Mexico has started to fade. Ma and Pa have been in the United States for so long, they have American-born children, and they're hard workers and good neighbors. When Mateo returns from school one day to find that his parents have been taken by ICE, he realizes that his family's worst nightmare has become a reality. With his parents' fate and his own future hanging in the balance, Mateo must figure out who he is and what he is capable of, even as he's forced to question what it means to be an American.
Daniel Aleman's Indivisible is a remarkable story -- both powerful in its explorations of immigration in America and deeply intimate in its portrait of a teen boy driven by his fierce, protective love for his parents and his sister.
~ Author Chat ~
YABC: What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
My family left Mexico when I was a teenager, so immigration is a topic that has always been very close to my heart. I knew for a long time that I wanted to write a book about immigrant characters, but I just wasn’t sure what the right angle would be for the story.
A few years ago, during the last presidential administration, I was walking down the street when an image popped into my mind, of a teenage boy standing inside a New York City bodega, who was feeling deeply upset about something. I slowly filled in the details about what his life in New York was like, what this bodega meant to him and his family, and the reasons why he was upset. That was the moment when it became clear to me that this was the immigration story I needed to tell, and this image ultimately became the inspiration for the opening scene of the book.
YABC: Who is your favorite character in the book?
Mateo, the protagonist, is definitely my favorite character. In many ways, he is a reflection of myself, and I loved being able to tell this story through his eyes and understand myself and my world a bit better as a result. If I had to pick someone from the rest of the cast, I would probably pick Kimmie, one of Mateo’s best friends, because she is funny, caring, and fiercely loyal. I think she’s the kind of friend everyone needs in their life.
YABC: Which came first, the title or the novel?
The novel came first. Initially, this book was titled The Unknown Life of Matt Garcia, which I really loved. Ultimately, once the book sold to a publisher, we felt that there was potential to make the title feel more impactful, so we played around with different options, but none of them felt quite right. That is, until my literary agent emailed me with the idea of titling it Indivisible. There was something about this word that really resonated with me, and I quickly realized it was such a great descriptor of Mateo and his family, because they manage to remain united and strong even when faced with impossible circumstances. Once we had settled on this title, I wrote a scene near the end of the book to show all the ways in which they are indivisible, and that is now one of my favorite moments in the story.
YABC: What scene in the book are you most proud of, and why?
Emotional moments can be the most challenging to write, but they are also my absolute favorite to explore. More than anything, I love crafting scenes that evoke many different emotions at once. There’s one scene involving a cockroach that I adore, and it does exactly that: It is in equal parts funny, nostalgic, and sad, and it ultimately serves as a major turning point for the main character. It is also one of the scenes that remained largely unchanged from first draft to finished book, and it always makes me smile when I revisit it.
YABC: Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you've learned as a writer from then to now?
I’d say one of the most important lessons I’ve ever learned about writing came from one of my college professors, who taught a business writing course, and who said: “Language allows you to say exactly what is on your mind. No matter what you’re thinking, or how complex it may seem, there is always a way to put it into words.” This really expanded my horizons as a writer, because it helped me understand that there doesn’t need to be a compromise between the story I wish to tell and the story that ultimately ends up on the page. As a writer, you have the power to portray stories, scenes, and characters exactly as you envision them in your mind.
YABC: What do you like most about the cover of the book?
I love the symbolism of the cover, which is meaningful in many different ways. The main character is silhouetted against the background, which is a nod to his state of mind throughout the novel — he’s struggling with determining his own identity, and he’s not quite sure who he is or where he fits in. The imagery of the border wall refers to a moment in the book when Mateo realizes that immigrant families must deal with emotional walls as much as physical ones when they are separated. The colors of the American flag are also prominent, which relates back to how Mateo doesn’t quite feel American, yet he doesn’t feel Mexican, either. I truly believe the cover does a fantastic job at communicating the tone of the book, and I am super grateful to our designer, Neil Swaab, and to the amazing artist who illustrated it, Simón Prades!
YABC: What new release book are you looking most forward to in 2021?
Oh, it’s so hard to choose just one! Next up on my TBR is Ace of Spades by
Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé. I have heard amazing things about it, and I can’t wait to jump in! Other books I’m really excited about are Sisters of the Snake by Sarena and Sasha Nanua, Jay’s Gay Agenda by Jason June, and What Beauty There Is by Cory Anderson.
YABC: What was your favorite book in 2020?
There were so many amazing books published last year, but one I find myself thinking about often is Surrender Your Sons by Adam Sass. It is a heart-stopping debut that kept me turning the pages non-stop, and I love the fact that it is unapologetically queer.
YABC: What’s up next for you?
I’m currently working on my second young adult novel! It is coming in late 2022, and I’d say it is somewhat similar to Indivisible. It is a book about immigration, family, friendship, and growing up too quickly. I also have other exciting projects in the works, including a middle grade book and even more young adult novels!
YABC: Which part of the writing process do you enjoy more: Drafting or Revising?
I absolutely love drafting. This is when I feel closest to the characters, and when I’m able to truly inhabit their minds and their lives. I am also an obsessive outliner — I like knowing everything that is going to happen from start to finish, so it’s really amazing to see how everything I imagined comes to life on the page while I’m drafting. That being said, lately I’ve been spending most of my time revising, which is a process I’ve also learned to love!
By: Daniel Aleman
Release Date: May 4th, 2021
Publisher: Little, Brown for Young Readers
Three winners will each receive a copy of Indivisible (Daniel Aleman) ~ (US Only)
*Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway*
This book sounds really good. I love books like this that tell very realistic stories that the readers can learn from.