Today we're excited to chat with Maika & Maritza Moulite authors of
Dear Haiti, Love Alaine.
Read on for more about Maika & Maritza and their book, plus an giveaway!
Meet Maika & Maritza Moulite!
Maika Moulite and Maritza Moulite are self-professed bookworms who have been devouring YA for years. They grew up in Miami with two younger sisters, a large extended family, a love for reading and their own Haitian culture. The character Alaine, in their debut YA novel, DEAR HAITI, LOVE ALAINE, is the heroine they were waiting for as teens and their goal is to make Haitian culture and history more accessible through a fun, fast-paced, but also introspective story line that anyone can relate to.
Meet 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.
~ Author Chat ~
YABC: What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
Our main character Alaine Beauparlant came to us fully formed! She was a little Athena who sprouted from our heads, like we were Zeus. And then we imagined all the adventures and trouble a girl like that would get herself into and out of.
YABC: Who is your favorite character in the book?
Alaine! Alaine is quirky, sarcastic, ambitious, intelligent, confident, and has amazing hair. She says what she means (sometimes to her detriment) and is never afraid to be herself. Even though she acts like she’s got it all figured out, she knows that it’s her family and friends who give her the support to keep going. And she would do anything for them.
YABC: Which came first, the title or the novel?
The novel! We knew from the beginning that our first title was kind of a placeholder. The way we ended up with DEAR HAITI, LOVE ALAINE is actually the most Haitian story ever and very appropriate: Our editor Natashya’s former assistant who has since been promoted (hi, Gabby!) had a dream of the name of the title. When she got to work the next day, she saw an email from herself at around 2 a.m. that simply said “Dear Haiti, Love Alaine.” It’s perfect.
YABC: What do you like most about the cover of the book?
Everything. We love the red for its boldness. The shades and the hoops are very Miami. The background and Alaine’s dress melt into one, which we take as her getting more and more enmeshed in her new world. But most of all, we love that a Black girl, with deep brown skin, is the star. We would be immediately drawn to this cover even if it wasn’t ours.
YABC: Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you've learned as a writer from then to now?
Just keep writing. You can have all the ideas in the multiverse but it all comes down to execution.
YABC: Which part of the writing process do you enjoy more: Drafting or Revising?
Whichever we aren’t doing! Although there is a certain peace of mind knowing that at least you have something to work with in revisions, there’s also a particular thrill when a page is blank and then you fill it up with your own words.
YABC: What’s up next for you?
As you now know, we’re terrible at titles so right now we’re calling our second novel the GREEN BOOK BOOK, in which a teen girl decides to honor the memory of her sister who died in police custody by taking a road trip inspired by her history buff sister's heirloom copy of the Green Book, the civil rights-era guide to safe traveling for African Americans.
YABC: Is there anything that you would like to add?
We’re so proud of ourselves for righting the type of story we would’ve wanted to read as voracious readers growing up. We love that we have the opportunity to showcase our Haitian culture and explore the different facets of a Haitian American girl. And something we’ve learned throughout our lives is that there are universal stories wherever you look. You may speak a different language or have a different socioeconomic status or cultural background but at the end of the day, we’re all just people living life.
PS - Thank you for this amazing opportunity!
Dear Haiti, Love Alaine
By: Maika & Maritza Moulite
Release Date: September 3rd, 2019
Publisher: Inkyard Press
One winner will each receive a copy of Dear Haiti, Love Alaine (Maika & Maritza Moulite) ~ (US Only)
*Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway*