Interview With Tracy Badua (This is Not a Personal Statement)

Today we are very excited to share an interview with Author Tracy Badua (This is Not a Personal Statement)!




Meet the Author: Tracy Badua

 Tracy Badua is an award-winning Filipino American author of books about young people with sunny hearts in a sometimes stormy world. By day, she is an attorney who works in national housing policy and programs, and by night, she squeezes in writing, family time, and bites of her secret candy stash. She lives in San Diego, California, with her family.

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About the Book: This is Not a Personal Statement

After getting rejected from her dream college, a teen forges her own acceptance and commits to living a lie: breaking into dorm rooms, dodging security, crashing classes, and figuring out how to actually get in next semester before she’s caught.

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~Author Chat~


YABC:  What gave you the inspiration to write this book?

I grew up in an environment focused on academic success, and I went to schools full of intelligent, driven, and highly competitive students like Perla, the main character in This is Not a Personal Statement. In high school, alums would actually tell me that college was the easy part: I just had to push hard to get there, even if it felt overwhelming sometimes. Apparently (and appallingly), academic-related misery was a standard part of the competitive high schooler experience.

Years later, when I saw stories on the news about people who were caught pretending to be students at elite universities, my gut reaction was “I completely understand why someone would do this.” That thought was immediately followed by a “That’s not the most appropriate reaction, is it?” This led to some deep self-reflection and ultimately the beginnings of a story exploring the how and why of these extreme fake-it-til-you-make-it situations.

YABC: Who is your favorite character in the book?

My favorite character in This is Not a Personal Statement is Perla, the main character. At times, it can be hard to root for her because she’s clearly making all the wrong decisions, beginning with her faking a whole acceptance letter. This made writing her character all the more challenging, yet all the more fun.

YABC: What scene in the book are you most proud of, and why?

I’m most proud of the scene in which Perla moves onto campus. From my own experience, I knew that Perla’s parents weren’t just going to stick her on a plane or bus with her belongings and send her off to campus. They’d want to move her in themselves, airing out the brand new bedsheet set and introducing themselves to dorm neighbors. This meant I had to plot out exactly how Perla was going to trick her parents into moving her into a dorm room of a school she wasn’t enrolled in, and pulling this off felt like solving a thousand-piece puzzle.

YABC:  What came first, the concept, landscape, characters, or something else?

For This is Not a Personal Statement, the concept came to me first. I knew I wanted to explore what would drive someone to such depths of fraud, and that led to the complex, perfection-seeking, bad-decision maker that is Perla.

YABC:   What can readers expect to find in your books?

In my young adult books, readers can expect to find my main characters in chaotic situations, often of their own making, trying their best to make things right (or what they perceive as “right”). And I always try to sprinkle in some humor and hope in the pages too.

YABC: What is your favorite snack when writing?

Chocolate! It’s a great incentive to sit down and start working – and keep working—and I’ve actually had parts of my stories click together in my brain as I was trying to tear through tricky candy wrappers.

YABC: If you were able to meet them, would you be friends with your main character?

I would probably try to befriend Perla, but she’d see me as potential academic competition (and still likely not as smart as her) and avoid me.

YABC:   What do you do when you procrastinate?

I nap. I wish I had something more fun to say, like a cool video game or an outdoorsy activity. But I have two young kids and a full-time job, so napping has become my favorite way to avoid writing yet still feel like I spent the time wisely.

YABC:   What’s up next for you?

For my next book, I’m returning to my contemporary fantasy middle grade roots with The Takeout (May 9, 2023 from Clarion Books), which is about a family-owned food truck going up against big celebrity chefs who have opened a competing restaurant featuring the same exact Filipino-Indian fusion recipes. My next contemporary young adult novel, We’re Never Getting Home is slated for Winter 2024 with Quill Tree Books. We’re Never Getting Home follows two ex-best friends who begrudgingly end up sharing a ride to an outdoor music festival, only to have their driver lose his keys while crowd surfing.

YABC:   Is there anything that you would like to add?

My standard disclaimer every time I talk about This is Not a Personal Statement: please don’t commit fraud, friends.




Title: This is Not a Personal Statement

Author: Tracy Badua

Release Date: January 17, 2023

Publisher: Quill Tree Books

Genre: Contemporary

Age Range: Young Adult