Maika & Maritza Moulite: Dear Haiti, Love Alaine
September is here! I'm very excited about September (gee I wonder why) but that's not what this post is about. This post is about celebrating my fellow debuts! I know you're going to love all the fresh books coming at you this month!
Dear Haiti, Love Alaine
by Maika and Maritza Moulite
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.
September 3rd, 2019
Introduce yourself and your debut novel!
Hi! We are Maika and Maritza Moulite, authors of DEAR HAITI, LOVE ALAINE. Alaine is a Haitian American high school senior who gets sent to Haiti after a prank goes wrong at school. In Haiti, she learns about her family history, gets closer to her mom, and even tries to break a family curse.
What’s the most surprising part about your debut journey so far?
All the friends we’ve made along the way! Writing is so solitary. Luckily, our process isn’t as lonely because there are two of us but we really weren’t a part of the online writer community before announcing our book deal and thought we would just write a book and then it would come out and then we would do that over and over. But we’ve met so many amazing authors online and in the real world and that has been a joy.
Give a shout-out to a fellow debut!
There are not that many Haitian authors who are traditionally published out there. So we were absolutely thrilled when we realized that at least six Haitian authors were being published this year alone: us, Edwidge Danticat, Ibi Zoboi, and two fellow debuts Ben Philippe and Debbie Rigaud. Edwidge, Ibi, and Ben wrote us amazing blurbs and we’ll be in conversation with Ibi, Ben, and Debbie during our tour. The support from fellow authors has been so humbling. Give it up for the Haitian Sensations!
What inspired you to write this book?
Alaine Beauparlant came to us first. We somehow were in 100 percent agreement of who she was. Then we developed adventures that she would end up in for sure. Also, as kids, we read a lot but didn’t see many books about Black characters, and Haitian American characters specifically. Now we’re blessed enough to have written one. The best part is, everyone can relate to Alaine’s story, Haitian, American, or not.
Describe your main character in 3 words.
What advice would you give to a new writer?
Keep writing! You get better the more you do it. And everything else, the exciting announcements, the fun trips and lists, and interviews, (usually) comes after you’ve written a book! So keep writing!
How do you select character names?
The NSA probably thinks we’re always pregnant because we just search for “baby names” or “Haitian baby names” or “Spanish baby names” or “French baby names” or “popular last names” etc. and pick the names that we’re drawn to, whether it’s because of meaning or just how it looks or sounds.
If you could only buy one book this year, which book would it be?
Maritza: Five Dark Fates by Kendare Blake. I love, love, love the Three Dark Crowns series. I can’t stop thinking about it!
Maika: One book?! What torture! If I absolutely had to choose only one book to buy it would be With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo. It’s going to be a movie now and I can’t wait!
Share a music playlist!
We present to you the DEAR HAITI, LOVE ALAINE Playlist:
Thanks for interviewing, Maika and Maritza! I can't wait to read your book when it comes out on 9/3/19!