Monday, August 24, 2020

Jenny Has Five Questions for Adib Khorram

I'm so happy to welcome YA author Adib Khorram to the Boswellians today to chat about his new shining star of a book, Darius The Great Deserves Better. I've been a huge fan of Adib’s writing ever since I read his debut novel as an advance copy before it was even published. (Booksellers are lucky that way.) Just like his first book Darius the Great is Not Okay, this follow up takes on essential topics like identity, depression, and finding connections not just among your peers but also within your own family. The result is a story that’s both fun to read and powerfully moving. Once again, I loved the detailed and laugh-out-loud observations Darius makes of the world around him.
Adib Khorram won the Morris Award from the American Library Association, which is given annually to a first-time author writing for teens. He also won the Asian/Pacific American Literature Association’s Young Adult Award and a Boston Globe-Horn Book Award Honor. Wow!

JENNY CHOU: Welcome Adib. I’m feeling so lucky today! I get to chat about one of my favorite YA characters, Darius Kellner, with the author of his books. I always like to start off my interviews by talking about all the challenges the main character is dealing with as he makes his way to the end of the book. On the surface, a cute boyfriend (who can cook!) and the internship of his dreams should be making Darius super happy. So tell us what’s going on in his head and in his life that’s tripping him up.

ADIB KHORRAM: Thank you so much for having me! I think that Darius has set goals for himself and achieved them and is now experiencing that feeling that I’ve had in my life (and I think a lot of people have) of: now what? And, is this all there is? So he’s grappling with the idea versus the reality, and trying to figure out if what he said he wanted is what’s actually good for him.
JC: Your writing wields such a powerful impact that reading your work is both a joy and a journey back through the emotionally draining days of high school. And I mean that as a high praise! For readers who are still in high school, this is an author who gets who you are now and who you are endeavoring to become. Adib, what do you hope readers, and especially teens, take away from Darius’s story?

AK: I hope they take away a sense of agency over their own lives. And a sense of freedom to change their minds, if what they’ve chosen isn’t making them happy. And hopefully also a little bit of comfort, too. Life is pretty tough right now.

JC: For your day job, you work as a graphic designer. What was your first inkling that you might be a writer?

AK: When I was in seventh grade, me and my friends went to an afterschool writing club, and basically wrote thinly-veiled self-insert Star Trek fanfiction. I’ve loved writing ever since. I don’t really have a moment when I decided I would try to be a professional writer; sometimes it feels like it accidentally happened. Sometimes I still don’t feel like a professional writer, to be honest!

JC: I’m hoping for lots more books about Darius in the future. Maybe ten or perhaps an even dozen. Can you tell us what’s up next for you? Did I hear something about a picture book?

AK: I do indeed have a picture book! It’s called Seven Special Somethings: A Nowruz Story, about the Persian New Year, and it’s very adorable. It comes out February 16, 2021. I’ve got some other irons in the fire but nothing I can really talk about yet!

JC: Let’s imagine you get to be an Indie bookseller for a day! Are there any new releases you’re excited about and would like to suggest to YA readers?

AK: The quarantimes have been really hard on my reading habits. I’ve switched to audiobooks in large part, because I can listen to them while I play Animal Crossing. But I’m constantly recommending Martha Wells’s The Murderbot Diaries to anyone that comes near me. The latest came out a few months ago. This summer has seen some great releases, too, like Leah Johnson’s You Should See Me In a Crown and Kacen Callender’s Felix Ever After.

Thank you so much for joining me on the blog, Adib! To keep up with all of Adib Khorram’s publishing news, follow him on Twitter and on Instagram @adibkhorram.

And here’s some exciting news: Boswell Book Company will host Adib Khorram on Friday, August 28th in conversation with New York Times bestselling author of Dear Martin, Nic Stone. Register here to join us on Zoom.

No comments:

Post a Comment