1. Why did you choose to write about Susanna?
This is a great question. I wanted to write about a girl I never met in the many books I read as a teenager growing up in Italy. There were girls with curly hair but they were white. I also wanted to explore the multiculturalism in Italy today, a topic I haven't had the pleasure to read enough about. Being a black woman, I could have shied away from writing about a mixed race girl but my daughter is mixed raced. I wanted to imagine how she would feel when people try to put her in a box, as in our world I see a lot in black and white and not the many grey areas in a race.
2. Where is your favourite place to write?
We recently moved house so I'm learning which area in the new place makes my creativity flow. However, in my old house I had one room all for myself to use as my office. I called it my sanctuary. It was a bliss to close the door on the noise when my husband was home to watch the kids. With two little kids under five, finding a special place to write is a bonus. My current house is small so I may end up making a sanctuary in the garden or garage.
3. What is your beverage of choice when you write?
Water, I know I'm boring. But I bought a sweet "laugh" mug, which I use. If I feel adventurous I take my big mug and fill it up with peppermint tea, it always clears the mind.
4. What is your favourite young adult book?
My all time favourite YA book is Mel by Liz Berry, a British author. The story is about a seventeen-year-old that has to look after herself once her mother is hospitalized after suffering a mental breakdown. She redecorates the house, initiates a neighbourhood clean-up, and becomes involved with a rock star. I read this long time ago, I was about 13 years old and it felt so cool to read a book with a seventeen-year-old as the main character - I get excited thinking about it.
After Mel, the Twilight Saga by Stephanie Meyer took me by storm. I was a married woman when I first read them, but those books made me feel like a teenager again. Also I realize that I love female main characters that are a bit tormented and live an impossibly difficult life.
5. Do you listen to music when you write? Why or why not?
I make a playlist for practically everything in my life so it's so natural for me to make one for each writing project I'm working on. I'm always inspired by the sound I listen to. For instance, I found my old Walkman and tapes I recorded back in the days. The upbeat, romantic and a bit enigmatic music on them is going to be the go to music for my next book.
6. What is your favourite thing about your character, Susanna?
She is a bit old fashioned, in a good way. She is oblivious to her own beauty, a bit insecure. I love the fact that she is not too comfortable with herself.
7. What are you working on now?
Sometimes I feel like my next book is taking too long to come alive, but right now my mind is brainstorming a story about a forbidden love in a time of war and peace.
8. If you could leave for a one week vacation tomorrow and go anywhere in the world, where would you go and what book would you bring with you to read?
Funny you ask me this question because I'm currently craving trip to my home in Italy because I miss it so much. I want to visit old places and friends.
When I look at the picture of me sitting in the window of my house overlooking that gorgeous view, I tear up. I suppressed my love for this place because I didn't want to be too sad but I can't deny the love I have for Italy and of course I do understand my brother's need to be on his hometown. I wish I could do that.
Theodora Agyeman-Anane is a writer and photographer. Born in Ghana and raised in Italy; she spent her formative years commuting from Vicenza to Verona, Italy, to study Optics, but all she dreamt about was writing and photographing. She’s living her dreams in Saskatchewan with her husband and two kids. Wasting Away is her debut novel.
You can find her on her here: www.theodoraofosuhima.com