Tuesday, February 16, 2010


THE TEXAS SWEETHEARTS are thrilled to introduce our newest FEATURED SWEETHEART, Mitali Perkins. Not only is Mitali a fantastic author herself, she has made it her mission to reach out and help other authors and writers across the world.

You can check out Mitali's well-read blog here!

You can explore her website here!


TXS: How has writing for children and teens impacted your life and the lives of your readers?

MP: I love it because it keeps me in touch with youth culture, so it’s the perfect antidote to becoming a fogey. (My teens don’t think it’s working, but I do.) I hope that my books have encouraged and enriched the lives of my readers. That’s the goal, right?

TXS: Your online presence is amazing--what do you think is most effective when it comes to online outreach?

MP: As with all writing, an authentic voice and a dedication to excellence help to add value to the conversation.

TXS: Speaking of online outreach, you are constantly helping new authors and writers! Could you tell us a little about Twitter Book Birthday Party and your motivation to recognize new books?

MP: Twitter Book Parties are a celebration of new books for children and teens. Launch days can be bittersweet because you’re sitting at home doing laundry when you feel like you should be jumping out of a cake. To build community, I envisioned virtual parties where other authors, readers, booksellers, librarians, editors, and agents share the joy with an author on book release days with tweets in lieu of toasts.

It’s also a fun way to spread the word about great new books. I link to Indiebound to support independent booksellers, and each #bookbday party sends hundreds and hundreds of click-throughs to the book on that site. If you’re interested in the tech details, read this School Library Journal article, and check out this page if you want to read what authors are saying about the fun.

TXS: Together with Deborah Sloan, you organized The Great ALA Midwinter Kids/YA Lit Tweetup, which was an incredibly fun and successful event! How did you both get the idea for the tweetup, and what went into planning the event?

MP: Deborah and I love to plan social media-based fun events. It was her idea to organize something during ALA, and at first we had no idea if anybody would want to come. Thanks to a growing desire to meet online Kid/YA bookish friends in real life, we had a great turnout. It was all planned via Twitter, Facebook, a few emails, Eventbrite.com, and one coffee meeting between Deborah and me. She makes these things look easy because she’s so smart and such a veteran in the industry. Her KidsBuzz idea is brilliant.

TXS: What keeps you motivated to keep serving the children's and young adult literature community?

MP: Want the truth? Philippians chapter 2. One morning when I felt burdened with the push to promote, promote, promote myself and my own books, I opened my Bible and read this chapter, focusing on verse 3: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.” That’s when I got the idea for Twitter Book Parties, and this verse has become my banner when it comes to serving and promoting other writers.

TXS: Thank you so much, Mitali!



I was born in India and immigrated to the States with my parents and two sisters when I was seven. Bengali-style, our names rhyme: Sonali means "gold,” Rupali means "silver,” and you’ll have to guess what “Mitali” means. Clue: I had to earn it because I’ve lived in India, Ghana, Cameroon, England, New York, Mexico, California, Bangladesh, Thailand, and Massachusetts. Now I’m settled in Newton, a town just outside of Boston, where I write and speak full-time. My husband is the pastor of a Presbyterian church, and we have twin teen sons and two Labrador Retrievers.

As for books, I’m the author of Secret Keeper and Monsoon Summer (both from Random House), The Not-So-Star-Spangled Life of Sunita Sen (Little Brown), the First Daughter books (Dutton), and Bamboo People and Rickshaw Girl, both from Charlesbridge. I twitter, facebook, and blog at Mitali’s Fire Escape, where I strive to provide a safe place to think, chat, and read about life between cultures.


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  1. Mitali is so inspiring to me. Thanks for this interview, guys...

  2. Thanks for visiting, Liz! She is inspiring, isn't she!

  3. Mitali, thanks for a wonderful interview. It was so inspiring. I love India. My husband & I met there.

  4. Mitali inspires me as well! So cool that you met your husband in India, Natalie!

  5. Mitali's grace, poise, and beautiful writing make every day a little sunnier (especially here in the midAtlantic where we share lots of snow in common). What a role model we have in the kidlitosphere!

  6. So true, Terry! (You'd laugh at us here in Austin today since we're going crazy over some snow flakes and sleet.)

  7. This Boston girl is absolutely loving being a Texas Sweetheart. Thanks, y'all!

  8. Thank you, Mitali! You are a perfect sweetheart!