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Friday, 8 September 2017

ℚ♫ She's like a Rainbow - Eileen Colucci

Today we have the pleasure of meeting up with author to talk about She's like a Rainbow (, Eileen Colucci, 240 pages), a Young Adult Magical Realism novel.

“SHE’S LIKE A RAINBOW by Eileen Colucci is an original and creative story that illustrates how we are more similar than different, with our own insecurities and problems dogging us. Teens and adults alike can learn a thing or two from Reema. …The writing is wonderful and touches on many issues, such as being Muslim, and adoption. I would highly recommend this story to people of all ages.” ~ Sherry Fundin, FUNDINMENTAL 


This is a story about family, prejudice and acceptance. …. Set in Morocco and New York, SHE'S LIKE A RAINBOW takes readers on a journey of discovery. ... It was a good story with an interesting premise.”
~ Al Stone, CBY BOOK CLUB


|| Synopsis || Teaser: KCR Preview || Author Q&A || About the Author || Giveaway & Tour Stops ||


A very warm welcome to Eileen Colucci; thank you for joining us on BooksChatter!

As we love music, Eileen has shared with us her music playlist for She's like a Rainbow - enjoy!


What was the inspiration for She's like a Rainbow?
"A major theme running through the novel is the legend of the White Buffalo. This legend was actually the inspiration for the story. I read an article about Miracle, a white buffalo calf that was born on a South Dakota farm to black/brown parents. I learned that white buffalos are very rare but that, due to some strange phenomenon, other species, such as tigers, whales and turtles, were also experiencing white young being born. The white buffalo calf would not remain white, but would turn various colors – black, yellow, red and finally brown. Some Native American tribes believe that Miracle and other white buffalo are sacred and symbolize all the different races of humanity.

As I was reading, an idea was born. What if a human baby was born white to black parents? What if her skin repeatedly changed color as the legend of the White Buffalo played out on the human stage? From these questions, Reema’s story grew.

As with my first novel, SHE’S LIKE A RAINBOW is also inspired by my Mission Statement: I hope that my books will promote peace and understanding among people of different cultural and ethnic backgrounds. My aim is to stimulate discussion on everything we have in common as human beings regardless of our particular heritage. We are all connected."
How much of yourself is reflected in this book, and how?
"SHE’S LIKE A RAINBOW is set in Morocco, a country that has been home to this native New Yorker for the past thirty-plus years. Non-Moroccans who have read the book have said that it conveys a good sense of Moroccan and Muslim culture. I hope that Moroccans will also find it an authentic portrayal of their country and people.

Reema, like the other characters in the novel, is a product of my imagination. She is not based on any real person. However, we writers always use our own experiences and backgrounds to create characters and stories. For example, Reema is the object of bullying at school when her skin changes color suddenly. While I was never really bullied at school I did have a tough time when my parents and I moved from NY City to the suburbs of Long Island when I was twelve. There was a clique of girls in the new school who began to pick on me because I wasn’t “cool.” I still wore knee-high socks while they all wore nylons. I wasn’t allowed to wear make-up either. So they made fun of me and rejected me. Just like Reema, I felt alienated and longed to fit in and be like everyone else. So in that respect, there is a little bit of me – and every other young person– in Reema."
The first thing that draws me to a book is its cover. Can you tell us about your cover for She's like a Rainbow - why you chose that concept and who the artist is.
"My husband, Abdelilah Mechiche Alami, designed the cover for me. We worked on the concept together but he did all the graphics. The narrator of the story, Reema, is pictured on the cover; a portrait in white against a rainbow of colors. Reema is presented as a blank canvas and the colors in the rainbow represent the various transformations she undergoes."
Why should we read She's like a Rainbow and what sets it apart from the rest?
"The central concept of SHE’S LIKE A RAINBOW is unique: a girl who is born white to black parents and whose skin begins to change color periodically. As Reema searches for the reason behind these transformations she comes up with other questions: What is the significance, if any, of the Native American Legend of the White Buffalo? Was she adopted at birth? If so, who are her real parents? To find out the answers, you’ll just have to read the book. "
Can you tell us something quirky about She's like a Rainbow, its story and characters?
"The main character’s name, Reema, means “white antelope” or “white gazelle” in Arabic. I chose this name because when Reema is born, her skin is pearly white. The name has added significance when considered with the Legend of the White Buffalo running through the story."
Who would you recommend She's like a Rainbow to and what should readers be aware of (any warnings or disclaimers)?
"I wrote this book with Young Adults in mind as it is a “coming of age” story. However, readers agree that it appeals to adults as well and has been recommended for “people of all ages.” As such, there is no warning or disclaimer – it is definitely PG."
If you could / wished to turn She's like a Rainbow into a movie, who would be your dream team?
"I would like Steven Spielberg to direct it because I think he could really bring the magical realism elements to the screen in a believable way. Most of the actors would have to be Moroccan with a few exceptions that I can’t really specify without providing spoilers. Sorry. (I will say that there is a role I’d love to see Angelina Jolie cast in)."
What do you like to write and read about? Do you stick to a particular genre or do you like to explore different ones?
"This is my second novel but my first venture into the Magical Realism genre. I really enjoyed exploring it – there was a lot of freedom in being able to introduce fantastical elements into a story that is otherwise grounded in everyday reality. I have read a little bit in the genre – Isabelle Allende, Laura Esquivel.

My first novel, THE STRINGS OF THE LUTE, is literary fiction about a mixed Moroccan-American couple and is loosely based on my own “Ameroccan” love story. I like reading most kinds of fiction and some memoir. I don’t like Horror or anything too violent. As I get older, I find I don’t like to read anything too dark or depressing. If I find a book suddenly going off on a “twisted” tangent, I put it down.

I’m hoping to start work on my third novel soon, whenever inspiration strikes. In the meantime, I’m contemplating something genre-bending in my next work, though I’m not entirely sure what it will entail."
What is your writing process?
"I am now retired and so I can write whenever I am inspired and motivated. I prefer working after lunch for several hours. If I’m working on a particular project, I‘ll go back over what I wrote the day before and edit and then pick up the narrative.

Now that my kids are married with their own children, I’ve converted one of their old bedrooms into my office and that is where I write. It was much harder when I was still working full-time as a translator for the American Embassy in Rabat. I would write on the weekends and in the evening, late into the night. I felt conflicted like Margaret Atwood who says, “If you’re writing, you’re not living, and if you’re living, you’re not writing.” Of course, just because I’m retired doesn’t mean I don’t still suffer from this “tug of war.” It still happens that I’ll be talking to my husband or a friend or someone and they look at me inquisitively and repeat their question because I’m staring off into space without realizing it, thinking about some plot hole I’m facing. It just means I have a little more control over how I divide my time."
What is in store next?
"SHE’S LIKE A RAINBOW is not the first book of a series. It stands alone. I am hoping to start working soon on my third novel, but I am waiting for inspiration. In the meantime, I am planning to write some essays for publication. I am working on one now about having my dear father’s vintage Gibson guitar restored more than forty years after he died."
And as a final quirky thing, to get to know you a little bit better... do you have a pet or something that is special to you that you could share with us?
"I have a four year-old chocolate Labrador Retriever named Phoebo. Phoebo loves playing Frisbee (he catches it in his mouth), having his belly rubbed and eating treats. Growing up, I was afraid of dogs at one point and allergic to them at another. Fortunately, I outgrew those issues and love spending time with Phoebo. He’s always there when I need a break from writing."
Hello Phoebo! You are a gorgeous boy! Lots of belly rubs to you :-) And of course, Eileen, thank you for sharing Phoebo with us.
"Thanks so much for hosting me!

I love interacting with readers and invite everyone to contact me through my website or through my Goodreads blog. I hope you enjoy SHE’S LIKE A RAINBOW and look forward to hearing your thoughts!"

She's like a Rainbow
Available NOW!

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6 comments:

  1. Thanks again for hosting me! I'm looking forward to hearing everyone's thoughts.

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  2. Enjoyed reading this book, the way the story is told is interesting, it's well written. What is next?

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Abdelilah. I may have finally found my subject for my next novel. It will be inspired by my mom's girlhood days.

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  3. Fantastic post! I really enjoyed reading it! Also your puppy is sooooo cute!!!

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  4. Thanks for reading, Ally. I agree, Phoebo is a cutie!

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