Sunday 24 February 2013


What is your name, where were you born and where do you live now?
My name is Yolanda A.  Reid and I live in the US.

What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarise it in less than 20 words what would you say? 
PORRIDGE & CUCU:MY CHILDHOOD is a YA novel depicting the  childhood/adolescence of Yamila in Panama and New York--during carnival, in Catholic school,  eating "porridge and cucu.” 

What can we expect from you in the future?  ie More books of the same genre? Books of a different genre? 
I've already written a mainstream contemporary novel—a love story tentatively scheduled for release sometime in 2013.  (The storyline and characters are unrelated to PORRIDGE & CUCU.)

Do you have a favourite character from your books? and why are they your favourite?
In PORRIDGE & CUCU--besides Yamila, the narrator--I loved writing for Miss Hildy.  I really liked that character.  I thought she was spunky/interesting/ingenuous/authentic.  She seemed to take over when I wrote her  dialogue.  Moreover, it was fun to recreate her dialect. 

How do you come up with characters’ names and place names in your books? 

It’s a process.  For PORRIDGE & CUCU, I used an old Webster’s dictionary (hard copy) with a name section in the back.  This section explicated the meaning and linguistic origins of surnames and first names.  For example, Miss Hildy’s maiden name is Hildegarde Blixen, since she has Scandinavian  ancestry.  I pored over this Webster’s dictionary  arduously.  Occasionally, I used the encyclopedia.  However, I rarely used the phone book for names of characters  in  PORRIDGE & CUCU.

Do you write under a pen name?  
No.  Years ago--while in college--I chose a pen name for myself, but I’ve never used it.  So Yolanda  A.  Reid is my real name.  I once thought of  it as a unique name.  Now I’ve discovered that there are ninety people in the US with the same name.  One “Yolanda Reid” is a doctor; another, a historian; another is a Microsoft executive, etc.  That’s why the ‘A’ in my name is so crucial.  (I will not be embroidering it on my clothing, however.)

Do you have a basic plot/plan for your book, before you actually begin writing it out? Or do you let the writing flow and see where it takes the story? 
I wrote an outline, then wrote Part I of the novel--a chapter at a time and in sequence.  I prefer to have an overall direction for the novel’s storyline—even if I end up changing or adjusting the outline.  (In my essay, “How I Wrote My First Novel”, I explain this process  in more detail at .)

Is there a certain Author that influenced you in writing? 
Emily Brontë  and Doris Lessing--and others.

Which format of book do you prefer, e-book, hardback, or paperback?  
At first, I transitioned to buying and reading e-books because our bookcases are loaded (overloaded, really) with books.  Years ago, I spent a couple of summers reading and ordering lots of books, on top of the books my family and I already owned (some since college).  After that, I realized we had no extra space for new books.  So I began reading ebooks on my computer. It felt a little awkward/uncomfortable and took some getting used to.  Then, in 2009, I bought an e-reader.  I love my e-reader!  Now I prefer e-books. 

What is your favourite book and Why?  Have you read it more than once?  
I have several favourites, but if I had to choose one, I’d say, WUTHERING HEIGHTS—which I’ve read many times over the years.  I have a copy on my ereader.  A 19th century novel, WUTHERING HEIGHTS depicts the dark eerie love story of Catherine and Heathcliff.  It’s dark, it’s beautiful, it’s Goth, it’s riveting.    Perfect reading in wintertime, since several scenes in the novel occur during snowstorms.  My advice to anyone is to read at least three chapters before giving up on the book.  Or skip Joseph’s rantings completely (that’s what I did as a teen and, sometimes, still do).

(I wrote an essay about WUTHERING HEIGHTS that’s posted on my blog at

Do you think e-books will ever totally replace printed books? writing? 
I believe they will, someday.  This week Newsweek Magazine announced they were going digital.  Newsweek! ( It cost 42 million dollars each year to run the magazine.)  I’ve read that  newspapers are struggling as well.  I personally rarely read paper anything.  I get my news online.  I read ebooks,  mostly.  I access the websites of my favorite magazines.  (I have just one hard copy magazine subscription, but that was a gift.) The glut of paper and the effects on the environment have taken their toll.  We will eventually do the environmentally/politically  correct thing.  And that is to save trees completely.  We will, however, probably  preserve  old/rare/reference books in libraries.  But, I think, this is a transitional time.  So printed books still have a place in our society.  In ten  or twenty years, however, who knows?

Do you have a treasured book from your childhood? If yes, what is it? 
I loved fairy tales and WUTHERING HEIGHTS.

Do you have a favourite genre of book? 

For my personal reading, I prefer biographies, memoirs, and novels.

What do you think about book trailers? 
I really can’t say I’ve ever bought a book because of a book trailer.  I think very few people might have that reaction: to buy a book right after you see the book trailer.  But, that said, a good book trailer pique's one’s interest.  You want to know more about the book or the author. In addition, book trailers help spread the word about the book.  They help to create buzz.  For PORRIDGE & CUCU, I commissioned an animated video that features an excerpt from the novel.  Christine Yen Chong was the animator.  She and the animation team did an excellent job.  I wanted the video to be fun, whimsical, lighthearted to watch; and it is.  Check it out  at

If you could invite three favourite writers to dinner, who would you invite and enjoy chatting with?
Emily Brontë, Elizabeth Gilbert, Doris Lessing.

Where can readers follow you?

Your Blog details? 

Your Web site? 

Your Facebook page?  

Your Goodreads Author page? 

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