Today I have the unusual distinction of welcoming a fictional character to my blog for an interview. I'm pleased to greet Sameera (Sparrow) Righton, daughter of fictional Presidential candidate James Righton. Sparrow makes her first appearance in First Daughter: Extreme American Makeover, which is being published TODAY! She also blogs at Sparrowblog, where she discusses the real 2008 First Kid wannabees and their parents. I highly recommend that you check out both book and blog, to experience Sparrow's unique and dynamic personality. But first, you can meet her here. My questions are in bold. First Daughter was written by the Kidlitosphere's own Mitali Perkins.
What's your favorite book?
Sorry, Jen, I know how much you love books, but I prefer getting my story fix at the movie theater.
Do you think we'll hear more from you about Bobby? Or perhaps more about Tom Banforth???
Of course! Both guys make an appearance in First Daughter: White House Rules (Dutton, Spring 2008). They're great, aren't they?
You've been all over the world. What's the nicest, and/or most unusual, place that you've ever read? Or blogged?
Probably the orphanage in Pakistan that closed down after I was adopted. I'd love to go back and see it someday. Now I'm wondering if and how that's ever going to work out, especially with my father's ... public situation. Wouldn't the press have a great time tracking my journey "home"? Yow. Scary.
You clearly love to write on your blog. Have you considered writing fictional stories? Or are you more of a "write to change the real world" sort of girl?
My cousin Ran and I might write a screenplay for a flick. Good stories can change the world -- take Uncle Tom's Cabin, for instance.
In terms of your blog, how do you think that your words can help affect positive change in the world?
I hope it will be a fun, safe place where people can read about the First Kid wannabes. I'm not out to tear anybody down (I know how THAT feels), but I think it's fun to find out stuff about the candidates' families. If people come to sparrowblog first, they'll get a positive "purple" take on ALL the candidates -- not just a "blue" or "red" view that tries to rip apart the oppposition.
Do you think you'll be able to pull off your burka disguise when your father is in the White House? Or do you think it's too risky? You could be kidnapped, after all.
You'll have to wait for Book Two to find out what happens to me and my burka. It's exciting.
When you do get into the White House, will you try to broaden the menu to include more South Asian food? Or, to make that question more general, now that you're come out with your personal blog, do you expect to portray more of your true self, with less worry about portraying yourself as the all-American girl?
You bet I am. I don't stress much about that anyway -- the campaign staff got a little freaky about me being Pakistani, not me. Besides, All-American girls these days are dancing bhangra, the hula, and cool urban funk, we're eating samosas, tabouli, and burgers and fries, and we're wearing our hair under burkas, in rasta locks, and long and loose. I'm sure the White House chefs cook a lot of international food, so I'm not planning to change the menu.
How are you adjusting to those high-heeled shoes? You mentioned that you in general liked the makeover, because you felt less invisible with a bit of polish, and more fashionable (if artificially shaped in some cases) clothes. Do you think that the glamour girl clothes and makeup will come to seem natural to you? Or will you always be most comfortable in the clothes that you wear on the farm? Will you go back to buy more clothes from Muhammad's Attire?
Clothes are like costumes -- they tell people something about who you are, so if you change them, you can manage people's perceptions of you. I like being able to switch it around, go glam, farm, South Asian, or a fusion of all three depending on who I'm going to be with and what I want to say about myself. As Ran says, why get stuck in a fashion rut, anyway?
You've expressed concern about your cousin Ran from the country spending time with you in the media spotlight, and losing her innocence. Yet you can't exclude her from it without hurting her feelings, and I'm sure that it's more fun for your to have her around. Do you have any plan for how to shield her?
Turns out Ran can handle herself pretty well, as you'll find out in Book Two.
I've enjoyed reading about how your "circles" have grown, strengthened, and linked with one another, from your MyPlace friends to your SARSA friends to Muhammad's family. Do you think that it will be a challenge to keep your tight connections with people once you are in the White House? How will you work towards that?
That's what I love about blogging, Jen, as you know yourself. You can hold a circle around you that stays tight, even as it gets wider and wider to include more people. It doesn't make sense, I know, but things are weird in the virtual world.
I just want to add that I love the fact that one of your MyPlace buddies, and the only one over the age of twenty on the list, is a librarian. I can't think of a question about that, but Mrs. Graves is great.
Wow, you're right. Just turned out that way. I wasn't trying to sweet talk any librarians reading the book, I promise.
Thanks so much, Jen, for your great questions. Come visit me in the White House via Book Two!
Don't miss Sameera's video here at YouTube and the rest of her blog tour here:
Monday, 6/11: 5 Minutes For Mom and Jennifer Snapshot
Tuesday, 6/12: Big A little a
Wednesday, 6/13: Semicolon
Thursday, 6/14: Jen Robinson's Book Page
Friday, 6/15: Little Willow
Monday, 6/18: Sara's Hold Shelf
© 2009 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved.