Feature image credit: @maikamoulite
Hi! Anna Meriano here, author of the Love Sugar Magic series and the upcoming This Is How We Fly, lover of Latinx literature for young people, and guest editor for SheReads this month. I’m very excited to talk with the co-author sister duo extraordinaire, Maika and Maritza Moulite, authors of Dear Haiti, Love Alaine and the upcoming One of the Good Ones. They’re here to chat about their books and their writing process, and to help recommend Latinx YA books that showcase some great (or fraught) sibling dynamics!
Q1: Let’s get the most important things out of the way first: who’s older, who’s the favorite kid in your family, and who made the most unfortunate fashion choices in middle school? Once that’s settled, how did you both decide to become authors, and did you always plan to write together?
MAIKA: What fun questions! Maritza and I are the two oldest of four sisters. I’m the eldest of all of us though. If you ask our mother, she has no favorites and “loves all her girls equally”. (She says this all the time). Our dad and gramma would agree with her too.
Regarding regrettable fashion choices, I must take the crown for that. I loved wearing what we called Chonga pants (aka Brazilian jeans) and way too many glittery hair clips. I was a mess! (But Brazilian jeans are still a lowkey fave because they make your butt look great! haha)
MARITZA: I would say I’m the favorite, hands down. No one is around to debate it which makes it true.
As to your other amazing questions, I would agree that Maika made the worst fashion choices. If you could see those hair clip placements you would weep! I would mostly stand by my middle school aesthetic which was basically oversized everything. I wore a back brace for my scoliosis and was the 2003 version of Billie Eilish so I could conceal my plastic cage.
Q2: Love that; thank you both for your honesty! I saw middle schoolers with extreme glittery hair clips this weekend, so clearly you were ahead of your time, Maika!
What does your process look like? What are the unexpected upsides and downsides of writing with your sister? Did the process change at all between Dear Haiti Love Alaine and One of The Good Ones?
MAIKA: I’m a pantser and Maritza’s a plotter so we’ve had to come up with a way that will work for the both us in order to work together. AKA I’ve become a plotter because I listen to what Maritza says! But really, it’s worked out wonderfully for us because we know who is working on what and still allow a little wiggle room for magic to happen.
MARITZA: Yes, we have a very extensive outline that we plan out the major moments of the story in so that we know what the other person is working on. DHLA was an epistolary novel so we were writing lots of different pieces and OOTGO was more traditional prose. We didn’t divide up the book by characters though, we wrote who we wanted to write and would go back and forth.
Q3: That sounds really cool! I loved the mixed media aspect of DHLA, but it does seem like a lot to keep track of. Great to have a plotter on board. So! What can you tell us about the future? What are you working on next?
MAIKA: We’re working on our third book right now! But it has been a slow moving process to say the least. Because of *waves hands around frantically* everything that’s going on, it’s tough to sit down and get words on the page. But it’s happening! We can’t say much about book three yet but know that we’re very excited about it.
MARITZA: Shhh it’s a secret! It’s coming!
Q4: Can’t wait!!!
As we all deal with *waves hands around frantically*, books and the writing community feel even more essential (for me at least!). Who are the other authors that inspire you?
MAIKA: There are so many authors that inspire me! But to name three specifically, I admire Ibi Zoboi, Elizabeth Acevedo, and Nic Stone. I am always moved whenever I read their work. Maritza and I aspire to have impactful writing careers like theirs!
MARITZA: I am inspired by the way Edwidge Danticat makes me feel with her writing. I also love what Alyssa Cole brings to romance and the dreamlike quality of Nina Moreno’s work that somehow still grounds you in the here and now of what her characters are experiencing.
Q4: What other sibling reads do you both recommend?
- Pride by Ibi Zoboi
- Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo
- I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sánchez
- One of the Good Ones by Maika Moulite and Maritza Moulite
- Brother, I’m Dying by Edwidge Danticat