Hi everyone! Maika and Maritza Moulite here. We’re co-authors of Dear Haiti, Love Alaine and the recently released One of the Good Ones. Today we’ll be chatting with Sarah Dass, debut author of Where the Rhythm Takes You out May 5, 2021. We loved her book and leapt at the chance to get to know her a bit better. Let’s get into it! (See the She Reads interview with The Moulites here!)

How did you know you wanted to be an author? When did it feel like becoming published would become a reality?

I’ve been telling stories as far back as I can remember, but I didn’t attempt writing my first book until I was about seven or eight. I ran out of Nancy Drew books to read so I started writing my own. I guess you could say I started off with Nancy Drew fan fiction!

Even though I’ve held a copy of Where the Rhythm Takes You in my hand, the fact that something I’ve written is being published still doesn’t feel real yet.

Where the Rhythm Takes You is based on Jane Austen’s Persuasion. How did you decide when you wanted to mirror the source text and when to exercise creative license and totally do your own thing?

Where the Rhythm Takes You was the first retelling I’d ever attempted. Finding ways to mirror Persuasion became half the fun of writing the book. But when it came down to a choice between sticking to the source or diverging because I thought it would make my book better, I diverged every time. Strangely enough, the first draft was the version closest to the original text and it deviated in the next few revisions. Then, in the last two drafts, it got closer to the original again!

Where the Rhythm Takes You mostly takes place at a seaside resort in Tobago. How much of your own experience living in Tobago were you able to draw from for this story?

A lot! I grew up in a seaside resort in Tobago, so I pulled inspiration from the setting and my experience living there. Unfortunately, I haven’t had a second-chance romantic love affair with a famous musician, but I remain hopeful.

Do you have any favorite books that take place in the Caribbean? Tell us what you love about them!

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

I read this back when it came out and I still think about it regularly. Elizabeth Acevedo is excellent at creating complex characters that I get thoroughly invested in. I read this in one sitting. 

When Life Gives You Mangoes by Kereen Getten

That twist! I admit I didn’t see it coming. It was moving and very cleverly done.

Love After Love by Ingrid Persaud

Of all the books I’ve read that are set in Trinidad, I think this is one of the best at capturing the Trinidadian dialect. I highly recommend the audiobook which is narrated by the author.

About Sarah’s book, Where the Rhythm Takes You

A Young Adult novel based on Jane Austen’s Persuasion, set in the author’s native Trinidad and Tobago. Reyna’s life changed forever two years ago, when her mother died and her best friend (first kiss, first love) Aiden, suddenly moved to America. Now Aiden has returned to their island as an international pop star, but the last thing Reyna wants to do is risk her heart again.