Award-winning author Tanita S. Davis presents a nuanced exploration of college micro-aggression and a young black girl named Madalyn who learns that being a good friend means facing blue skies and rain and having the tough conversations. on days that are partly cloudy. Perfect for fans of A good kind of problem and From Zoe Washington’s office.
We chat with author Tanita S. Davis about her new mid-level novel, Partly cloudy, plus recommendations for books, writings, and more!
Hi, Tanita! Can you tell our readers a bit about yourself?
Of course, hi! I am originally from California, born in Fog City, and have lived in Cali all my life except for five too brief years in Glasgow, Scotland, while He Himself was doing his PhD. I’m a book enthusiast who loves the rain, a giant nerd who loves SFFs, an introvert and a half-successful craftsman so likely to have stickers, ink, paint, thread, glitter or glue on my person at all times.
When was the first time you discovered your love of writing?
Being the youngest for a long time, I was left out of a lot of things and wanted to have fun. My mom decided not to die a slow death from talking and told me to write down the things I wanted to say. I discovered at six that I could entertain myself pretty well like this, and my (very bad but imaginative) writing of stories grew from there.
Quick flash tour! Tell us about the first book you remember reading, the one that made you want to be an author and that you can’t stop thinking about!
The first book I remember reading was Marvin K. Mooney, will you please now! – I can read the books were my jam. The book that made me want to be an author is The Magician’s Nephew by CS Lewis, which my third grade teacher read aloud to us – it was really weird, and I thought, “I could write stuff like this!?”And the book I can’t help but think about is Vivian Shaw’s Serious importance, the third book in the Dr. Greta Helsing trilogy, and the last book I completed (this week). The whole series is fair excellent, and therefore deserves to be read.
Your new mid-level novel, Partly cloudy, is out now! If you could only describe it in five words, what would they be?
Argh! That’s a lot to ask of a wordy person! But: Courageous communication can create friendship.
What can readers expect?
In Partly cloudy Readers can expect a story about the real challenges of being friends across different classes and races in a way that is respectful of everyone and with a repeatable example of a way to bridge the distances between us as Human being. First and foremost, it’s a story with fun parts and parts full of suspense, but it also has a bit of content to help readers know how to be IRL friends.
Where does the inspiration for Partly cloudy comes from?
In the aftermath of the 2020 civil rights protest, numerous media outlets and social media suggested that whites and blacks are talking to each other. I realized that a lot of people wanted to be friends, but didn’t know how. I think that’s something that affects kids as well – of course you’re friends with people in your group, but it’s hard to know how to reach out and make new friends with people who are different. It seems simplistic to say “just talk to them!” But it turns out that communicating – and deciding what’s worth your time and what’s not – is kind of a part of it.
Can you tell us about the challenges you encountered while writing and how you were able to overcome them?
Talking about race, especially in a time when so many people were hurt and furious, seemed really unstable. Running is rarely an easy subject! My editor and I had to communicate a lot to make sure she understood where I was going, and I understood what was on her mind, when she read some of what I said. I wanted to make sure the things I wrote were something junior high school kids could understand, and I tried to be sensitive to the things that worried my editor while saying what I thought I should be. said. We had to compromise a bit, but I feel like it happened in a way that convinced us both that we made a better book than we would have otherwise.
What do you hope your readers take away Partly cloudy?
I want my readers to know that people are very similar, even people of different races or different cultures. I want them to remember that if they have the courage to go out and have hard, honest conversations with their friends, they can make friendships that will last – and it’s a risk worth it.
What’s the next step for you?
Right now I’m working on finishing a book about a girl with a math and numbers disability – it’s called Come on Figure, Henri Weldon, and it will be released in 2022!
Finally, do you have any book recommendations for our readers?
You might be sorry for asking! To verify Yusuf Azeem is not a hero, by Saadia Faruqi, A sweet place to land by Janae Marks, and Opie’s ghosts, by Justina Ireland. Some older books that I really enjoyed are the whole Enola Holmes series by Nancy Springer, The king and the dragonflies by Kacen Callender, The Dark Lord Clementine, by Sarah Jean Horowitz, Goldmayne: A fairy tale, by Kate Stradling… I could go on, but I’m sure you have books to read!
Thank you for inviting me to visit.