Blog Tour: A Missing Peace

I was excited to join this tour because of course the premise of this book interested me, but also because there aren't that many books out there with main characters from different ethnic backgrounds. In A Missing Peace Mirriam is from Iraq and Caleb is basically an All-American golden boy. I was curious to see how their relationship would work through the challenges of having such two very different backgrounds. I'd like to welcome Beth Fred to my blog today to discuss just this topic.

Author Guest Post

Beth, thanks for taking the time to discuss this topic with me. I would like to know about your choice to have a main character from Iraq. This is one thing that actually drew me to your book. I don’t think we have enough stories about main characters with different ethnic backgrounds, and it is definitely something I would like to see more of.

Tressa, thanks for having me here today to talk about Mirriam from A Missing Peace.

Diversity in YA is something I've been seeing readers say they want more and more lately. I agree there isn't enough diversity in YA. This book was very important to me as it hit close to home and for me, as you'll see in the post, diversity is very personal.
Why did you chose to write that type of character?

I have to start by saying I’m a member of a multicultural family. I grew up in a small town in East Texas. My grandfather was a Vietnam vet and my brother, and three of my cousins enlisted after high school. My husband is from India. He’s not Muslim or Hindu, but it doesn’t stop us from being harassed every time we fly out of a smaller airport. Neither of our families really made it easy for us, and for the first year we were married random people asked me if he married me for a green card. This annoyed me since his childhood in India was better than mine here. And in a lot of ways, my husband is more “western” and open minded than I am. For a long time, I wanted to write this kind of a book. I originally thought of a soldier and a woman from Iraq or Afghanistan, but that wouldn’t be YA, and my books aren’t steamy enough for the adult scene. It was actually my husband who suggested pairing a girl with the son of a fallen soldier because it could be YA.
What were the the MC and the choice of country specifically based off of, if anything?
I decided that Mirriam should be from Iraq because I really wanted her to be someone an American audience could relate to. I didn’t want there to be questions about why she would prefer her home country to the privileges we have here. Iraq was very liberal for a mid-eastern country and wealthy. It’s entirely possible a doctor’s daughter in Iraq could have had as much as she would have had here, and it wouldn’t have been a highly restricted life either.
How much research did you have to do to make it authentic?
Because of my background, I obviously had a lot to draw off of. I knew the kind of conflict these characters would face to be together and I embellished on that—took it to extremes if you will— to open eyes. I wanted this book to say we’re all just people. In the process of doing so, I think it says some things about the reality of war too. What I didn’t know I researched, like what language Mirriam would likely have spoken and how plausible her backstory was along with a handful of Arabic words because I felt some things she was unlikely to say in English.

Thank you, again, Beth for being willing to answer my questions!

You can see what I though about A Missing Peace by reading my review here. Currently it is only $.99 from Amazon. Go pick up a copy!

A Missing Peace
by Beth Fred
YA Contemporary Romance
September 1st 2013 by Escape Publishing              

A turbulent, emotionally charged YA novel that breaks down barriers and challenges the status quo...

Angry, seventeen-year-old Iraqi war refugee Mirriam Yohanna hates her new life in Killeen, Texas, where the main attraction is a military base, populated with spoiled army brats like Caleb Miller.

Caleb has much to be angry about too, including Mirriam who turns him down flat in front of everyone. Eager for retribution, Caleb agrees to a dare that will see him take Mirriam to the prom and regain his pride.

But their relationship soon moves beyond high school antics. Mirriam and Caleb are bound together by more than location, and as they are forced to work closely together on a school assignment, they start to uncover an explosive story that has the potential to ruin lives — and both of their futures. One single truth changes everything and strengthens their bond.

When Mirriam's family discovers their relationship, they decide it's time to arrange her marriage to a proper Iraqi man. Caleb must convince Mirriam that he is in it for forever — or risk losing her for good.

About the Author

Meet Beth Fred! A full time ELF keeper and part time writer/blogger/writing instructor. Beth likes her tea hot, her romance sweet, and her guys chivalrous. Real men hold open doors, refer to you as ma'am, make promises they keep, and aren't afraid to profess their undying love. It's not breakfast if there aren't carbs (at least, not in the South). Fajitas, carnitas, and churros are just a few of Beth's favorite things. Bet you can't guess where she's from.


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