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Ready to meet an author you’ll be adding to your auto-buy list, and a book you won’t be able to stop talking about?
Presenting: Author Daniel Aleman and his debut masterpiece INDIVISIBLE.
Gosh. I’m not even sure I have words for how much I loved this book.
INDIVISIBLE tells the story of teen Mateo and his efforts to keep his family together as his parents face deportation. It’s powerful in its explorations of immigration in America and tells a deeply intimate portrait of a teen boy driven by his fierce, protective love for his parents and his sister.
I couldn’t put this book down once I started, and was completely engrossed from beginning to end. What a beautiful and important book — tender and heart-wrenching and resonant. The writing was beautiful and meaningful without being flower-y or over-the-top, the characters were real and well-developed, and the story is incredibly important and impactful. …Just wow.
It’s a book I’m going to be thinking about — and recommending to everyone — for a long time. (I know I’m also going to be buying several copies for myself!) An incredibly moving and important debut.
Daniel agreed to chat with me about the inspiration behind the book, his writing process, and the ways in which he hopes INDIVISIBLE touches readers.
Everyone, meet Daniel!
How did INDIVISIBLE come to be? What was the inspiration behind the story?
INDIVISIBLE was born from a deep desire to use my own voice and insert a different perspective into the conversation about immigration. From the start, my hope with this book was to tell a story that felt human, emotional, and sincere, and that served as a reminder that immigration is, at its core, a human issue, and not just a political one.
There are many different facets to INDIVISIBLE. It is an emotional story about family separation, but it is also a book about the unbreakable bonds that bind us to the people we love, finding solace in the most unexpected of places, and going after your dreams. It has many moments of warmth and humor, as well as a swoony romantic storyline.
Why is this particular story so important to you?
This book means a lot to me for many reasons, but I’d say the biggest is that there is a lot of myself its pages. The main character, Mateo, is a reflection of who I am, so writing through his eyes taught me a lot about myself and how I interact with the world around me. There is something cathartic about exploring your own life through a fictional character, and I loved being able to insert pieces of my own family, my friendships, and the admiration I have for my Latinx community into the story.
What was the journey like from idea to publication?
The idea for INDIVISIBLE took a relatively long time to develop inside my mind. I’d known for a long time that I wanted to write a book about immigration and family separation, but I wasn’t sure what the right angle would be for the story—that is, until an image popped up in my mind, of a teenage boy who was standing inside a New York City bodega, and who was feeling deeply upset about something. This ultimately became the inspiration for the opening scene of the book, and once I started writing, finishing the manuscript took about six months.
After that, the process started happening quite quickly. I signed with my agent less than a month after completing the first draft. We did a quick round of revisions together, and we had interest from publishers within twenty-four hours of submitting to editors. I’m not sure where I first heard this, but something I think about a lot is the phrase: “Publishing is an extremely slow business… until it isn’t.”
What does your writing process look like?
There are a couple of things I really love: Outlines and writing by hand. I always try to plot the entire story before I start writing, and my outlines can be incredibly detailed. I’m also a big fan of writing outdoors (at parks, coffee shops, bars, and even on the subway), so I always carry a notebook everywhere I go. I find that writing by hand always puts me in a more creative mood than my laptop, and transcribing everything I’ve written is a great way to take a first pass at the manuscript and catch errors.
In what ways do you hope the book touches and influences readers?
More than anything, I hope readers who see reflections of themselves or their families in this story will feel a little less alone after reading it, and that people who haven’t had close experiences with immigration will find their worldview transformed in one way or another. Beyond that, I would say that my favorite books are the ones that move me and inspire me, so I truly hope that INDIVISIBLE will have this effect on readers.
Daniel Aleman was born and raised in Mexico City. A graduate of McGill University, he is
passionate about books, coffee, and dogs. After spending time in Montreal and the New York City area, he now lives in Toronto, where he is on a never-ending search for the best tacos in the city. INDIVISIBLE is his first novel.
Want to win a copy of INDIVISIBLE with a matching pencil set? Visit this Instagram post for details. Winner chosen 5/13.
(Fine print details: giveaway international. Ends 5/14, 8 a.m. CT. Must abide by following and tagging rules to be entered. Not affiliated with or endorsed by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers or Instagram.)