Inside the immigration experience of Melissa Rivero and ‘The Affairs of the Falcóns’

Melissa Rivero was a lawyer in New York City unsatisfied with how her career was not fulfilling her soul’s needs. She knew she wanted something different when she started writing scenes influenced by an incident that happened to her mother.

The result became The Affairs of the Falcóns, a study into how immigration policies effect us all. The characters in the book are Peruvian, just like Rivero and her family. However, the family’s story in her debut novel is not a retelling of her life. Instead, she took information from her mother’s life and reimagined it into a bigger story that reaches beyond her singular experience.

I spoke with the lawyer-turned-writer about Peru, growing us as an “other,” and how the Falcóns came to be.

Kate Hope Day explores alternate realities and numerous what-ifs in ‘If, Then’

Alternate realities and what-ifs plunge readers into a moody world created by Kate Hope Day. Her debut, If, Then, is a family drama with a tinge of sci-fi mixed into it.

Set in the very atmospheric Pacific Northwest, Day follows an ambitious couple – Ginny and Mark – as their professional and personal lives begin to crumble. Woven into their story are two other neighbors whose lives are also plagued with questions of how their lives could have turned out.

Inside Julie Langsdorf’s long journey to publishing ‘White Elephant’

Julie Langsdorf’s social satire White Elephant might be about a straight-and-arrow, quaint neighborhood, but the road she took to publishing it sprawled across decades and iterations. In the dark comedy, a quiet Washington, D.C. suburb is disrupted when a mammoth white house – the titular white elephant – begins construction. The new home pushes the suburbanites out of their boring slumber and into action.

The story follows an intricate cast of characters who were first conceived in the mid-aughts and had to be updated for the modern world. Though this seems like it fits perfectly well in the Trumpian world, Langsdorf will quickly admit that she didn’t need to change much of the political lens from when she first conceived it to its publication.

Etaf Rum’s ‘A Woman is No Man’ opens readers to a reality rarely seen on page

The family saga in Etaf Rum‘s A Woman is No Man isn’t meant to encapsulate the entire Arab-American experience. Instead, she carefully sheds light on a reality many married Muslim women face. It is a very specific story, but one that happens more often than the rest of society realizes.

In breaking her silence, Rum faced isolation from her community who was afraid of the secrets she was revealing to the world. Still, the story of violence and abuse was one she had to share to give a voice to herself as well as other women who faced similar situations.

Bryan Washington’s guide to food in Houston

Bryan Washington’s debut short story collection Lot is a portrait of his native Houston that reveals the nuances of modern-day struggles in race, socioeconomic status, and sexuality.

I spoke with his at length about the collection for an interview that will eventually be published on The Millions. However, for this site, I wanted to talk to him about his other big passion: food. We chatted about food in Houston and what everyone should learn how to cook.

Essayist T Kira Madden finds comfort in everything from childhood Nickelodeon shows to cooking soup

T Kira Madden cooks instead of meditates and isn’t really sure how much she’ll like eating out on her upcoming book tour for her memoir Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls. (Bookstores, find the best soup near your location and let her know.)

Throughout the pieces in her debut memoir, she talks about trying to fit in and seeking comfort anyway she can. While cooking is a big source of release for her now, television and the internet were sanctuaries for her growing up as a queer misfit in a posh school with a complicated home life.