36 Finalists Blog: Rebecca K. S. Ansari

Each day leading up to the 32nd annual Minnesota Book Awards announcement, we’ll be featuring an exclusive interview with one of our 36 finalists.

Interview with Rebecca K. S. Ansari, author of The Missing Piece of Charlie O’Reilly, part of the Middle Grade Literature category, sponsored by Education Minnesota

How does it feel to be a Minnesota Book Award finalist?

Absolutely amazing! I attended the awards last year and was so energized to be in a room of book-loving people celebrating the Oscars of Minnesota authors. To be one of the nominees this year is literally a dream come true.

Tell us something about your finalist book that you want readers to know?

Though I wrote Charlie with kids as my primary intended audience, it truly is a book for all ages. It’s a story about family, loyalty, mistakes and forgiveness, themes that everyone can relate to and explore through the story.

Share something about your writing process and preferences. For instance, where is your favorite place to write?

I write in a little room we built on top of our garage. Each morning, the kids get on the bus and I climb a spiral staircase (much to the chagrin of my too-large Bernese Mountain dog) to write. My worst writing habit is rehashing the first few chapters over and over again, neglecting to actually finish a full draft for far too long. My write-to-revise ratio is truly out of whack. Clearly, you can guess which I prefer.

Minnesota has a reputation as a state that values literature and reading. In your experience, what is it about our state that makes it such a welcoming place for writers and book creators?

Minnesota is incredible. I had no idea how amazing this community was when I started writing. It wasn’t until I took a class at The Loft (so green that I took a Young Adult course, not knowing there was a difference between YA and MG) and started meeting other authors that I realized how incredibly lucky I was to be here. The Twin City’s enthusiasm for literacy and creativity, as well as the nurturing atmosphere for artists of all stripes, is a gift to us all.

What is something you are good at that few people know about?

I’m really good at cooking for an army and I drive a mean tubing excursion. I am also far better (and much more versed) at putting stitches into my sons than into their clothes, which is a little weird, but nonetheless true.

What do you love about libraries?

First and foremost, the smell! Beyond that, however, I love that libraries house anyone and everyone–every age, race, ethnicity and class–all under one roof with a common love of reading and books. They are a truly unique place in our world.

Rebecca K. S. Ansari is a former ER doctor who lives in Minneapolis with her husband and four sons. This is her first book.