All American Muslim Girl Blog Tour: Author Interview With Nadine Jolie Courtney

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Hello everyone!

Once again, its my stop for the All American Muslim Girl Blog Tour. In today’s post on the tour, I’ll be chatting with Nadine Jolie Courtney, author of All American Muslim Girl on her new release.

I read All American Muslim Girl over a week ago and I absolutely adored Allie’s story (You can read my review here) and today I’m excited to have this chat with Nadine.


Q: Salaam, Nadine! Thank you for taking the time to chat with me, today! First, I’d like to congratulate you on your debut release, All American Muslim Girl. I loved it and I can’t stop thinking about it. Can you tell us what inspired you to write All American Muslim Girl and how the journey to publishing was?

A: Thank you so much! I first started thinking about the idea, more than ten years ago, of writing about a white-passing girl very much like myself named Allie Abraham, who felt caught between two worlds. I wrote a couple of pages in a Word document but quickly abandoned it. It wasn’t until the Muslim Ban, watching the protesters at JFK airport on TV, that I reopened it, literally crying as I started writing again.

Q: Before even reading All American Muslim Girl, I was struck by the name, why did you pick the name out? Was it a conscious decision? Or did it just feel right?

A: I always intended the book to be called All-American, but after we sold it, my editor suggested All-American Muslim Girl. Now it’s hard to imagine anything less than the full title!

Q: Allie’s relationship with her rather very large extended family is both parts beautiful and complex, especially her relationship with her teta. Why did you write such a relationship?

A: In many ways, this book is wish fulfillment for my own teta and myself. I learned Arabic before she passed away, but still not well enough to communicate with her as much as I would have liked.

Q: Allie deals with some of her bigoted classmates, even the ones with good intentions and genuine ignorance, with astounding tolerance borne of an awe inspiring emotional intelligence, one I can’t comprehend. How does she always remember to be so tolerant?

A: Because Allie has moved around so much, she’s spent her life as the perennial new girl. As a result, she feels like she’s always walking on eggshells and never wants to upset the delicate social balance: my husband and I call it “going along to get along.” As a Muslim, but particularly as a white-passing one, she’s lived her life being told she needs to hide her religion for safety’s sake, so that’s always humming in the back of her head: the idea that there’s something about her that needs guarding and safe-keeping. It’s a very emotional, limiting place to live your day-to-day life, and as a result she has her guard way up when dealing with the constant onslaught of microaggressions she must face. One of the main challenges of the book is her learning how to stand up for herself and her religion, even when it’s difficult, even when it upsets the social order, even when it’s the scariest thing imaginable and all she wants to do is hide.

Q: One of my favourite things about All American Muslim Girl, is the Allie’s friendship with the girls in her Qur’an study group or as I like to call them, the Revolutionaries. I absolutely adored how supportive they were of each other and how they tried to help each other both in faith and in life, despite their differences and disagreements. How did you feel when writing these scenes? And who of the girls, apart from Allie, is your favourite and why? (I know it’s a tough question, but hehe)

A: Ahh, the Revolutionaries! I love this!! I’m so thrilled you enjoyed those scenes, because they were my absolutely favorite to write. My favorite scene in the entire book is the second major study group scene, when Allie comes to the girls with some questions she’s been having and they get into a very respectful but intense debate about aspects of Islam. They are the kind of questions I’ve had with my own family members, and it was important to me to portray the variety of thought that exists within members of the religion: both so that Muslims would feel seen, and so that non-Muslims could understand that it’s impossible to paint us all with the same brush, as so often happens. As far as my favorite Revolutionary (ha!) is really is like choosing between favorite children: I have a soft spot for Fatima, because I love her kind heart and emotional intelligence, and I also get a kick out of Dua’s sense of humor.

Q: All American Muslim Girl though witty and humorous is an emotional book. What scenes did you find most emotional?

A: Thank you! Other than the study group scenes, which I felt were so critical to get right, the hardest scenes to write (no spoilers!) were anything involving Allie and her teta. I was thinking a lot of my own teta as I wrote the book’s later scenes, as well as my own mother. I actually cried a few times reading some of those scenes back, which to me was a sign that something was resonant there.

Q: If you had to pitch All American Muslim Girl in seven words, what would they be?

A: Islam, faith, family, love, courage, reflection, acceptance.


That brings an end to my interview with Nadine. If you enjoyed the interview and you’re interested in reading All American Muslim Girl, you can connect with Nadine on her socials and find the book in the information written below.

I really hope you enjoyed this interview as it is my first ever author interview.

Trigger Warnings: Anxiety, panic attack, Islamphobia, racism, loss of a loved one, alcohol intake, bullying


MORE ABOUT THE BOOK

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Allie Abraham has it all going for her—she’s a straight-A student, with good friends and a close-knit family, and she’s dating cute, popular, and sweet Wells Henderson. One problem: Wells’s father is Jack Henderson, America’s most famous conservative shock jock…and Allie hasn’t told Wells that her family is Muslim. It’s not like Allie’s religion is a secret, exactly. It’s just that her parents don’t practice and raised her to keep her Islamic heritage to herself. But as Allie witnesses ever-growing Islamophobia in her small town and across the nation, she begins to embrace her faith—studying it, practicing it, and facing hatred and misunderstanding for it. Who is Allie, if she sheds the façade of the “perfect” all-American girl? What does it mean to be a “Good Muslim?” And can a Muslim girl in America ever truly fit in?
ALL-AMERICAN MUSLIM GIRL is a relevant, relatable story of being caught between two worlds, and the struggles and hard-won joys of finding your place.

Goodreads|Book Depository| Barnes & Noble |Amazon

MORE ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Nadine Jolie Courtney is the author of ALL-AMERICAN MUSLIM GIRL (FSG/2019). She is also author of ROMANCING THE THRONE, and—under her maiden name Nadine Haobsh—BEAUTY CONFIDENTIAL and CONFESSIONS OF A BEAUTY ADDICT.
Nadine is a Circassian-American, a Muslim, and a believer that compassion and education can make the world a better place.
Nadine graduated from Barnard College and was formerly a beauty editor at Lucky and Ladies’ Home Journal magazines. As a travel, beauty, and royalty writer, her work has appeared in Town & Country magazine, Vanity Fair online, and Vogue online, and she has been profiled in Vogue, Cosmo, the New York Times, and Allure. She is a contributing writer for Angeleno magazine.
As a blonde-haired, green-eyed Muslim of Circassian descent, Nadine was raised to hide the truth about her religion, spending years hiding behind her white-passing privilege. Following the Muslim Ban, she gathered the courage to write a love letter to Islam—a book about a young girl running toward her Islamic heritage, rather than away from it. The resulting book—ALL-AMERICAN MUSLIM GIRL—is designed as a tonic for other confused or curious cross-cultural kids, eager to finally embrace their own heritage.
An avowed Anglophile, Nadine has worked for Sarah, Duchess of York, and lived in England, Argentina and Palm Beach managing Carlos Gracida, the most successful polo player in history, favorite of Her Majesty The Queen, and teammate of HRHs Prince Charles, Prince William and Prince Harry—settings and relationships Nadine drew upon while researching and writing ROMANCING THE THRONE.
Nadine is active on Twitter and Instagram, and she encourages readers to drop her a line there to say hello!
She lives in Santa Monica with her husband and her daughter.

Twitter | Website | Instagram

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PREVIEW STOPS ON THE TOUR

November 12th:

Star Is All Booked Up Introduction Post

The Tsundoku Chronicles 5 Reasons You Should Read AAMG

November 13th: 

Em’s Bookish Musings Review + Mood Boards

November 14th:

Words about Words Review

November 15th:

Scientific Stars Review + Creative Post

The Tsundoku Chronicles Review

November 16th:

Moonlight Rendezvous Favorite Quotes + Review (and IG Post)

November 17th:

Nargis Kalani Review

 


Have you read All American Muslim Girl yet or do you plan on reading it? What do you think of this interview?


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One thought on “All American Muslim Girl Blog Tour: Author Interview With Nadine Jolie Courtney

  1. I don’t feel like that level of hatred is in Australia (but you never know) so it’s fascinating to me to read about a country that is all about the right to free speech etc that they can treat other people so badly because of things like where they were born or what faith they practice. It makes me want to read this to try and get a better understanding of that.

    I distinctly remember after some guy held up a cafe and pretended to be a radicalised Muslim to stir up hate, that the country came together to start a #ridewithme (or something like that) for Muslims to use that to request a safe ride to and from work etc while there was all these people hating on anyone Muslim because of one ass holes actions. Does this kind of thing happen in America? I really hope so…

    Like

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