Author Spotlight: Susan Azim Boyer
Oct. 20, 2022
We are pleased to feature author Susan Azim Boyer and her debut young adult novel, JASMINE ZUMIDEH NEEDS A WIN (Wednesday Books) out on November 1.
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|cover design © Petra Braun|
Tell us about yourself and how you came to write for teens.
I’m one of those adults who never outgrew high school hijinks and relationships! I’ve loved YA books (see below), movies like Clueless and Mean Girls, and adore television series like Never Have I Ever and Derry Girls.
Congrats on your debut YA novel, Jasmine Zumideh Needs a Win! Tell us about the story and what inspired you.
In Jasmine Zumideh Needs a Win, an international incident – the Iran Hostage Crisis – explodes across the nightly news just as my heroine, Jasmine, runs for class president. Her opponent stirs up anti-Iranian hysteria, forcing Jasmine to reckon with her Iranian heritage in a way she never has before. The book combines the Iranian rep of Darius the Great is Not Okay with the humor and disaster MC of Never Have I Ever.
Was your road to publication long and winding, short and sweet, or something in between?
If publishing is a marathon, I made it through the ticker tape at mile 46 and am proudly making my 2022 debut with 50 in the rearview! After working towards a certificate in screenwriting at UCLA in the early aughts (I have a drawer full of Dawson’s Creeks and Ally McBeals), I was represented by a fancy pants agent who told me I would have to wait a year to become a staff writer on a television series because the agency had already placed “a female.” A, as in, singular. After many years of beating my head against the wall, I pivoted to publishing and started writing YA.
What are some of your favorite classic YA novels? recent ones?
There are waayyyy too many to mention, but I love the Iranian rep and quiet heartbreak of Adib Khorram’s Darius the Great Is Not Okay; the political backdrop and real-life history of Christina Hammonds Reed’s The Black Kids; I was riveted by the twisty mystery and gorgeous writing of Charlene Thomas’ Seton Girls; the spooky vibe and sisterly bonds of Amanda Glaze’s The Second Death of Edie and Violet Bond, and the hilarity and sincerity of Jake Maia Arlow’s How to Excavate a Heart.
What projects are you working on now?
I’m finishing edits on my second book, Meet the Safavis, which is set for a Fall 2023 release. It’s a bit of a gear shift, more dramatic in tone, about a brother and sister who have never met joining together to find the father they never knew. After that, I’ll submit my third book – a YA romance!
What advice would you give to an aspiring author?
Never give up! Become part of a community of engaged writers and readers. Learn to accept criticism. Stand for what’s best for the book even if it stings a bit.
What is one thing most people don't know about you?
I sang in rock bands throughout high school and thought I would make that a career! Luckily, I realized I had no originality of expression as a vocalist (my go-to karaoke is Kate Bush!).
Where can people find you online?
Susan Azim Boyer writes young adult fiction featuring Iranian American heroines (whom she *never* encountered growing up), who make messy, complicated choices that rapidly snowball into avalanches. Her debut novel JASMINE ZUMIDEH NEEDS A WIN is releasing on November 1, 2022 from Wednesday Books. She lives in the Palm Desert area with her husband, Wayne, and her Pug mix, Teddy. Her son, Alec, lives in New York.
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