One of the reasons I create picture representations of my characters is so that they feel more real to me when I give them a voice. I’ll search for just the right stock photo so I can edit it to fit scenes in the book or as a promo.
The first time Aiden meets Aaliyah, I decided he’d hear her voice, and not see her. There’s a joyfulness about Aaliyah that intrigues him, and challenges his preconceived notions about her culture and her faith.
“I’m not some . . . some ‘thing’ that needs to be pitied. And I’m not someone who needs to be saved. Go look at your own life if you need to change someone.” – Aaliyah from RUSH
Excerpt from RUSH:
Fatuma is my closest friend. We attend high school together. She is very beautiful and she knows it. When we are in the presence of our elders she behaves like a good muslima. But once we are alone she tells me all the gossip. She knows many things and much of the American culture, especially the words they say in school that I don’t understand. Fatuma can speak several languages. When she talks, she goes from Maay-Maay to Somali, to Arabic and to English, and even Swahili. I’m learning a great many things from her.
“Stay away from Batool,” Fatuma warned as we walked to the bus stop. “She’s nothing but a dhilo. She only likes ajanabi boys, the foreigners like the blacks and the whites and the Spanish guys. She’s making zina with anything with a dick. I do not want her with my brother.”