Marina Budhos is the author of award-winning fiction and nonfiction. Her novels for young adults are Tell Us We’re Home and Ask Me No Questions. Her nonfiction books include Remix: Conversations with Immigrant Teenagers and Sugar Changed the World, which she cowrote with her husband, Marc Aronson.
Budhos's latest novel is Watched.
From her Q&A with Deborah Kalb:
Q: How did you come up with the idea for Watched, and for your main character, Naeem?Visit Marina Budhos's website.
A: I had been noodling around for quite a while with an idea of doing a “companion” book to Ask Me No Questions, which is about an undocumented Bangladeshi family in the wake of 9/11.
Many of my readers had asked me if I would do a sequel, but one, I don’t do that kind of thing, and two, it didn’t feel true to the book, which is intentionally left open-ended. But I knew I wanted to return to this world, and what I see as the next “beat” in this post 9/11 world, particularly for Muslim teenagers.
Then one evening I was out with a friend and she told me the story of a young man who came into her law office who was boasting and hinting that while his father was a shopkeeper in Jackson Heights, he was “in the know with the powers that be” as an informant. This completely fascinated me—the idea that he felt empowered, but apparently also trapped--and the novelist in me began to spin with a story.
I learned just enough about surveillance and sting operations and then focused on Naeem—a well-meaning kid, who...[read on]
My Book, The Movie: Watched.
The Page 69 Test: Watched.
Writers Read: Marina Budhos.