1. Please tell us a bit about The Land of Forgotten Girls.
The Land of Forgotten Girls is about two sisters who are abandoned by their father and live with their evil stepmother in subsidized housing outside of New Orleans. It’s about the power of sisterhood, imagination, and what it means to be a family.
2. Erin, your debut novel, Blackbird Fly, is also about a girl who was born in the Philippines and moves to the United States. How are these two stories different?
In Blackbird Fly, Apple Yengko deals with school bullies, the perils of being “unpopular,” and friends who aren’t really her friends. She’s also entrenched in a cultural struggle with her mother. Soledad and Ming, the sisters in The Land of Forgotten Girls, have different challenges: poverty, no parents to watch over them, and no obvious way to escape—except through their imagination.
3. The Land of Forgotten Girls is about a lot of things, but really it’s about sisters. Do you have a sister? Why is sisterhood important to you?
Yes, I have an older sister named Anna. She’s my best friend. I’ve looked up to her my entire life, even when she wouldn’t stop hogging the phone or she tattled on me to our parents. Anyone who knows her will tell you that they’re better for knowing her, and I feel the same way. There’s no dynamic like sisterhood.
4. We love your beautiful and haunting title—The Land of Forgotten Girls. Where does this come from? What does it mean to you?
Soledad and Ming use their imaginations to transform the environment they live in. They have no loving parents watching over them. They only have themselves. They feel forgotten, so they imagine a world just for them—the land of forgotten girls.
5. Any thoughts on your jacket?
I don’t know if there are words to describe how much I love the jacket. It’s perfect. It shows the power of imagination. The girls’ hopefulness. It blew me away when I saw it. Isabel is such a gifted artist. I’m so fortunate that we were paired together on the book.
The jacket art is by Isabel Roxas, and you can reach her online at http://studioroxas.com, on Tumblr , and on Twitter.
Erin Entrada Kelly is the author of Blackbird Fly. She grew up in south Louisiana and now lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.