I’m so excited to be a part of the book tour for The Many Fortunes of Maya that is hosted by TBR and Beyond Tours. I was really excited to also be able to interview the author for this book!
How would you describe The Many Fortunes of Maya in one sentence?
A tween uses fortune cookies to help her face disappointing family and friend dynamics.
Can you introduce us to the main character(s) of The Many Fortunes of Maya?
Maya, better known as MJ, is a Daddy’s girl who loves to play soccer and the flute. She’s optimistic, and she never gives up, but she faces several obstacles all at once. She has to learn to listen to her inner voice in order to help make a tough decision.
Do you know from the beginning how your books will end or do you let your characters decide their journey?
I always know the story ends, but I don’t always know the last moment of the book. For instance, in my debut novel, Just Right Jillian, the “story” ended after a big moment for the character, but we needed some resolution on a few other things. As a result, I added two new scenes in revisions. For Maya, the final scene in the book is exactly what I decided in advance, but I added one new scene in revisions right before that moment to resolve things. I plot out key events in the story, like the beginning and the end and a few momentous scenes, but I would say my characters decide their journey because the character is always the driver of the story, even during the outlining process.
Do you have a favorite scene, moment, or quote from the book?
I have several, but one scene is the chapter called Hot Now. It came to me fully formed and never changed. In it, Maya is riding with her uncle, her daddy’s twin brother. He’s come to pick her up knowing she’s had a really bad 24 hours, and he takes her to get doughnuts to cheer her up. Maya experiences a lot of emotions in that car ride, but hot doughnuts make everything better, don’t they?
What is something readers will find in The Many Fortunes of Maya that they may not realize based on the
They will discover that Maya’s mom has a (small) secret in her past, and she and Maya are not getting along the way they used to. This dynamic is actually a key part of the story but there’s only a hint of it in the synopsis.
What’s something you hope readers will take away from The Many Fortunes of Maya?
Maya’s story pulls in a lot of elements that will be familiar to many kids – changing family dynamics, pleasing your parents, trusting your own voice, the role of “the village,” and wishing for a little good luck as you try to figure out this thing called life. But ultimately her struggle is to learn that she, just like all of us, has the power to write her own fortune.
What are three books you would recommend if someone enjoyed The Many Fortunes of Maya?
- Not an Easy Win by Chrystal D. Giles (out February 28th)
- Operation Sisterhood by Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich
- Keep it Together, Keiko Carter by Debbi Michiko Florence
ABOUT THE BOOK
TITLE: The Many Fortunes of Maya
AUTHOR: Nicole D. Collier
GENRE: Middle Grade Contemporary
RELEASE DATE: January 24, 2023
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In this lyrical novel that will appeal to fans of Meg Medina, Maya turns to her trusty “wheel of fortunes” for guidance on the toughest questions–like why her best friend suddenly feels far away, or when her Daddy will move back home. But can Maya find the courage to write her own fortune?
Maya J. Jenkins is bursting with questions:
Will she get the MVP award at this year’s soccer banquet?Who will win the big grill off between Daddy and Uncle J?When will she pass the swim test and get a green bracelet?For answers and a dose of good luck, 12-year-old Maya turns to her Wheel of Fortunes, a cardboard circle covered with the small slips of wisdom she’s collected from fortune cookies.
But can the fortunes answer her deep-down questions? The ones she’s too scared to ask out loud? Like, where did Mama’s smile go, the real one that lit up everything around her? When will Daddy move back home? And most of all, does she have enough courage to truly listen to the voice in her heart?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Nicole D. Collier, Ph.D., was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia. She has spent the past two decades in education. First as a fourth grade teacher, then teacher coach, and now as a partner at Personality Matters, Inc., an executive training, coaching and consulting firm.
Nicole writes for all ages, but her first love is middle grade contemporary fiction. Young people are trying to discern who they are vs. who they want to be, and how to bridge the gap between the two. Nicole’s stories are in that gap. In particular, she writes about the interior lives of Black girls as they seek their authentic selves.
A self-proclaimed ever-victorious woman, Nicole has been known to run, dance, and turn cartwheels on sunny days. The Georgia peach has recently relocated to Tampa Bay, Florida.
Her forthcoming novel, The Many Fortunes of Maya (HarperCollins/Versify, Jan ’23) has earned two starred reviews (Kirkus, Publishers Weekly) and is a Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection.