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May 11, 2011

Meet Patricia Abu-Jaber, Mother of Diana Abu-Jaber

Posted by Anonymous
With three praised novels and a memoir under her belt, Diana Abu-Jaber will release BIRDS OF PARADISE --- a multilayered novel about a family that comes apart at the seams --- later this year, on September 6. Today, her mother recalls Diana’s early talent, and cautions those with writers as children!  
ORIGIN.JPGDid you have any book or reading rituals in your house? 
Books have been a huge part of our family. Diana's father always boasted that his mother was the first woman in Jordan to have her own library. She brought her books with her when, as a refugee, her family fled Palestine to live in Jordan. Her maternal grandmother was the first, and the only, one of her six brothers and sisters to go to college and become a teacher.

Did you read to Diana as a child? What did you read?   

As a child, Diana would sit with her precious bunny, while I read my own favorite book, THE VELVETEEN RABBIT, to her --- it’s a story about a toy rabbit that is loved so much, it becomes real. Once Diana learned to read herself, there was no stopping her. She entertained us with stories and jokes during our long ride from Syracuse to New Jersey to visit grandma.

When did you know she was going to be a writer?

I knew Diana had real talent when her high school social studies teacher wrote her a letter thanking her for a report she had done. She had written it through the eyes of two camels. She and her cousins were inspired by "Jesus Christ Superstar," and they wrote a play that they acted out at home. She also entered a writing contest as a junior and won an invitation to attend a month-long workshop at Wells College in Aurora, NY.

What authors, besides your daughter’s books, do you read?
Since then, she has only become even more creative and proficient. Although Diana is my favorite author, I also enjoy classic stories, such as novels by John Steinbeck. I especially like the descriptive writing about the settings and the history of the people and places, along with the strong stories.
What’s it like being the mother of a published author?

It's amazing and awesome to have a brilliantly talented child, but I offer a note of caution: One never knows when something you have said or done will end up being written on a page for all the world to read.

Diana Abu-Jaber is the award-winning author of several novels, including the highly anticipated BIRDS OF PARADISE, which will be available in stores this September.