An unforgettable story of sisterhood and a staggering exploration of intergenerational racial trauma, One of the Good Ones takes its readers on a road trip mapped by love and hope. Here, the sister-writer duo behind Dear Haiti, Love Alaine discusses the inspiration behind their second novel and paying tribute to all the women who have “shaken worlds and birthed nations.”
Writing with a sister is a delicate process. It’s also rough and bumpy. We are artists and collaborators who both want what’s best for our stories. But we are also siblings and have shared entire lives and secrets together. That’s bound to make for dramatic writing!
Still, it’s a blessing to work together so deeply with another version of yourself. But we aren’t thinking of this beauty in our day-to-day processes. We are bickering about what a character might be called, or the next step they should take.
Luckily, decades being the two eldest sisters of four women has made us experts in conflict resolution and we state our cases. We deliberate. Then we make decisions based on whoever was more passionate in her defense. It’s what’s best for the story.
One of the Good Ones is primarily a tale of sisterhood. It’s about three girls growing up in a religious household who have varying relationships with each other, who demand love and space and respect and distance and all the other stuff you want in a sister depending on your mood.
And we can relate. We grew up going to church too. A Lot. Like, imagine what going to church A Lot means and then multiply it by seven (the holiest number). Something that has always bothered us is how so many women, the sisters, and the mothers, and the cousins and the ancestors, don’t get named. Their stories are often pushed to the sidelines or left untold.
So, we wanted to write a tribute to the women who have also shaken worlds and birthed nations, to the women who carry unimaginable weights on their backs without any recognition, celebrated and condemned. Sisters. Sistahs. Even if we don’t know their names.
Now that we’re in the period of actually talking about our second book, it’s been an incredibly introspective moment in our writing careers. One of our favorite authors (and fellow Haitian!) is Ibi Zoboi. She famously described her books as “inhale books” and “exhale books.”
Our first novel, Dear Haiti, Love Alaine, was a gleeful exhale, a rush of fire and joy. One of the Good Ones is a deep inhale; we sucked in all that we’ve seen in the world surrounding justice and injustice. We held it in our chests. Then we got to writing.
It is a marvel that we have finally reached publication day for One of the Good Ones and that it’s time to release our story of Kezi, Happi, and Genny into the world. Hope you love it. We sure do!