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Ava Dellaira shares how motherhood -- from both sides of being a child and a parent -- has informed her latest novel.


Welcome to the blog tour for Ava Dellaira's In Search of Us (available on March 6th)! Here's the official scoop on the book:

This sweeping multi-generational love story introduces readers to mother-and-daughter pair Marilyn and Angie. To seventeen-year-old Angie, who is mixed-race, Marilyn is her hardworking, devoted white single mother. But Marilyn was once young, too. When Marilyn was seventeen, she fell in love with Angie's father, James, who was African-American. But Angie's never met him, and Marilyn has always told her he died before she was born. When Angie discovers evidence of an uncle she's never met she starts to wonder: What if her dad is still alive, too? So she sets off on a journey to find him, hitching a ride to LA from her home in New Mexico with her ex-boyfriend, Sam. Along the way, she uncovers some hard truths about herself, her mother, and what truly happened to her father.

In honour of its upcoming release, Ava's stopping by to talk about how her relationship with her own mother shaped this novel, and what perspective becoming a mother herself has given her. Take it away, Ava!

My mother died suddenly the summer after I graduated college, and a couple of months later, grieving and aimless, I moved to Los Angeles. I had been born in the city, but we left when I was three years old, and I didn’t have my own memories of it. Instead, arriving in L.A. as young adult, I felt as if there were a city beneath the city: the city of my parents’ invisible past. There was some part of my mother — who had lived before I was ever alive — that I hoped to discover on the street of her old apartment building, on the beaches where she and my father would spend afternoons fishing, in the restaurants where she once sat, ate, laughed, dreamed... When I began writing In Search Of Us years later, that sensation stayed with me as I imagined Angie in the city where her parents had fallen in love, searching out clues to uncover her past.

It took me years — until my now-husband and I had moved in together, and begun to think about having kids of our own — to be ready to write about a mother daughter relationship. As I considered my idea for the book — to go back and forth in time between a mother and daughter when they are each 17— of course I thought of my own mother, and the questions about her past that I wished I could ask. I would never be able to talk to
her about so many of the details, feelings, sensations and stories from her teenage and young adult years, and yet I knew that there must be echoes of her early life that had reached me nonetheless. One of the central themes of In Search Of Us relates to the (sometimes invisible) effects of our history, both collective and personal, on our present, and the importance of bringing that to light. As I now eagerly await the birth of my
daughter and am beginning to shift into the identity of motherhood, I find myself thinking about what she will inherit, from me, from her father, from our families, and from the larger histories that she will be born into. I think how I can best help her navigate that, and she searches for and creates her own identity.



My mom and me, pregnant at the beach.

A post shared by Ava Dellaira (@ava.dellaira) on


About the Author:

Ava Dellaira is the author of Love Letters to the Dead, which was sold in 25 foreign territories and has been optioned for film. She is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, where she was a Truman Capote Fellow. She grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and received her undergraduate degree from the University of Chicago. She was an associate producer of Stephen Chbosky's feature film adaptation of his bestselling novel The Perks of Being a Wallflower. She currently lives in Los Angeles.

Thanks for sharing this beautiful post with us, Ava! Check out the rest of the stops on the In Search of Us blog tour.

February 27: Alexa Loves Books
March 1: YA Book Nerd
March 3: It Starts at Midnight
March 5: Forever Young Adult
March 6: Super Space Chick

In Search of Us will be available on March 6th.