Spring 2018 Publishers' Preview: Five Questions for Sara Saedi

Publishers' Previews: Special advertising supplement in The Horn Book Magazine
This interview originally appeared in the March/April 2018 Horn Book Magazine as part of the Publishers’ Previews, an advertising supplement that allows participating publishers a chance to each highlight a book from its current list. They choose the books; we ask the questions.

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In Americanized: Rebel Without a Green Card, memoirist Sara (that’s “Saar-a,” not “Sarah”) Saedi cheekily informs us,“Yup, my life began during a hostage crisis,” as she recounts her family’s undocumented immigration from Tehran to San Jose, California, in the wake of the Iranian Revolution of 1979.

Photo: Denise Crew.

1. Do you regularly correct people on how to pronounce your first name or have you pretty much given up?

All the time — but I’m still painfully awkward about correcting people. In college, I was an assistant at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at UC Berkeley…and I waited seven months to tell people in a staff meeting how my name was actually pronounced.

2. What does your sister think of 
your memoir?

She’s proud and supportive. This book is just as much her story as it is mine, so I was grateful and relieved that she was happy with the final product. I don’t think she knew how much I admire her until reading the book.

3. How did you fact-check yourself?

I was lucky to have my high school diaries to remind me of timelines, and to give me a record of my teenaged experience of events — rather than just the way I remembered things happening as an adult. I also regularly called my parents with questions.

4. You write books and TV scripts [currently for the CW’s iZombie]. What does writing for one medium teach you about writing for the other?

They’re very different. In TV, you get to collaborate with other writers and your job is to make the showrunner’s life easier. You pitch ideas and make suggestions, but you also have to respect the showrunner’s vision. Writing a book is much more solitary, but you also have more ownership of the final product. 
I’m very lucky to write for both! I’m not sure I could ever choose between them.

5. Have you been back to visit Iran?

I’ve never been back, but I would love to visit someday. I fear some of the content in my book would make a visit risky, but you never know what the future holds. I’m proud of where I come from, and would love to get acquainted with the country I left as a child.

Sponsored by
Random House

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