One of the exciting things about creating and writing Persia Blues is that I get to share some of the history and culture of my birthplace, Iran. I wanted to weave this into the fabric of the story, from Minoo’s childhood all the way through adulthood. And even beyond, when her life’s journey brings her to the US, I wanted to use real settings that both Brent Bowman (my artist) and I are familiar with, to give the story a real grounded feel.
The trick was figuring out how to feature these things in a seamless manner, without them becoming distracting. After all, I wanted to tell a story about a young woman’s life and search for identity, not write a history textbook or a cookbook on Persian cuisine. So one approach was to include little, unobtrusive footnotes explaining the meaning of certain Fari words or cultural references that appeared casually in the dialogue. And, of course, do so sparingly.
The other was to put together a fun, dynamic resource external to the book, as sort of a supplement. Enter Pinterest:
For those of you unfamiliar with Pinterest, it’s a social media sharing site that utilizes a “pinboard” model. You can create multiple “boards” and “pin” pictures (and links) from around the web on them, usually organized by a theme. So I decided to create a whole series of boards devoted to providing background and supplementary material on Persia Blues.
What are some of the things you can expect to find there? Lots of pictures and recipes for Persian foods, pictures and links to articles about modern Iran, as well as ancient Persia. And other boards devoted to the other settings from the book, including my hometown of Columbus, Ohio.
You can check it all out here: Persia Blues on Pinterest.