Back in October I came across the book, "Our Era is Now" written by 15 year old author, Zoe Yu and we were so inspired by her we w...

Interview with 'Our Era is Now' Author Zoe Yu

Back in October I came across the book, "Our Era is Now" written by 15 year old author, Zoe Yu and we were so inspired by her we wanted to know more! Zoe was kind enough to agree to an interview - which included questions from some of my Cardboard Kids Crew*! So here we go!

Zoe Yu: Hi, my name is Zoe, and I'm a proud Texan of Taiwanese-American heritage. I have a younger brother in the eighth grade. In my free time, you can find me curling up with a good story, making playlists of my favorite music, or learning how to bookbind!

Cardboard Mom: When did you first start writing?

ZY: I've been writing for as long as I can remember; I have notebooks from the first grade filled with scattered ideas and story plotlines! For me, writing comes as naturally as breathing. There isn't a moment when I'm not thinking about the next sentence to pen down.

CM: Is this the first book you've written? If not, how many have you written and which is your favorite?

ZY: "Our Era is Now" is my first book!

CM: What do you like to do when you're not writing?

ZY: When I'm not writing, I'm editing articles (is that cheating? :-) ). I run a publication centered around amplifying women's voices and fostering diverse thought. We've published pieces on everything from the gender gap to the Supreme Court!

CM: Who has helped/supported you and your writing?

ZY: My family! I'm grateful for their endless support.

CM: What is one of the most surprising things you learned while creating this book?

ZY: I learned a lot through writing this book, but the most surprising thing I learned was technical aspects of the publishing process. Before the book was published, I had to research topics such as trim and bleed size, formatting, and copyright. It definitely taught me a lot about the ins-and-outs of publishing!

CM: Do you have any suggestions or advice for kids who want to become better writers and write their own book one day?

ZY: My best bit of advice for young writers would be to avoid obsessing over perfection. My writing motto is this: you can fix a shabby first draft, but you can't fix a blank page.

CM: What future career are you hoping to have?

ZY: Of course, I would love to keep writing. I'm also fascinated in social entrepreneurship and possibly pursuing a career in law or business!

Scarlett, 8: What age is this book for?

ZY: This book is geared towards children, but it's a read for all ages!

Scarlett, 8: Who most inspired you to write this book?

ZY: I wrote this book to uplift children. I hope to relay the message that women of all colors can achieve what they put their minds to, no matter how others say different.

Scarlett, 8: Of all the women in the book, whose story is your favorite?

ZY: All of the women in the book are extraordinary, but my favorite is Maya Angelou. Maya has been one of my favorite writers since I read "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings." Her story helps me to understand the wonder of words.

Lily, 10: Since there are so many awesome women to choose from who have done great things, how did you choose the women to feature in the book and why?

ZY: That's a great question. Over the course of my research, I found so many incredible women that I wanted to include in my book, but I narrowed down the women that I wanted to spotlight by choosing a wide variety of disciplines and backgrounds.

Lil C, 8: How did you create the pictures for your book?

ZY: The pictures in my book are licensed from Canva.

Scarlett Mae, 10: What inspired you to write this book?

ZY: Ever since I started reading, I noticed that many books lacked strong female protagonists - most female characters either had static roles or fit into a certain trope like the "damsel in distress" or the "evil queen" - and often failed to include any diversity at all. I believe that accurately depicting society and representing people of all backgrounds was the most important story I could write. This quote says it best: "That is the power of a diverse book: You can change everything for one kid, and you can create empathy in 100 more."

Scarlett Mae, 10: How did you know you could write a book when you are only 15?

ZY: I'm a firm believer in the fact that age should never be a factor that limits what you believe you can or cannot do!

I want to send a BIG thank you to Zoe for sharing her story and answering all of our questions! We can't wait to read your next book!

Further information:

Read my review of "Our Era is Now"

Visit Zoe's website

Purchase "Our Era is Now"

Check out these stories about awesome girls and women:

"Firebird" by Misty Copeland

"Mae Among the Stars" by Roda Ahmed

"Counting on Katherine" by Helaine Becker

"Kamala and Maya's Big Idea" by Meena Harris

"Frida Kahlo and Her Animalitos" by Monica Brown

"Ada's Violin: The Story of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay" by Susan Hood

And read about some inspiring women and girls who love science here

*My Cardboard Kids Crew includes children of various ages who help me review books and submitted interview questions for Zoe to answer.