I hope you’ve been well! Today I’m so excited to be posting an interview with the brilliant Pintip Dunn, author of ‘Dating Makes Perfect’. It was an absolute pleasure to ask Pintip these questions and her answers are absolutely wonderful! Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions! I’m also going to be sharing my thoughts on this incredible, witty book so stick around 😉
On a completely unrelated note, the WordPress editor changed in the middle of writing this post, forcing me to try the hell that is the block editor (if any of you can actually use the block editor you are either devils or geniuses). I could not, for the life of me, edit the post to my liking – why would you change something that is already so simple and perfect to use?? i. demand. answers. thankfully, I found the dashboard which is pretty similar to the classic editor so *phew* crisis averted.
**I received an e-copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.**
This post is part of a blog tour being hosted by Hear Our Voices Book Tours – an incredible tour company that is working to get books to #ownvoices readers! You can check out the other stops on this tour here.
by Pintip Dunn// The Tech sisters don’t date in high school. Not because they’re not asked. Not because they’re not interested. Not even because no one can pronounce their long, Thai last name—hence the shortened, awkward moniker. But simply because they’re not allowed. Until now.
In a move that other Asian American girls know all too well, six months after the older Tech twins got to college, their parents asked, “Why aren’t you engaged yet?” The sisters retaliated by vowing that they won’t marry for ten (maybe even twenty!) years, not until they’ve had lots of the dating practice that they didn’t get in high school.
In a shocking war on the status quo, her parents now insist that their youngest daughter, Orrawin (aka “Winnie”), must practice fake dating in high school. Under their watchful eyes, of course—and organized based on their favourite rom-coms. ’Cause that won’t end in disaster.
The first candidate? The son of their longtime friends, Mat Songsomboon—arrogant, infuriating, and way too good-looking. Winnie’s known him since they were toddlers throwing sticky rice balls at each other. And her parents love him.
If only he weren’t her sworn enemy.
Published: 18th August 2020
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️(5 stars)
ABOUT PINTIP DUNN
Pintip Dunn is a New York Times bestselling author of young adult fiction. She graduated from Harvard University, magna cum laude, with an A.B., and received her J.D. at Yale Law School.
Her novel FORGET TOMORROW won the 2016 RWA RITA® for Best First Book, and SEIZE TODAY won the 2018 RITA for Best Young Adult Romance. Her books have been translated into four languages, and they have been nominated for the following awards: the Grand Prix del’Imaginaire; the Japanese Sakura Medal; the MASL Truman Award; the TomeSociety It list; and the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award.
Her other titles include REMEMBER YESTERDAY, THE DARKEST LIE, GIRL ON THE VERGE, STAR-CROSSED, and MALICE.
She lives with her husband and children in Maryland.
Hi Pintip! Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions! First of all, can you describe your book in 5 words?
Family-oriented #ownvoices Thai YA rom-com
Asian parents are normally portrayed as being very anti-dating. What inspired you to put your own spin on this trope?
I’ve had so many conversations with other Thai Americans and Asian Americans, whose parents seemed to change their minds in an instant about their children not dating and settling down. One moment, the parents wanted their children to focus on their studies, and the next, all the parents asked about were relationship statuses and grandbabies. That magic moment might happen during college or grad school or a first job, but all these instances were characterized by an abrupt and sudden switch.
I thought it would be fun to turn this phenomenon on its head. What if the parents realized that their stringent rules about dating backfired? What if they had to completely backtrack and require their youngest to date in high school? What if they had no experience dating in America and had to rely on classic rom coms to draw inspiration for the fake dates?
And then, presto. Dating Makes Perfect was born.
Who is your favourite character in this book and who do you think is most like you?
My favorite character has to be Winnie, since I occupied her mind and her heart so thoroughly in writing this book. On the one hand, she’s a lot like me (and out of everyone in the book, probably the most like me.) She’s a little awkward and clumsy and obsessed with food. She also yearns to be the perfect Thai daughter but finds herself lacking. These are all things that encapsulate my childhood.
At the same time, she’s the opposite of me since I am the oldest sister in my family, and she is the youngest. Winnie’s feelings of never being able to live up to her beautiful and talented older sisters come directly from my own sister, Lana. Lana is twelve years younger than me, and from that distant perspective, of course she saw me — and continues to see me — as the older sister who can do no wrong, no matter how much I’ve tried to explain that I’m as much a mess as anyone else.
The relationship between Winnie and her sisters is definitely inspired by my own relationship with Lana. We love each other deeply and without condition. Strong family bonds are at the core of all of my books, and DATING MAKES PERFECT is no exception.
What are you most excited for people to see in Dating Makes Perfect?
To quote my six-year-old son, I am a “kajillion times ten” percent excited for people to read a story with a Thai heroine, a Thai hero, another Thai love interest, Thai twin sisters, and Thai parents. With the exception of Winnie’s best friend, Kavya (who is Konkani), every main character in this book is Thai.
I am a Thai-American girl who grew up in a tiny town in southeast Kansas. While I visited my family in Thailand every summer, I spent the rest of the year midwest America, where I hardly saw or read about anyone who looked like me — in books, on the television, or in person. Rightly or wrongly, from my own insecurity as well as my peers’ micro- and outright aggressions, I came to believe that I was “other.” And because I was “other,” I was therefore ugly.
This story is for the teenage me — and for every other teenager who feels like they don’t belong. I wish I could go back in time and tell twelve-year-old Pintip, “Your story matters, too. Your existence has value. Your difference is something to be celebrated and embraced.” I can’t, and so this book is the next best thing.
What is the most rewarding part of being an author? And what do you find most challenging
The most rewarding part of being an author is when readers write to me, or tell me in person, that my books have made an impact on them. It’s surreal for me to think that words that I write can reach out and touch a stranger, forming a human connection between us even if we don’t know each other.
The most challenging part of being an author is the uncertainty within the career. There are so many factors in traditional publishing outside of my control. Growing up, I learned that hard work was directional proportional to the end result. That is not always the case with traditional publishing.
What did you edit out of this book?
In the early stages of my first draft, Winnie and Mat played pranks on each other. My editor and I decided that the pranks felt a little juvenile and made the characters seem mean, so I deleted that element altogether.
Also: exclamation points! For some reason, I went overboard with the exclamation points while I was writing this book—maybe because it was so much fun to write?—and had to take them out during the revision process. I’m not sure what happened. I’ve never used exclamation points excessively before this book.
What was your favourite snack whilst writing your book?
I don’t snack much while I write, but I drink lots and lots of naturally flavoured Perrier. My favourite flavours are pineapple, strawberry, and lime, but I’ll drink any flavour.
Do you have any interesting writing quirks?
I’ve written my last eight books entirely on my cell phone. The reason for this is because I have fibromyalgia, and I can’t type on a keyboard without intense, debilitating pain. I’ve had this condition for over twenty years now, and for years, I dictated and hated every second of it. However, when I got my first smart phone, I discovered — to my immense joy — that so long as the phone was locked in portrait position, I can tap on the screen without pain. (Even in landscape position, the letters are too far apart and causes me pain.)
I’m used to writing on my cell phone now, and it’s as natural to me as any writer typing on a laptop. The first book I wrote, however, was during a flare-up when I was flat on my back for six months. In order to write, I laid on the floor underneath my glass coffee table, with my laptop open and face down on the glass, and dictated into a microphone.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I have three kids, so they keep me plenty busy. Being a mother is a huge part of my identity — although I never realized that until I had my first baby. In addition, I’ve been taking LOTS of long walks, and I’m passionate about food (if you couldn’t tell from my books.) I also love spending time with friends and family, and reading is as natural to me as breathing.
Dating Makes Perfect is an Own Voices novel (yay!). What are some of your favourite Own Voices books?
Abigail Hing Wen’s LOVEBOAT, TAIPEI treads on new ground, and it was exciting for me to read, and Lyla Lee’s I’LL BE THE ONE spoke to me in a very real way. For raw, powerful YA that takes your breath away, I recommend Elizabeth Acevedo’s CLAP WHEN YOU LAND, Kacen Callender’s FELIX EVER AFTER, and Dean Atta’s THE BLACK FLAMINGO. Finally, for swoony and heartwarming romance, by writers whom I admire and respect: Farrah Rochon’s THE BOYFRIEND PROJECT; Kwana Jackson’s REAL MEN KNIT; Mis Sosa’s THE WORST BEST MAN; Vanessa Riley’s A DUKE, THE LADY, AND A BABY; and Priscilla Oliveras’s ISLAND AFFAIR.
I am going to keep this short and sweet (like this incredible book!) because this post is already way too long and trying to negotiate with WordPress means that it is almost my bedtime now.
Dating Makes Perfect is one of those books that you can’t help but love. I loved all the Tech sisters by the end of the first chapter (no exaggeration) and I literally could not stop smiling. This book is just too!! damn!! cute!! I somewhat expected there to be conflict between Winnie and her twin sisters but their relationship was so wholesome.
“I will never be insulted by a compliment to my sisters. The competition among us has never amounted to a grain of rice. Their wins are mine and vice versa.”
Pintip Dunn’s writing is witty and easy to get lost in! I ended up laughing out loud multiple times! and the yearning and angst between these Winnie and Mat? ugh take all my money already 💰
“I bet he’s got a voodoo doll or ten of me in his closet. Remember the massive migraine I had last night? Pretty sure that was Mat. When I tripped over the threshold of our front door and sent the groceries flying? Also Mat.”
I also loved the fact that the whole cast of this book was diverse. The MC and her family is #ownvoices Thai-American, most side characters are also Thai-American including the love interest and a bisexual side character. I am now so intrigued by Thai food and I really want to try it!!
Winnie’s best friend, Kavya, is an incredibly hilarious Indian-American side character. She was genuinely so supportive and wonderful and I loved her a lot!
“Have fun, you two. Please do something I wouldn’t do. And take lots of notes so I can hear all about it.”
Overall, I honestly don’t think there is anything I disliked about this book (maybe the slight love triangle?? though that only existed for a short time) and I would wholeheartedly recommend this book to anyone and everyone!
Are you planning on reading Dating Makes Perfect? What are your favourite ownvoices books? What are you reading at the moment? How are you? Divulge your secrets…