03 Jun Meet Saira! Co-Founder of In This Together Media!
What do you love to do with your children? How old are they? And what is your greatest wish for them?
My daughter, Lila, just turned 5 and my son, Dar, will be 3 in August. Nothing makes them (and me) happier than the beach, the sun and an arsenal of buckets and shovels. I, like every mom on the planet, wish for them to lead healthy, happy lives. Lives in which they wink at challenges, appreciate success however small or fleeting, and learn from (rather than ruminate over) failure. Above all else, I want Lila and Dar to like and love themselves.
When and where are you the happiest?
Walking in the sun, near the water.
If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?
The North Pole.
What quality do you most admire in a mother? And what woman has had the biggest impression on you?
Patience- I run out of patience rather quickly and am struck by mothers—and fathers—who keep calm and carry on. As for the biggest impression—without a doubt, my own mother, Dr. Sybil “Greenie” Rao. She passed away suddenly last June. She was kind, courageous, humble and hilarious. Remarkably, she prepared me for the biggest challenge of my life—losing her. I hope everyday that I’m one-tenth of the mother that she was.
What is your favorite book? Movie?
Books—Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides, Naked by David Sedaris and Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri. Movie—Dave. Seriously.
What personal achievement are you most proud of?
IN THIS TOGETHER MEDIA, a publishing company I started with a dear friend last year. We publish “great books about real girls”—early chapter books, middle grade and young adult fiction with a focus on authentic female characters. Our novels present girls in narrative situations where they are not always tomboys, princesses, super-chicks, sex objects and vampires. We have been astounded by the warm reception! Our first book, Soccer Sisters: Lily Out of Bounds, was featured on The Today Show. Our second, Mrs. Claus and The School of Christmas Spirit, was the #1 children’s holiday book on Amazon for weeks. Our first YA novel, Playing Nice, has received over a 100 reviews on Goodreads. And we were just at The White House for a Conference on Girls Leadership and Civic Education!
It’s been a dream.
What do you feel is your strongest talent?
What do you like to do for fun?
Talk, eat, drink wine. Do all of the above with friends and family. Although sometimes I enjoy talking to myself.
What is your favorite time of the day and why?
Morning. Around 5:30 am. The early light, silence and first cup of coffee provide me with great hope. It usually ends at 5:31 when Dar starts barking, but it’s magic while it lasts.
Where is your favorite place to go out in Greenwich? And what do you like to drink?
Tod’s Point (Seltzer water) and Mediterraneo (Super Tuscan).
As for In This Together Media’s upcoming novels, Saira has generously offered an exclusive sneak peek to the Party with Moms community.
(1) SOCCER SISTERS: VEE CAUGHT OFFSIDE is the second book in Andrea Montalbano’s new book series for kids 8–12. The first book, LILY OUT OF BOUNDS, was featured on The Today Show and former Olympian Brandi Chastain is the series’ spokesperson.
(2) PERSONAL STATEMENT by Jason Odell Williams is a young adult satire about the absurdities of the college admissions process. The story revolves around three rising seniors, a young female political staffer and a whole lot of competitive volunteering as a hurricane threatens the Connecticut coast. Vanity Fair’s Sarah Ellison calls it “mordantly hilarious!”
VEE will be released in a few weeks. PERSONAL STATEMENT won’t be out until August. If you want a sneak peek, email Saira at firstname.lastname@example.org and she’ll send you an advanced reading copy.