In the fall of 2006, I was searching for a story idea when my editor shared a news item with me. Babies born to a mixed-race couple were getting press around the world because one was "black" and the other "white."
My editor wondered aloud what these girls' lives might be like when they were ten. The question caught my attention, and Minni and Keira King were born.
In a way, Minni and Keira represent the dual nature of my own heart, personality, and experience. But the girls also represent "sisters" everywhere – struggling to maintain solidarity in the face of a myriad of modern-day pressures.
The seed of the story idea came from a news article about actual twins, but of course The Other Half of My Heart was drawn completely from my own psyche and experience.
Questions of race and racial definitions have always been a part my life, from the first time an adult told me to check "black" on a school form because my father was black, to the surprised looks I get from people just discovering the truth behind my tan complexion.
As a biracial African-American who has often been mistaken as white, and as a biracial African-American who was often the only kid of color in her classes (albeit a light tan color!), I drew from both sides of my experience to create Minni's and Keira's characters.
Writing this story reinforced for me the truth that when it comes to standing up for what's right, or having a beautiful heart, it doesn't matter what color your skin is. Sisters (and brothers) come in all colors.
Sundee T. Frazier is also the author of Brendan Buckley's Universe and Everything in It, for which she received the Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Award. As a teen, she was crowned Miss Palouse Empire and was first runner-up in the Washington State Junior Miss Program (not pageant). Learn more about her and her books at www.sundeefrazier.com.