Andrea Nepa is the mother of an adopted Vietnamese daughter named Leah. In 2001, Adoptions from the Heart assisted with the international adoption. Andrea dedicated her book, Red in the Flower Bed, to her daughter: "For my dear Leah, whose journey in her young life has already taken her to far away and unexpected places." In 2006, Leah was diagnosed with cancer. She is currently in remission. Andrea lives with Leah and her husband, David, in Haddonfield, New Jersey. She is a registered dietitian for the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
1. Hi Andrea. Could you you tell us a little about yourself?
I grew up in NH and now live in NJ. I still miss the beautiful fall foliage and snow at Christmas from living in New England. I am married with a 9 year old daughter. We have a dog and two cats. I am very close with the cats, but the dog is new, so I am still learning to communicate with him. My hobbies include playing the flute and ice skating. I play music in an ensemble, and recently started taking ice dancing lessons. I work as a clinical nutritionist at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
2. Describe your desk/workspace.
My desk probably looks chaotic, but I know where everything is (most of the time). At work I have several piles on my desk. One pile is for daily/immediate tasks, one for next week's work, another for long term projects and another for other things (such as reading research articles) when I get time for it. So I am quite organized, although you wouldn't know it by looking .
3. Do you have a favorite quote?
My favorite quote is: "The wise learn more from the foolish than the foolish do from the wise." I think this was from a fortune cookie.
4. If you could have coffee with anyone (living or dead, real or fictional), who would it be and why?
If I had the opportunity to have a coffee chat with anyone, it would probably be Laura Ingalls Wilder. I am fascinated by life as she describes it from her time period. I would love to ask her questions about how she survived living as secluded as her family did at times, and how they managed by making/growing/hunting almost everything they owned and ate, with no modern medicine, indoor plumbing, etc. She had the ability to describe the beauty of life with beautiful words, and took joy in the nature around her.
5. What are your top three favorite books and why?
There are so many great books that I don't know that I could narrow it down to three. Some of my favorite books are: Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden (the storyline is captivating and so well put together and life in Japan during that time is fascinating too); Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier (great story you can't stop reading); Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (the storyline is so intricate and well designed and the characters are well defined with great dialogue; interesting insight into how life was among the upper class in England during that time period); The Number 1 Ladies Detective Agency series by Alexander McCall Smith (great fun to read; quirky characters in an African setting; interesting mysteries); all James Herriott books (his true stories about life as a country vet can be hilarious, and his insight into human and animal behavior is awesome) and of course the Little House on the Prairie series.
6. Do you write full-time or part-time?
I occasionally write professionally for work, but I have only written the one children's story.
7. What are your current marketing strategies for Red in the Flower Bed: an Illustrated Children's Story about Interracial Adoption?
I have participated in several online blogs targeted to adoptive parents.
8. Could you share about any current writing projects?
No writing projects at the moment!
9. What would be the best way for readers to contact you?
Through my publisher, Tribute Books. http://www.tribute-books.com/
10. Is there anything else you'd like to share?
I was inspired to write Red in the Flower Bed because I feel so fortunate to have my daughter through adoption, and because she would ask questions about her adoption that we were unable to answer because her birth history is unknown. I did it out of love for her, and was especially motivated to write it after she survived a life-threatening illness at the age of five.