More About the Author
Portions of the following interview with Ted Oswald were conducted by Tim Hoiland and David Gaughran, originally appearing on timhoiland.com and davidgaughran.com, respectively.
Interviewer: Tell us about the background of Because We Are.
Ted Oswald: In late 2010, my wife and I lived in Haiti and interned, her as an international development student and me as a law student. The story is set in the community in which I worked, a notorious slum called Cité Soleil. It follows two unlikely detectives--children, brash Libète and brilliant Jak, both amalgams of different kids I encountered there--as they try to solve the mystery behind a murdered mother and her infant child. But the story was always meant to be about bigger themes than that premise suggests: friendship, the struggle for justice in the face of impunity, sacrifice for the community, personal responsibility, faith and doubt in light of tragedy, and the foolishness of scarcity in a world of plenty.
Interviewer: You've made the decision that all of your royalties from book sales go to support the work of a handful of small organizations in Haiti. Why did you choose to take this approach, and how did you choose which organizations to
Ted Oswald: Much of the book was inspired by my experiences in Haiti, especially in Cité Soleil, and it somehow felt strange to profit financially from it. This model seemed a way to gather the indirect support of others―through the purchase of the book-―to a country and people that changed my life.
Many are familiar with Haiti's travails in passing. The legacy of slavery, rapacious leaders, political instability, endemic poverty and inequality, and natural and man-made disasters make for an incredibly complicated context.
The organizations who have and will continue to benefit from book sales have long-standing commitments to partnering with Haitians; they have great reputations and proven track records in their different areas of work, be they human rights advocacy and promotion, education, microfinance, conflict resolution, or improving the environment.
Ultimately, I admire examples of generosity spurring generosity, and this seemed an interesting way to tie readers into the book's special context and themes.
To read more of this interview, visit www.tedoswald.com.