Born in 2002, Citra Tenore (pronounced “cheetra tenorae”) is an American author from Massachusetts. She wrote her first novel, a standalone children’s story called Summer with a Twist, when she was eleven years old and published it when she was twelve. At nineteen, she has published the first book in her new science fiction series, The Dead Planets’ Requiem.
Citra says “ I was eleven years old at the point that I recognized the autonomy of writing and when I really recognized the power of the authors whose books were turned into some of my favourite movies – they controlled the story. I spent the last semester of my fifth grade reading every book kids my age had been reading for years – Lord of The Rings, The Hunger Games, etc. By the middle of that summer, when I had an idea for Summer with a Twist, I pounced on it”
“Summer with a Twist was inspired by a vacation with her family that they took with some very close friends. Most of the book is fictional, but the concept came from reality. One of the key elements of the book is the relatability and humour surrounding the main character’s heritage. Nowadays mixed-race/minority main characters are easy to find in the books we see on the shelves, but even just ten years ago it wasn’t like that in the US. Citra made the character Indonesian-Italian (like herself) and worked her heritage into the story in what she hoped would be a fun and entertaining twist on the books that she liked. Growing up, Citra friends and herself sometimes felt isolated because they couldn’t relate to what was portrayed as the typical American girl in their stories, so paying a small homage to herself and her riends was a little touch she wanted to add in. It was years before Citra realized that her frustration with the lack of representation was a subconscious reason for why she loved to write her own stories.
“With TDPR, the idea came to me when I was walking my dog one evening. I was thirteen, and it was a couple weeks before my fourteenth birthday. I remember the sky looked particularly cool that evening, the way the clouds were dispersed was so eerie, to the point that my Instagram feed was flooded with other kids in town using it as a background for their selfies and party pictures. It sounds ridiculous as I write this, but there’s a scene in TDPR where heavy clouds/smoke is a pretty important element, and it literally stemmed from the way the clouds appeared that night. Strangely enough, I’ve been walking my dog almost every night for the last six years and have never seen an arrangement like that ever again.”
“When I was younger, I had to actively think through plot points and character arcs, but now they just blip into my life randomly. I’ll be in dance class or cooking lunch and have a scene idea pop up – sometimes it gets kind of annoying, especially when I’m engaging in conversation with someone or trying to read a book. But it works, so no complaints here.”
Citra is now in the process of writing her 3rd book, Vol. II of TDPR.
Citra’s novels have sold in the EU, US and UK, and in 2022, are available in over 40 countries worldwide.