We are so excited for the release of One Hundred Percent Me, by award-winning author Renee Macalino Rutledge! The story is a heartwarming tale about the joys of multicultural families and being mixed race, and is a project very close to Renee’s heart. We sat down with Renee to learn more about her inspiration for the book, her process and all things writing!Renee Rutledge

What inspired the idea for your book?

All my life, I’ve heard the questions “Where are you from?” (assuming, not from here) and “What are you?” As a brown person, I’ve come to expect being exoticized, “othered” in habitual conversation. When I became a mother, I witnessed my daughters being asked the same questions. I also noticed, with their being multiracial, people constantly want to tell them who or which side they look like. This can be totally innocent and often stems from curiosity or affection. But One Hundred Percent Me turns those questions on their head, gives the child the agency to say, “I’m from here; this city is just as much mine as yours; and I am unique and beautiful.” It reminds us all that we are matchless, connected to generations of ancestors who helped to make us who we are.

Why did you want to write this book?

It’s very difficult to find a children’s book from the perspective of an Asian and Latina child. I wrote the book I always wanted to read my daughters when they were growing up. I wrote a book in which multiracial kids like them can see and celebrate themselves. It also pays homage to the Bay Area, which is very special in its diversity.

Where do you get your ideas?

My first novel, The Hour of Daydreams, was inspired by the questions I had after reading a Filipino folktale. Why would a woman marry a man who stole her wings? Why would she leave her daughter behind? I wrote the book to explore my own wondering. That said, the desire to learn more or to understand motivation is often my inspiration.

What is your writing process like?

It is usually late at night when I think I’m too tired but I give myself 10 minutes to write that often turn into an hour or two because once I start, I want to keep going.

What advice would you give to a writer working on their first book?

No writing is wasted. It doesn’t have to be perfect, and it doesn’t have to be part of a specific book you hope to write. Write what you feel you want to write at the moment that you want to write it. Then put it away. Look at it again tomorrow, or months from now, and the inspiration or spark of meaning that called you will still be there. Follow it. Never stop following your sparks of meaning.


We sincerely thank Renee for this beautiful story! Check out the book below for more information.