Samar on Inside the Characters Studio!

This week on Inside the Characters' Studio, Samar, the star of Neesha Meminger's Shine, Coconut Moon.

Seventeen-year-old Samar -- a.k.a. Sam -- has never known much about her Indian heritage. Her mom has deliberately kept Sam away from her old-fashioned family. It's never bothered Sam, who is busy with school, friends, and a really cute but demanding boyfriend.

But things change after 9/11. A guy in a turban shows up at Sam's house, and he turns out to be her uncle. He wants to reconcile the family and teach Sam about her Sikh heritage. Sam isn't sure what to do, until a girl at school calls her a coconut -- brown on the outside, white on the inside. That decides it: Why shouldn't Sam get to know her family? What is her mom so afraid of? Then some boys attack her uncle, shouting, "Go back home, Osama!" and Sam realizes she could be in danger -- and also discovers how dangerous ignorance can be. Sam will need all her smarts and savvy to try to bridge two worlds and make them both her own.

Let's get to it!

What is your favorite word?
Lush. I first really noticed it with the bath and beauty products store, but now I think it's my favorite word, EVER.

What is your least favorite word?
Heimlich. Ew.

What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?
To feel like I really belong somewhere. There's no question about it. And if I weren't there, people would notice that there was a big hole where I'm supposed to be.

What turns you off?
Ignorance. Definitely.

What is your favorite curse word?
Sh*t. I don't know if it's my favorite, really, but it's the one I use the most :D.

What sound or noise do you love?
Windchimes. My mom has some in the backyard and when there's a soft breeze, you hear this little tinkling and it just soothes you.

What sound or noise do you hate?
People coughing up phlegm.

What profession would you like to attempt?
Astronomy. I'm not stellar at science (ha ha, get that? Stellar...? Astronomy...? Anyway), but I'm fascinated with the movement of the planets and the stars. There's SO much up there that we know nothing about.

What profession would you not like to do?
Be a therapist working with domestic violence survivors. That's what my mom does and, even though she says she loves it, she comes out of her office looking totally stressed sometimes.

If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
"Eternal Paradise; down the hall and to your left."

Check out other interviews from Inside the Characters' Studio here.