Author Interview: Hitha Palepu

We’re Speaking details inspirational lessons about life, work, and overcoming adversity—drawn from Kamala Harris’s norm-shattering ascent to Vice President of the United States. We spoke with author Hitha Palepu about the inspiration for We’re Speaking, the bookstores that have her heart, and more!

We’re Speaking

By Hitha Palepu • Narrated by the author

Please tell us a little bit about what inspired you to write this book and how this story took shape for you.

Vice President Kamala Harris has been a longtime hero and mentor-from-afar of mine, ever since she was attorney general of California. How she spoke, negotiated, advanced her career, and even dressed are things I’ve studied from her and adopted for myself in various ways over the course of my career.

When I was approached by Little, Brown Spark to see if I’d be interested in writing an advice book inspired by Harris, it felt like fate—my little worn book of Kamala-isms was the foundation of this book and it was an honor to write it.

In two sentences or less, what’s something that might surprise listeners about your audiobook?

I hope you learn something new about Vice President Harris, and I hope you find one takeaway you choose to implement in your life immediately.

Have you listened to your own audiobook? What struck you about your own narration?

I’ve only heard a few sections, but I’m struck not only by how I managed to speak slower than I usually do, but also emphasize the passion that behind the words I wrote. This was the first book of mine that I narrated, and I really enjoyed the entire process!

Are you an audiobook listener? If so, what are some of your favorite audiobooks?

I am! Some of my favorites are The Midnight Library by Matt Haig, Seveneves by Neal Stephenson, The Martian by Andy Weir, The Happy Ever After Playlist by Abby Jimenez, and Gabrielle Union’s We’re Going To Need More Wine and You Got Anything Stronger?

The Midnight Library

By Matt Haig • Narrated by Carey Mulligan


By Neal Stephenson • Narrated by Mary Robinette Kowal & Will Damron

The Happy Ever After Playlist

By Abby Jimenez • Narrated by Zachary Webber & Erin Mallon

We’re Going to Need More Wine

By Gabrielle Union • Narrated by the author

You Got Anything Stronger?

By Gabrielle Union • Narrated by the author

What have independent bookstores and/or booksellers meant to you personally and professionally?

Book Culture is our longtime neighborhood bookstore, and there’s nothing I love more than taking Rho there and wandering the aisles to find a new book. Books Are Magic is a must-stop for me when I’m in Cobble Hill—Emma is both a brilliant writer and store owner. Cafe Con Libros‘ monthly book subscription is the best—my kids and I look forward to it every month! And as a University of Washington alumna, University Bookstore has my heart—I used to pop in once a week to wander around and pick up a new book—or five.

Looking for more?

Playlist: Hitha Palepu's Audiobook Picks cover

Playlist: Hitha Palepu’s Audiobook Picks

View the playlist

Header photo by Molly Morris Photography

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