New Anthology: Latina Authors and Their Muses

New Anthology: Latina Authors and Their Muses, edited by Mayra Calvani

Eleanor Parker Sapia, AWA

LATINA AUTHORS AND THEIR MUSES

Final book cover Latina Authors and Their Muses

Eleanor Parker Sapia is honored to be featured in Latina Authors and Their Muses, edited by Mayra Calvani. The anthology, which highlights 40 respected Latina authors, …”is a celebration of creativity, the writer’s life, the passionate quest for spiritual and artistic freedom.”

Enjoy an excerpt from Eleanor:

“In many descriptive passages in the book, I see where my painterly eye took over. Knowing the ins and outs of painting, and understanding the necessary patience and discipline helped me with writing like already speaking the local language when you visit a new country. Building layers, focusing on details, always the details, and highlighting the nuances, light and dark parts in a painting, are a lot like writing.”

The ebook version debuted September 25th, 2015 through Twilight Times Books. The paperback debuts December 2015. 

http://www.amazon.com/Latina-Authors-Their-Muses-Calvani-ebook/dp/B015T99EE4/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1445523396&sr=1-1&keywords=latina+authors+and+their+muses

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Anna Reviews: A Decent Woman by Eleanor Parker Sapia

Reblogged from The Review http://thereview2014.blogspot.co.uk/2015/10/anna-reviews-decent-woman-by-eleanor.html

My heartfelt thanks to Paula Loftig at The Review for this wonderful opportunity, and to Anna Belfrage for the gift of her time and this review, complete with period photographs.

In 1898, the former Spanish Colony of Puerto Rico became American, this as part of the treaty ending the Spanish American War. The population of Puerto Rico may have had their own concerns about this sudden transfer of their citizenship, but such concerns were swept away in 1899, when the little island suffered one of the worst hurricanes in history, leaving behind a traumatized population and an infrastructure in tatters.

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   None of the above really play a part in A Decent Woman – except as background. The recent hurricane is the reason why young Serafina is so terrified when yet another storm hits the island just as she’s giving birth. The new American regime, bringing with it modernities such as electricity and educated doctors, threatens the existence of Doña Ana, until recently a much respected midwife. And as Doña Ana has a tendency to hedge her bets by praying not only to the Virgin and the saints, but also to an assortment of African deities, she is also under close scrutiny by the Church. Not a good place to be in, putting it mildly.

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   I enjoy reading books set in unusual places. In this case, Ms Parker Sapia presents us with the humid, tropical setting of Playa de Ponce, a small town just on the outskirts of Ponce – and of Ponce itself, already sliding into genteel oblivion now that the Americans have made San Juan the capital. It rains, it is unbearably hot, it rains some more, storms pass by at regular intervals, causing flooding and damage to the sad collection of sheds that house most of Playa’s inhabitants. Puerto Rico at the time is also a pot-luck of beliefs. People may flock to church on Sunday, but only a fool would ignore those other gods, such as Oyé, Changú and Yemayá. Here and there, rags in various colours decorate the doors, a silent offering to whatever God the colour belongs to. In a world where man is so exposed to the elements, it makes sense to keep all potential deities happy – just in case. The Holy Virgin figures prominently – in a book dedicated to the world of women, it is apt that she does.

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   A Decent Woman is the story of Serafina and Ana – mostly of Ana – who meet when Ana delivers Serafina’s first child during a storm. Ana is old enough to be Serafina’s mother, Serafina has no mother, Ana has no daughter, and in each other they find something of what they’re lacking. Serafina is a Puertoriqueña but Ana is from Cuba, and her past casts long shadows. Ana was born a slave, lived her first few decades as a slave,  and was forced to flee Cuba head over heels. Why is not revealed – not initially – and as the story progresses Ana has other battles to fight, primarily that with an intolerant priest and a humiliated doctor.

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   Where Ana is wary of others and generally disillusioned with life – she has lost too many people to risk developing new relationships – Serafina is a child-woman of sixteen, several years younger than her husband. A whirlwind romance ended in marriage, and before she knew it, Serafina was pregnant – one of the good, decent women in this world, those that see their role as wife and mother. But it isn’t easy, coping with a new baby when you’re not much older than a child yourself, and Ana sees no option but to help. Opposites attracts, one could say, with Ana acting the mainstay to Serafina’s initially so exuberant and hopeful take on life.

   Spanning the first few decades of the 20th century, this is a story about women – from the pampered wives of high society to the syphilis-infected whores. In a time where women had no rights, a single woman was viewed with suspicion, the assumption being that the only way such a woman could survive was on her back. Doña Ana experiences first-hand just how vulnerable a single woman can be – even more so if she is black, lacks a formal education and can’t read. Although Serafina is a married woman, she is not much better off. A wife is at the mercy of her husband’s whims, whether they be to drink too much and abuse her, or keep a stable of mistresses on the side. Sometimes, however, the downtrodden fight back – sometimes, they have to, to survive. 

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   Life for Serafina and Ana takes a number of surprising turns. At times for the good, just as often for the bad, but neither Ana nor Serafina have the luxury to give up. They do, however, have each other, despite the differences in age and status. In a setting heaving with tropical heat, with hurricanes and earthquakes, with corrupt policemen and abusive pimps, unfortunate demise and premeditated murder, such a friendship can be the difference between life and death.

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   Ms Parker Sapia does a great job of depicting early 20th century Puerto Rico – all the way from the opulence of the mansions of the rich to the various natural catastrophes that regularly sweep across this little island. Both Ana and Serafina are well-developed characters, women it is easy to care for.

I do believe the novel would have benefited from a thorough edit – specifically as concerns the time line. There are various occasions when I am jolted out of the story by strange time leaps, such as where one chapter is dated 1915, the next 1917 – but it starts off the morning after the events in the preceding chapter. As a reader, I spend considerable time sorting out these timing issues… Likewise, in some cases the leaps are too long: one moment Serafina is living in marital bliss, the next chapter her husband has a mistress set up in a separate home, behavior which is difficult to reconcile with the amorous and tender husband of just some pages back.

   All in all, A Decent Woman offers interesting insight in the life and fate of women – not that long ago. I loved the setting, the various descriptions of customs and rites, and having been fortunate enough to experience first-hand the rich Latino culture of Hispanic America, I was delighted to find myself yet again submerged in festivities and traditions that still, to this day, contribute to the fabric of everyday life. 

About The Author

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Historical novelist, Eleanor Parker Sapia was born in Puerto Rico and raised as an Army brat in the United States, Puerto Rico, and several European cities. As a child, she could be found drawing, writing short stories, and reading Nancy Drew books sitting on a tree branch. Eleanor’s life experiences as a painter, counselor, alternative health practitioner, a Spanish language social worker, and a refugee case worker, continue to inspire her writing. Eleanor loves introducing readers to strong, courageous Caribbean and Latin American women who lead humble yet extraordinary lives in extraordinary times. Her debut historical novel, A Decent Woman, set in turn of the nineteenth century Puerto Rico, has garnered praise and international acclaim. She is a proud member of PEN America Center, Las Comadres Para Las Americas, and Historical Novel Society. A Decent Woman was chosen as July 2015 Book of the Month for Las Comadres and Friends National Latino Book Club.


Eleanor is currently writing her second historical novel titled, The Island of Goats, set in Puerto Rico, Spain, and Southern France. When Eleanor is not writing, she loves facilitating creativity groups, and tells herself she is making plans to walk El Camino de Santiago a second time. Eleanor has two loving grown children, and currently lives in wild and wonderful West Virginia.

Find out more about Ms Parker Sapia on her Blog!

A Decent Woman is available on Amazon.uk
And Amazon.com

If you would like to win a copy of A Decent Woman then leave a comment here or on our Facebook page 

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Anna Belfrage is the author of eight published books, all part of the acclaimed The Graham Saga. Set in the 17th century, the books tell the story of Matthew Graham and his time-travelling wife, Alex Lind. The first book in her next series, The King’s Greatest Enemy, will be published on November 1, and is set in the England of the 1320s. Anna can be found on amazon, twitter, facebook and on her 

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Posted by Paula Lofting at Sunday, October 18, 2015 

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Wednesday’s Women: Latina Authors and Their Muses

Writer Gabriel Valjan’s thoughts on Latina Authors and Their Muses. Great review!

gabriel's wharf

mayraTwilight Times Books published Latina Authors and Their Muses on 24 Setpember 2015. As I write this, Amazon offers the Kindle version of the 354-page book for 99 cents for a limited time.

Leticia Gomez, CEO & Founder of Savvy Literary Services and publisher of Café con Leche Books, wrote the Foreword. Mayra Calvani, an award-winning author, is the editor and interviewer of 40 Latina authors in this anthology.

This is a brilliant collection of interviews, an inspiration for writers, and a comprehensive introduction to Latina writers, here in the United States and abroad. Each interview begins with the author describing her Muse, followed by a quick biographical sketch, literary influences, a summary of publications and social media details. The interviews are candid and thorough discussions about ‘process,’ their trials and triumphs in life and art. In parentheses, I cite birthplaces for each author in order for readers to see the geography of the Spanish-speaking world…

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Author Interview: Theresa Varela

The Writing Life is very pleased to welcome award-winning author, Theresa Varela.

Theresa Varela

Theresa Varela, Puerto Rican author, was born and raised in Brooklyn. She holds a PhD in Nursing Research and Theory Development and currently works with the mentally ill homeless population in NYC. She is a recipient of a 2015 International Latino Book Award for Best First Novel for Covering the Sun with My Hand. Her second novel Nights of Indigo Blue: A Daisy Muñiz Mystery, is the first in a series featuring an amateur Latina sleuth. Dr. Varela is a member of the National Association of Hispanic Nurses; Las Comadres para las Americas; and a member of PEN American Center. She is Co-Founder of La Pluma y La Tinta- a Writer’s Workshop. Her blog LatinaLibations on Writing and All Things of the Spirit can be found at www.theresavarela.com

Welcome, Theresa!

Nights of Indigo Blue-Varela

What is your book’s genre/category?

Nights of Indigo Blue: A Daisy Muñiz Mystery is just that-a mystery.

Please describe what the story/book is about.

Daisy Muñiz is ready to embrace a fresh new start in her brownstone apartment in Park Slope, Brooklyn, when she is thrust into the midst of the mysterious murder of Windsor Medical Center’s most prominent surgeon, Arthur Campbell.  As the secrets of the Campbell family are revealed, Daisy is forced to delve into her own troubled past and she becomes the unwitting ally to Detective David Rodriguez.

Theresa, how did you come up with the title?

The original title was “Do No Harm.” I called it that initially while thinking that it was a terribly lame title and I knew I had to come up with a new, more original one. One morning during my early run I started playing with words in my head. ‘Blue’ was easy to come up with because I usually run during the inbetween times right before dawn when the sky is still dark. My spiritual guardian is Yemayá, the Mother of all things and Orisha of the oceans, so the indigo blue color is something in which I have a love for and am deeply connected. I thought it was important to add the “A Daisy Muniz Mystery” to show that it one of a series of mysteries starring Daisy Muñiz.

What inspired you to write this book?

I wanted to write something that was fun, yet was realistic. Daisy is one of many young woman I’m aware of who have struggled with dark pasts, troubling intimate relationships, and have turned to alcohol to fill that inner void. She’s fortunate in that she has wonderful friends, the couple Jose and Rubio, who come to her aid by inviting her to explore a new life in sobriety and by finding her an apartment in the brownstone in which they are also renting from a wonderful elderly woman who becomes sort of a grandmother figure to Daisy. Her friends also introduce her to the mysteries of Espiritismo and the Orisha tradition and Daisy realizes she’s had a knack for intuitiveness all along. I wanted to have a Latina heroine that solved mysteries- something I feel is lacking in our literary world.

What is your favorite part of writing?

When I’m on my writing swing I feel as though I’m reading the story rather than writing it. I don’t outline my work before hand and allow my characters to tell me their stories. My current manuscript Coney Island Siren incorporates the concept of domestic violence and while I had a hard time with some of the passages, I knew that allowing the characters to fully be themselves without censorship is paramount to the telling. I really have to step out of my shoes when I’m writing and let my fingers create the music of my computer keyboard.

What is the most challenging aspect of writing?

I would have to say that finding the time to write is the most challenging. I have a list of current projects, multiple folders with ongoing work, and several ideas for future projects and really have to carve out time to make them all a reality.

Who are some of your favorite authors?

My favorite of all time is Joyce Carol Oates. I met her recently at the NY Historical Society and she asked me what I did for a living as she signed my book. I told her that I was a writer and then added that I’ve worked in mental health for many years. It was a special moment for me. Early reading also exposed me to Piri Thomas of ‘Down these Mean Streets,’ and Claude Brown who wrote ‘Manchild in the Promised Land.” These authors have an uncanny ability to weave realistic stories that are raw, true to life, and that don’t protect their readers from the shock of living. They all share that ability to give voice to dismal yet magnificent vistas from deep within their gut. They didn’t care to make it pretty nor palatable and that inspires and influences my writing. More contemporary writers that inspire me are Lyn di Orio of ‘Outside the Bones’ and Ernesto Quiñonez of ‘Bodega Dreams.’ Another all-time favorite of mine is Dion Fortune who wrote esoteric works and of the occult. Two of her best, in my most humble opinion, are ‘The Sea Priestess’ and ‘Moon Magic’. I must add Lawrence Block who has written multiple mysteries that include the character, Matthew Scudder, who just as Daisy, also struggles with alcoholism and sobriety.

What authors or person(s) have influenced you?

First off, I have to say my mother, Alicia Varela, God rest her soul. She started it all by reading to me and my older sister early during childhood. She knew exactly how to teach me to pick up a book. After dinner, my mother would read books to us such as Elsie Dinsmore and other classics. When we got to a really interesting passage, she’d place the bookmark between the pages and close the book. We knew we would be read to the following night but we learned that we didn’t have to wait so long and often picked the books up ourselves. On summer evenings, she told stories to a group of us little ones under the stars on Fifth Avenue in Park Slope, Brooklyn, where much of my work is set. I also rested on the couch with my Dad while he read the paper and I read the comics to him. A high school English teacher, Mrs. Farrell, ordered the students novels that weren’t on the school list but she knew we’d keep our noses in such as The Bad Seed. Other high school teachers also read aloud to us even in Senior year. I think that makes such a difference. In my doctoral program, one of my qualitative research teachers, Margot Ely, charged us with writing poetry and playlets in addition to other creative forms. She is another highly influential educator. Reading, for me, has been the key to writing.

Do you have a favorite place to write?

I write anywhere and everywhere. My writing sanctuary is partly my office and partly my spiritual space with my altar in it where I pray and meditate. The room used to be my daughter’s bedroom until she moved out over ten years ago. I’ll admit that I grew up sitting in front of the television doing my homework and I still love writing in the living/dining room where I put my lap top on the dining table and write to the sounds of old movies on the screen. Writing this way is also encouraging because it reminds me that I need to work my creative muscles and not sit back and be fed by others creativity while negating my own.

Tell us something personal about you people may be surprised to know?

I think that I’m an open book but I’m always surprised when people who I believe know me well seem shocked when I tell them that I work an almost full time job. They have visions of me writing all day and what I’m doing is practicing as a psychiatric nurse practitioner in a women’s shelter in Manhattan. So, I guess some people may be surprised by that. Lastly I have a PhD in Nursing Theory Development and Research and that is probably the antithesis to creative writing. If that doesn’t surprise people, how about that I can never have my fill of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches?

What surprises or learning experiences did you have during the publishing process?

I’m surprised at how quickly my timidity and innocence in business has swiftly disappeared. Words that were never part of my vocabulary, such as incorporated, formatting, intellectual property, and royalties are now being articulated during breakfast at my house. While most of my experiences have been wonderful, I’ve also been shocked at how dismissive and insulting some potential agents and editors have been at times. That’s where perseverance steps in to help an aspiring author.

Looking back, what did you do right that helped you with this book?

I allowed the character to develop slowly over a period of about seven years. Daisy told me her story little by little and I didn’t try to coax it all out of her too quickly. Our characters are relationships that have to be grown organically. Five years ago she wasn’t ready to tell her story in the world. I think her story is a series because there is still so much to learn about her.

Any advice or tips for writers looking to get published?

My advice is not to give up if you believe in your work. While waiting for responses from agents and publishing houses, take creative writing courses that will sharpen your literary skills. I also suggest that you read, read, read. On another note, look carefully at what your prospective publisher has done in the past. If they haven’t worked particular angles, such as formatting, that you’re interested in don’t expect that they will start with you. Media and publicity are areas that an author should be familiar with because many publishers don’t tackle those areas. If you are comfortable with ‘as is’ then sign the offered contract and not a moment before no matter how long you’ve been attempting to have your work published.

Website?

My website can be found at www.theresavarela.com. It offers what I call ‘LatinaLibations on Writing and All Things of the Spirit.’ I write about my perspectives on writing, spirituality, and mental health- my beloved topics.

Where can we find your book?

Nights of Indigo Blue: A Daisy Muñiz Mystery can be found on my website, where I am happy to personally sign ordered copies, at La Casa Azul Bookstore in East Harlem, NYC, at Aignos.com and at Amazon.com

What’s next for you? 

I have a few projects that I’m working on simultaneously. I’m adapting my first novel Covering the Sun with My Hand into a play. It had its first reading at the Puerto Rican Traveling Theatre this past spring. I’ve been working under the direction of Producer and published playwright Mario Golden and award-winning director Andreas Robertz. Secondly, I’m reading my current manuscript Coney Island Siren for last edits and will decide to which forum I will take it. Lastly, I’ve just completed my first chapbook of poetry entitled Most Grievous Fault. These poems are written about my experience regarding the death of my older sister to a chronic illness when I was eleven years old- eons before I was able to fully articulate my feelings. These are just a few of the projects that have been keeping me busy.

Thanks for chatting with us, Theresa. I enjoyed getting to know more about you. Best wishes with all your writing projects.

 

ABOUT ELEANOR PARKER SAPIA

ellie

Puerto Rican-born novelist, Eleanor Parker Sapia, was raised in the United States, Puerto Rico, and Europe. Eleanor’s careers as an artist, counselor, alternative health practitioner, Spanish language social worker and a refugee case worker inspire her stories. She is a member of Las Comadres Para Las Americas; PEN America Center; and Historical Novel Society. When Eleanor is not writing, she facilitates creativity groups, reads, and tells herself she is making plans to walk El Camino de Santiago de Compostela a second time.

A Decent Woman is Eleanor’s debut novel, set in turn of the nineteenth century Puerto Rico. The book was selected as 2015 July Book of the Month for Las Comadres & Friends Latino Book Club. Eleanor is the mother of two adult children and currently lives in West Virginia, where she is writing her second novel, The Island of Goats.

A Decent Woman is available for Kindle and in paperback on Amazon.

amazon.com/-/e/B00U05ZO9M

Barnes & Noble for Nook and in paperback.

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-decent-woman-eleanor-parker-sapia/1121258236?ean=9781620154007

La Casa Azul Bookstore    143 E. 103rd Street, New York, NY 10029         info.lacasaazul@gmail.com

http://www.eleanorparkersapia.com

@eleanorparkerwv

http://www.facebook.com/eleanorparkersapia

 

 

Las Comadres y Compadres 4th Annual Writers Conference

My thanks to Yadhira Gonzalez for this wonderful, informative blog post about the 2015 Las Comadres & Compadres Writers Conference. It was a pleasure spending time with my fellow writers again!

Latinxs in Kid Lit

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By Yadhira Gonzalez-Taylor

What a joy to return for a third year to see all my comadres and compadres in one place, the 4th Annual Comadres and Compadres Writers Conference.

This time, the conference was hosted at the New School on 13th Street in Manhattan.

Comadres Nora de Hoyos Comstock, Adriana Domínguez, and Marcela Landres, welcomed us to another year of fellowship and creative encouragement in the Latin@ literary scene.  We were met with a full day of information panels, craft workshops for adult and children’s literature, and one-on-one sessions with influential members of the publishing world.

Cristina Garcia Author Cristina García

This year’s conference included panels with kid lit authors Meg Medina, Angela Dominguez, and Daniel José Older, literary agent Linda Camacho, Nikki Garcia, an editorial assistant at Little Brown Children’s Books, and Leticia Gomez of Savvy Literary Services. The keynote…

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Saturday Morning Coffee – Collaborators, William Price King, Teresa Karlinski and M.C.V. Egan

Sharing and meeting new friends through social media is a joy! Please meet the lovely Sally Cronin, author and blogger, who writes at Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life blog, and her guests, writers M.C.V Egan and Teresa Karlinski, and musician William Price King, for Saturday Morning Cofffee.

Author Interview: Mary A. Pérez

The Writing Life is pleased to welcome Mary A. Pérez, author of ‘Running in Heels: A Memoir of Grit and Grace’, her debut memoir of the turbulent and uncertain childhood she survived.

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Born in the Bronx, raised in Miami, relocated to Houston – Mary is of Puerto Rican descent, a mother to four grown children, “Mimi” to a couple of gorgeous grandchildren, and happily married (the second time around) to a phenomenal man for twenty-one years.

Mary was born to a Puerto Rican immigrant family in the Bronx of New York and moved to Miami, Florida in 1962. Her childhood story played out against the backdrop of constant social change which defined the 1960s and forever altered the landscape for future generations. With political tensions of the time raging during the Vietnam War, there was a personal war within Mary’s own family dominating her life. Her future held little hope for a precious girl who lived through more traumas before her adult years than most live in a lifetime.

As she cleaved to the Godly faith that her grandparents instilled in her at an early age, she still found the courage to persevere through her young adulthood seeking the peace and serenity they had shown her, though it continued to be an elusive ambition.

As you get to know Mary in the pages of this moving story of hope and forgiveness, you will be overcome by the power of a grandparent’s love for their granddaughter, a child’s quiet understanding of God’s path for her, and the way in which Mary turned a life of peril into a life of promise. This book will leave you with the undeniable power of faith, hope, and love.

Mary began writing her memoirs in 2008 and continues to share her inspiring outlook with her writers group and fans through her blog. Her award-winning essays have appeared in La Respuesta, The Latino Author, and Sofrito for Your Soul.

Welcome, Mary Ann!

Please describe what ‘Running in Heels: A Memoir of Grit and Grace’ is about.

Running in Heels depicts a Puerto Rican girl’s refusal to be defined by her environment while seeking love and security with her divorced mom in a dilapidated home. She becomes a teenage bride to a ruthless man twice her age. She has her first child at sixteen and her fourth at twenty-two. Can she overcome the shackles of poverty, alcoholism, racism, violence, and abandonment to establish a better life for her and her children?

Running in Heels Best Seller

Mary, how did you come up with the title?

I often thought how I ran around as a little girl, forced into adult shoes, shoes too big for my feet. Even in my adulthood, I couldn’t run fast enough while stumbling along the struggles in life. 

What inspired you to write this book? 

Initially, I started writing for my children so that they may know their family history and some of the things their momma had to endure. I survived abandonment and domestic abuse. But my current husband pointed out how my story could inspire others; this then became my passion.

What is your favorite part of writing?

The best part about writing is that writing can be therapeutic. It is when I am at my best, along with my thoughts uninterrupted. If needed, I can re-write for clarity at my leisure without the pressure of trying to convey my words plainly from the get-go.

What is the most challenging aspect of writing?

For me at times, the most challenging aspect of writing is to sit down and begin. It takes awhile to warm up before the creative juices flow. Once I’m in the zone, I don’t want to stop. But as life would have it, sometimes the distractions come and you have to stop and walk away. As a memoirist, another challenging part of writing is re-visiting traumatic periods of my life, such as in the final moments of loosing loved ones. I wrote some of those stories through blinding tears. 

Who are some of your favorite authors? 

I’ve always found myself engrossed in Christian Fiction from authors who pull on the heartstrings with conviction. Authors like Jan Karon, Karen Kingsbury, Terri Blackstock, Charles Martin, and Richard Paul Evans. My list continues to grow. And I never tire of Bronte’s Jane Eyre and Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

What authors or person(s) have influenced you?

The first time I discovered another Puerto Rican author who wrote her memoirs, I was ecstatic! Esmeralda Santiago’s coming-of-age memoir When I Was Puerto Rican similar to my story, shares the loss of childhood innocence—even having to gaze upon a baby in a coffin—and as a child is expected to take on adult responsibilities. Naturally, I enjoyed learning more about her Hispanic culture.

I devoured The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls. Her incredible story tells of not only surviving terrible parenting and relentless poverty, but also in finding the grit and grace needed to break the pattern of bad choices and find a happily ever after. I appreciate the honestly of Wall’s narrative, which manages to share the pain and the love that seem impossibly intertwined without diluting either one. 

I have recently discovered Mary DeMuth, author of several books and memoirs. She is a survivor and a wonderful, gifted speaker who loves to help people live uncaged lives. I have her memoir, Thin Places in my collection of books to read. 

Do you have a favorite place to write? 

Sometimes, it’s in the formal living room where there’s lots of natural lighting. But most of the time, it’s at my desk on my computer in my bedroom, closed in.

Tell us something personal about you people may be surprised to know?

I tend to weep while watching a baby being born and hearing that newborn’s first cry. Regardless of whether in real life or in a movie or TV, it doesn’t matter. If I watch or hear the cries of the miracle of birth, I sob. My husband thinks it’s sweet, but I can’t help it.

What surprises or learning experiences did you have during the publishing process?

Learning about the steps necessary with printing and in eBook formatting, the ISBN and Copyright registration, and then the Copyediting and Proofreading requirements. Writing a book is just a small portion of the work involved. You have to basically become a business person and learn how to promote yourself and market your book. You have to know your brand and know your audience. You never stop learning.

Looking back, what did you do right that helped you with this book?

After writing solo a few years, a friend suggested that I join a writers group. After visiting a couple of them, I found my place in a group and stuck with them for a couple of years. They were seasoned writers and published authors. Their critiques were invaluable to me. I also surrounded myself with friends and colleagues who believed in my work, and even helped to support me financially. A year before my memoir was published, I worked on my writer’s platform and gained followers by starting a blog. Encouragement goes a long way!

Any advice or tips for writers looking to get published?

Don’t expect your novel to sell itself. Do your homework. Learn about pitches, book proposals, having a writer’s platform, and getting your work professionally edited. Before you seek representation, don’t submit anything until your work is clean! Remember by page five it will be known if you are an actual writer or not. You need to grab the reader by then.

Website?

My website is  www.maryaperez.com  which will take you straight to my blog. I can also be found at:

Twitter.com/MarysReflection

Facebook.com/WriterMaryAPerez

Pinterest.com/yellowrose4ever

Goodreads.com/user/show/16540249-mary-a-perez        

Where can we find your book? At your favorite online store:

Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Running-Heels-Memoir-Grit-Grace/dp/1631250280/

Association of Authors  http://books.txauthors.com/product-p/maprh.htm

Barnes & Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/running-in-heels-mary-a-perez/1121713380 

What are you working on now, Mary?

I just completed training in becoming a certified sexual assault advocate. The more stories I hear of survival regarding women who took courage and broke free from their abusers, the more I believe their voices need to be heard! I shall be working in gathering a compilation of stories from women of all walks of life who have overcome domestic abuse and hardships.

Wonderful. That will be an important and rewarding project. Thanks for chatting with us, Mary. I wish you continued success with your writing.

ABOUT ELEANOR PARKER SAPIA

ellie

Puerto Rican-born novelist, Eleanor Parker Sapia, was raised in the United States, Puerto Rico, and Europe. Eleanor’s careers as an artist, counselor, alternative health practitioner, Spanish language social worker and a refugee case worker inspire her stories. She is a member of Las Comadres Para Las Americas, PEN America, and the Historical Novel Society. When Eleanor is not writing, she facilitates creativity groups, reads, and tells herself she is making plans to walk El Camino de Santiago de Compostela a second time.

A Decent Woman is Eleanor’s debut novel, set in turn of the nineteenth century Puerto Rico. The book was selected as 2015 July Book of the Month for Las Comadres & Friends Latino Book Club. Eleanor is the mother of two adult children and currently lives in West Virginia, where she is writing her second novel, The Island of Goats.

A Decent Woman is available for Kindle and in paperback on Amazon.

amazon.com/-/e/B00U05ZO9M

Barnes & Noble for Nook and in paperback.

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-decent-woman-eleanor-parker-sapia/1121258236?ean=9781620154007

La Casa Azul Bookstore    143 E. 103rd Street, New York, NY 10029         info.lacasaazul@gmail.com

http://www.eleanorparkersapia.com

@eleanorparkerwv

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