May 21, 2020
I suppose it calls as much for worldwide intrusion as it does cooperation, but surely with the best of intentions. UNESCO adopted the Universal Declaration of Cultural Diversity in 2001. The following year, the United Nations General Assembly declared May 21 to be World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development. According to the United Nations website, the day advances the four goals of the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions adopted on October 20, 2005:
For more information, visit the United Nations website: https://www.un.org/en/observances/cultural-diversity-day
Right. This isn't my romance blog. But the author's books aren't strictly romantic. Today, I’m pleased to interview author Sandra Lopez, voted one of the Top Ten Latino Authors to Watch. Her first two books, Esperanza, A Latina Story and Beyond the Gardens follow the young life of Esperanza Ignacio, a girl from the barrios. Esperanza was voted as an inspirational favorite by teen readers. Beyond the Gardens is a romance, which I, of course, read. I liked the main character so much that I’m now reading Esperanza. They’re wonderful, down-to-earth stories, full of grit and hope. See my review of Beyond the Gardens here. Her latest book, Single Chicas, is very different from the other two. I’ll leave it to Sandra to tell us more about it.
Welcome, Sandra. Thanks so much for joining us. Please, tell us about your books. Hi.
Hi. Thank you for inviting me. Esperanza: A Latina Story follows the story of a 14-year old Mexican-American girl trying to get out of the barrio and make something of her life. It’s full of humor and refreshing dialogue. Shortly after that, I wrote the sequel entitled Beyond the Gardens, published in October 2009 and has recently undergone a cover re-design. In the second book, the lead heroine gains new confidence and strength as she learns the hard way that “you can take the girl out of the barrio, but you can’t take the barrio out of the girl.” My most recent and bestselling book is Single Chicas, a collection of humorous short stories about zany chicas.
That sounds fun! Are the short stories romances? Do you have a specific purpose/mission/agenda for your stories?
Single Chicas is all about enjoying the single life! It’s about loving and accepting who you are without the pressure of finding that “special someone” to tie yourself down to forever. The purpose for my stories is that readers get an enjoyment from them, that they see themselves in them and maybe learn a little something from them.
Like you, Esperanza is an artist. Without giving too much away, how much do you have in common with your heroine?
Although her story is fictional, Esperanza’s character and family were inspired by me and my real-life situations. Like Esperanza, I was intellectually gifted and had developed a love for reading at a young age. However, also like her, I came from a single-family household (one mom) and grew up in a poor barrio neighborhood.
Do you consider yourself first and foremost a writer or an artist? Or are you equally passionate about both?
I am a reader, writer, and an artist, and I am equally passionate about all that I am.
Do you listen to music when you create? Do you have separate spaces for writing and visual art?
I find music to be way too much fun, especially when listening to one of my favorites, so that wouldn’t be too productive in the whole writing thing. I share the same space (my room) for my writing and art.
Before we close, I absolutely must mention your book review blog, Sandra’s Book Club. It’s fantastic! Will you tell us more about it? What made you decide to do it?
Like every published author, I was emailing book bloggers, asking them to please review my book. But, like querying to a publisher, most of them were unresponsive and some weren’t interested. And, of course, I used paid services that would list my book in their newsletters, reaching potential readers that may or may not review my book. That worked out okay. But let’s face it: getting reviews is tough. It’s hard when your book isn’t well publicized and no one is willing to give it chance. That’s what started my book blog. Initially, it started as just a blog for my own personal reviews on books that read. At that point, I started taking requests from authors and publishers. My own personal review would be free, but, of course, like every other blogger, I only chose the ones that I wanted. Yes, my readings tastes are pretty open in a wide variety of genres, but there are some that just don’t really interest me (i.e. westerns, political, sports, etc.) So that’s when I came up with the idea of starting a review program to supply authors with more reviews besides the one that I give them. It’s a simple, easy, and convenient program. For 3 months, a book can reach a growing list of reviewers that actively post on Amazon and/or Goodreads. And it’s working! And here’s the best thing: While most review services charge to list your book in their program, I offer a free option for those with limited budgets. About 85% of participating authors have received at least 1 – 2 reviews on Amazon. Many authors have participated so far, and more and more readers are signing up almost daily. For more info, check it out at: http://sandrasbookclub.blogspot.com/
One last question -- is there another book in the works?
Of course! I am currently working on the next installment of the Single Chicas series called Holiday Chicas. Release date coming soon!
That title makes me smile. I wish you all the best with your zany chicas and in all your endeavors. Sandra, thank you for sharing your time with us.
Every person, every culture is, of course, unique. Isn't that a relief? If we were all the same, a uni-culture -- what fun would that be? But we also need to remember that we have things in common -- important, fundamental, elemental things. We all have hopes and dreams. Souls. We share humanity. We share this world.
Surely, the past, present, and future connect in this miraculous state we call life. In this light, history and all human experience are ever-present.
Wouldn't it be nice, then, if we could enjoy each other, if we could appreciate and celebrate our differences?
Let us love! Let us have fun. Let us toast each other and wish each other well. Now,
in our awareness, is the time to be happy, to live to our purest, highest standards.
We're all in this together.