Though haunted by memories of his father's arrest in Pinochet's Chile, Daniel Aguilar has made a new life for himself in the United States--far from politics. But when his father is released, Daniel sees what years of prison and torture have done. Trying to reach his father, Daniel, along with his "gringa" girlfriend, finds himself in the democracy struggle of the country he thought he left behind.
Curbstone Press 2009
To celebrate Halloween, here is my first author interview and a giveaway!
Interview with Lyn Miller-Lachmann
1. If you ever listened to music while writing--or if you already do--what type would it be? Examples!
Oh, I definitely listen to music. In general, I listen to the music my characters would listen to. For Gringolandia, that includes Bob Marley, Bruce Springsteen, U2, and Sting for my protagonist, Daniel, and his girlfriend, Courtney. When Daniel's father is a heavy presence in the scene, and for the scenes that take place in Chile, I listen to a lot of the protest music from Latin America that was popular during the time-recordings by Victor Jara (who was killed by the military in the first days after the 1973 coup in Chile), Inti-Illimani, Angel and Isabel Parra, and the musicians who helped me research the novel, Schwenke & Nilo.
For my novel-in-progress, the characters share an interest in Metallica, so I've been listening to a lot of Metallica. The young woman who's the principal narrator of my adult novel, Dirt Cheap, is a huge Dave Matthews Band fan. I have broad tastes, so I can pretty much accommodate the musical interests of all my characters.
2. If you ever wrote another book, what would you title it and why?
I'm working on another teen novel right now, which has the title “The Minus World.” It's a companion to Gringolandia-the protagonist is Daniel's younger sister, Tina, three years later. In 1989 Tina travels to Chile to visit her family living there and falls in love with a dangerous boy. The title refers to a secret level of Super Mario World, a video game Tina and her new boyfriend play (while listening to Metallica), but it also refers to Chile's location in the Southern Hemisphere if you plot it on a graph, as well as the constant sense of menace in a divided country going through major political changes.
3. Did you have any specific writing process when you wrote "Gringolandia"?
I usually worked on the novel after dark, once I finished my regular job, and I wrote until one or two in the morning. I also did a lot of writing on weekends, when I could finish a chapter a day. Sometimes when the writing was going well or I was obsessed with a really intense section, I'd cut out of work for days at a time. Fortunately, I'm in New York and my boss is in Florida, so I could get away with it, as long as my work got done in the end.
4. As Editor-in-Chief for Multicultural Review, do you take your work home? As in, does most of your inspiration for your books come from the workplace? If so, how so?
I work at home so I'm always taking my work home. My inspiration doesn't come from work, but from my experiences over the years. In the case of Gringolandia, it came from teaching English to refugees from Central and South America in the 1980s and organizing concerts of Latin American music through an organization made up mainly of exiles from Chile who missed the music of their country. In the case of Dirt Cheap, it came from living in a suburb that I hated and where I didn't fit in. I used to say that the only thing worse would be if the suburb were built on a toxic waste dump, so I ended up writing a novel set in an upscale and rather unpleasant suburb built on a toxic waste dump. By the way, I moved about six months before the novel came out, and I really like the new place.
5. Do you have a preference when writing for teens or adults?
Not really. It depends on the story and the characters. All of my fiction has prominent teenage characters, even Dirt Cheap, but whether the teens are main characters or secondary characters determines if the book will be considered young adult or adult. I used to teach high school history and English in the New York City Public Schools, and I still teach seventh graders part-time in a religious school program. I like being around young people and listening to their stories. And in the program where I teach now, we write plays as a group. Some of them have been very good, and one of them is now under consideration for publication in an anthology.
Lyn Miller-Lachmann is the Editor-in-Chief of MultiCultural Review, the author of the award-winning reference book Our Family, Our Friends, Our World: An Annotated Guide to Significant Multicultural Books for Children and Teenagers (1992), the editor of Once Upon a Cuento (2003), a collection of short stories for young readers by Latino authors, and the author of the novel Dirt Cheap (2006), an eco-thriller for adult readers. For Gringolandia, she received a Work-in-Progress Grant from the Society of Childrens Book Writers and Illustrators.
Now the part you've all been waiting for, Giveaway Time!
On all the blogs that have joined this book tour there will be a giveaway and winner for a signed copy of Gringolandia everyday of the tour!
Leave a comment with your email addy! (You may me email at chicareaderATgmail.com if you do not feel comfortable leaving a comment :-)
+4 for asking Lyn a question
+2 for being/becoming a follower
+1 link on your sidebar or twitter (please leave a link)
Contest ends today at 12:00 PM EST
I will email the winner and send their addy to Jo Ann who will send it to the author who will mail the prize autograph book to you!
Lyn will be answering any question/comments that are left for her only today. So get you chance at fame and talk directly to the author of this inspirational novel.
The upcoming stops (and one that did a fantastic job already for the tour):
Oct 29 Kelsey The Book Scout http://thebookscout.blogspot.com/
Oct 30 Lilibeth ChicaReader http://lilibethramos.blogspot.com/
Nov 1 Reggie The Undercover Book Lover (Not Really) book http://theundercoverbooklover.blogspot.com/
Nov 4 Erica The Book Cellar http://thebookcellarx.blogspot.com/
Nov 5 Erica The Book Cellar http://thebookcellarx.blogspot.com/
Nov 6 Sarah Sarah’s Random Musings http://sarahbear9789.blogspot.com/
Nov 9 Faye Ramblings of a Teenage Bookworm http://fayeflamereviews.blogspot.com/
Nov 10 Melaine Melaine’s Musings http://melanies–musings.blogspot.com/
Nov 11 Hope Hope’s Book Shelf http://www.princess2293.blogspot.com/
Oh, and I must mention the fantabulous Jo Ann Hernandez who has been nothing but helpful when it came to the bloggers hosting the book tour! She is awesome, check out her blogsite: http://authorslatino.com/wordpress
Jo Ann Hernandez at BronzeWord Latino Authors organizes YA Book Tours for authors. If you are interested in having a tour or being a blog host contact her at BronzeWord1 AT yahoo com
Side-note: Happy Halloween!