Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Women Writers of Color: Jennifer Cervantes


Full name: Jennifer Cervantes


Birth date: 12/30


Location: San Diego, Ca.


Website/blog:
www.jennifercervantes.com



Genre:
Middle-Grade Fiction


WiP or most recently published work:
TORTILLA SUN


How frequently do you update your site?
It all depends on events, press, reviews. Some months are busier than others. But I'd say at least once every couple of months.


Is your site designed for reader interaction?
Only via email and I always answer back :) Also, my facebook page is definitely interactive and I invite readers to friend me and fan the Tortilla Sun fan page.


Post of note, something in particular you want readers to check out:
check out my tortilla making video on my website. Nothing like 'em. :)

Top 5 reads you’re looking forward to reading in 2010?

1. THE DREAMER

2. ESCAPING THE TIGER

3. THE HEALING SPELL

4. MOCKINGJAY

5. BLEEDING VIOLET


100 words or less how would you describe your work?

My writing is centered on heart. I try to create authentic characters with depth and complexities that kids can relate to. Ultimately, I want to engage readers with my writing in a real and meaningful way whether you are 8 or 98.


In Tortilla Sun, you feature elements of magic. Why did you decide to add magical realism to the novel instead of simply making it realistic fiction?
There is so much mysticism and beauty in the Hispanic culture and in order to authentically highlight the characters, setting, and plot of tortilla sun, I knew I wanted to draw on the elements of magical realism to make the story come to life.


Does your Latina heritage have a big influence on your work? If so, how?
Absolutely. The Hispanic experience is broad and diverse and for me, my own experiences of growing up with one foot in one culture and one foot in the other influences my characters and even their need for belonging. I often draw on my own memories, like eating homemade tortillas in my grandmother's kitchen. Also, my love for my culture whether it's the food, religion, holidays, or traditions is something I want to share with others.


100 words or less please share your thoughts on children and reading:

Children's reading literacy is something I hold close to my heart. I was an avid reader as a child; reading enriched my life in so many ways. It carried me to other worlds where my imagination soared. One of my goals as an author is to contribute what I can to not only improve literacy but to get kids excited about reading, even if it's in one child's life. For this reason, I am participating in reading rock stars (an arm of the Texas Book Festival) and working on other local efforts to ensure that children have the opportunity to let their imaginations soar.


Thank you so much for this interview Jennifer! I highly recommend Tortilla Sun, but be warned: you need to have tortillas and other Mexican food items near you :) The characters are authentic, the magic adds a nice spin and the author's pride in her heritage shines through.
Color Online review of Tortilla Sun

10 comments:

Kristi Bernard said...

I love that book. It should be required reading.

Doret said...

I really enjoyed Tortilla Sun.

It's nice to have a new Latina voice in children's literature. Because there are not enough.

Charlotte said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Charlotte said...

A copy of this is on its way to me even as I type...

I am very curious about the magical realism part of the story--whether it will be enough to push it over into my own catagorization of "fantasy." There seems to be a growing number of books these days that live in the boarderlands between the real and the fantastic....and when you have to catagorize them, for awards nominations, or for round-up purposes, it gets tricky ...

Doret said...

Charlotte - I think you'll like it. And your right about catagorization.

I think Tortilla Sun is similiar to Jewell Parker Rhodes' "Ninth Ward", both are magical but not fantasy.

jencervantes said...

Thank you, Ari to you and your readers. I really enjoyed the interview and appreciate being highlighted. :)

Jen

Lynn said...

I love "My writing is centered on heart."That tells me it's probably authentic and strong. WTG!

I'm so glad I found this site.

Lynn
www.writeradvice.com
Author of You Want Me to Do WHAT? Journaling for Caregivers

MissAttitude said...

@Jen-Thank you for the interview! I hope it inspires more readers to look for Tortilla Sun :)

@Lynn-I hope that all writers take that bit of advice and write centered on the heart.

Welcome!

lauramanivong said...

My 9-year-old daughter absolutely flipped out over TORTILLA SUN. She reads 2-3 novels a week, and she cradled this book like a treasure. I am not kidding...never seen her do it before or since. There's something magical on those pages!

lauramanivong said...

My 9-year-old daughter absolutely flipped out over TORTILLA SUN. She reads 2-3 novels a week, and she cradled this book like a treasure. I am not kidding...never seen her do it before or since. There's something magical on those pages!