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Eight Questions With Author Christina Gonzalez

July 18, 2011

Christina Gonzalez’s debut novel The Red Umbrella was embraced by booksellers, educators and readers everywhere when it was released in hardcover in May of last year.  It was also one of our group’s ‘rep pick’ books, and as we’ve been selling the long awaited paperback edition to accounts over the last few months we’ve been reminded of how much we love this very special book.  Today we ask Christina all about her writing process and what we can expect next from her!

Q. How does your background in law influence your writing?

As an attorney I was always very aware of the precise meanings of words and how to use them carefully.  Being an author, I have more freedom in expressing myself, but I’m always aware of my word choice.

Q. What kind of research did you do in order to write The Red Umbrella? 

My first line of research was speaking to my family since my parents, aunts, uncles and mother-in-law were all part of Operation Pedro Pan.  I had heard their stories many times before, but now I was listening with a new interest.  I also spoke to other people in the community who had been a part of Operation Pedro Pan to get different perspectives.  After listening to many first-hand accounts, I went on to read a few non-fiction books written on the topic and then I read the newspapers of the time (both American newspapers and Cuban newspapers) to see how the events were being portrayed and explained in the media.

Q. Where is your favorite place to write? 

Depending on the book and my mood, I usually write in one of a couple of places.  You might find me at Starbucks, a corner table of my local indie bookstore (Books & Books) or, if it’s summer, somewhere under a beach umbrella.

Q. When you write, do you prefer to use a pen/paper, typewriter, computer, tablet, etc?

I am definitely a laptop computer girl!

Q. Any favorite fan moments? 

One of my favorite moments was when my high school English teacher (which I hadn’t seen in over 20 years) showed up at one of my signings and said he’d give my book an A+. 

Q. What was your family’s reaction to The Red Umbrella?

They were thrilled!  My family has been incredibly supportive of my dream of being an author and the fact that my debut novel chronicles a piece of our own family history was the icing on the cake.

Q. Did you read books as a child that reflected your heritage?  Any favorites- past or present?

I can’t remember reading books as a child that reflected my heritage, but I do remember loving stories that transported me to far-off lands.  Some of my favorites were A Wrinkle in Time, Island of the Blue Dolphins and all the Nancy Drew mysteries.

Q. What are you working on now? 

I just finished A THUNDEROUS WHISPER which is scheduled to be published in the Fall 2012.  The novel takes place a few weeks before Hitler’s destruction of the city of Guernica and it is the story of Ani, a Basque girl living in Spain, who considers herself to be insignificant until a friendship with a half German/Jewish boy shows her the value we each possess.  I’m also starting to work on a new book, but I’m keeping this one a secret for now.

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