The Tucson Festival of Books 2011, which took place at the University of Arizona, was a hit (we heard.) We're so glad that Latina author, Sandra Lopez, was kind enough to share some pictures from that fabulous weekend!
Everyone in the world, it seems, is either prettier or thinner (or both) than Beauty Marie Zavala. And the only thing "B" resents more than her name is the way others judge her for the extra 40 pounds she can't lose. At least she has her career. Or did, until she overhears her boss criticizing her weight and devising a scheme to keep her from being promoted. Enter B's new tax accountant, a modern-day matchmaker determined to boost B's flagging self-esteem by introducing her to rich, successful men who will accept her for who she is. As B's confidence blossoms, so do her fantasies of revenge. But will B find true happiness or true disaster when she unwittingly falls for the one guy she shouldn't?
Reviewed by: Sandra Lopez, author of Esperanza Rating:
Review:"B" is someone we can all relate to. She is all of the above and more--a woman who is not happy in her own skin; a woman whose body is not accepted by "skinny" society; a woman who is the "Mexican Burro" at her job (the only one who does any real work;) and, finally, like many of us, she is a woman desperately trying to climb up the corporate ladder for a better salary, a better lifestyle, a better everything.
I liked "B." She was a funny, sassy broad that told it like it was. You can't help but feel bad for her at the way she gets treated because of her weight. No dates, no promotion, no reason to even be seen in the world. But then, suddenly, being a "comfort provider" for a select clientele awakens a new-found confidence in "B" that makes her see herself for the very first time. As the story progresses, we get to experience the kinds of clients she meets. Most of them were just plain weird; some were even kind of nasty. Reading this book made it feel like I was reading the diary of a "fat chick"--where I learned all about her hopes, fears, and insecurities about her self-image.
By the end, I felt that "B" learned a great lesson we should all incorporate: "Change the things you can't accept; and accept the things you can't change."
Overall, I enjoyed the laid-back writing style that you easily fall into. It was simple and straight-forward, although sometimes the writer tended to go off tangent in the story by explaining useless things like the Greek philosophy from high school. As I was reading this book, I couldn't help but feel impressed that a man could write "chick lit" with such precision and accuracy. Usually, men don't understand women. But Alberto Ferreras could. Way to go, man!
As promised, here is our interview with Latina author, "The Crafty Chica," Kathy Cano-Murrillo. (So sorry for the delay, you guys.)
Q: How does your Latina culture influence your work (writing and art?)
A: It influences everything I do! I’m third generation Mexican-American and have grown up with all the traditions as daily life. I love my culture, I love the history, the beauty, the music, the customs and the pop culture! We are a very diverse people. I grew up in a middle class family and was blessed to have two wonderful l parents, a happy home and good schools. I was able to travel across the world right after high school and learn about other cultures as well. Now when I write my books and make my art, I like my work to reflect that. I want to show “all-American chicas,” who are college educated and making the most of their opportunities, as they have a foot in both worlds. It’s also important to me to represent Latinas in the creative arts industry. Through my web site, I’ve met scores of creative Latinas, who not only work and raise their families, but also find time for themselves to make art and express themselves. It makes them happier and stronger role models.
Q: Please describe your art/writing process.
A: For my books, I always start with a blank art journal. The good kind with heavy art paper sheets. I brainstorm my ideas using colored markers and doodles. I’m a very visual person! Once I get all of that down, I type up a one paragraph summary of what I want the book to be about. I type up character profiles, which I don’t think hard about. I let them flow as I type and that’s how they come to life! Next, I think of their names and then write a paragraph on their story arc. I then piece it all together in one big outline. And then I start writing! I end up varying from the outline, but it still serves as a basic road map.
As far as my art, I go with what kind of mood I’m in. I have an art journal, where I write and draw the ideas that come to me. When I feel like making something new, I’ll open the journal and find an idea that fits my mood. I’ll paint like crazy for a week, and then I’ll switch to sewing. I’m a very project-oriented person. I absolutely MUST finish what I start. I can’t sleep if I leave something unfinished! Even though I can get obsessive about it, it helps me bring an idea to fruition.
Today, we feature the newest novel by Kathy Cano-Murillo entitled Miss Scarlet's School of Patternless Sewing.
We did have a Q&A all set up for this post, but, unfortunately, our old email account was recently suspended and we, therefore, cannot access any stored information, including the one from Ms. Murillo's publicist, who organized this entire tour.
With all this said, we would like to send our sincere apologies to the author and her publicist.
Below is our posting for the day.
About the book: Scarlet doesn't do things like other people. Unfortunately, this leads to some misunderstandings, like when her manager at the fabric store mistakes her measuring methods for assault. But while she may not be as wealthy as her siblings, or as respected as her grandmothers-strict seamstresses whose criticism left Scarlet permanently pattern-phobic-she will be soon. She's been offered a position with Johnny "Scissors" Tijeras, the hottest young designer in New York. To raise money for her move, Scarlet opens an after-hours sewing school in a local record shop, attracting a surprising mix of students. Future freeform garment makers include a high-strung office manager whose marriage counselor thinks she needs to learn to break some rules, and an elderly seamstress with a secret past. But as friendships grow, the lines between teacher and student blur, proving there is no single pattern for happiness-it is always a custom fit.