Monday, August 29, 2011

Winner of "The Bolero of Andi Rowe"

The winner of The Bolero of Andi Rowe by Toni Plummer is......

Sandra L.


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Interview with Toni Plummer


Today we have author Toni Plummer talking about her book, The Bolero of Andi Rowe.

Toni Margarita Plummer is the author of The Bolero of Andi Rowe and a winner of the Miguel Mármol Prize for a first work of fiction by a Latino author. She attended the University of Notre Dame and the Master of Professional Writing Program at the University of Southern California. She is a fellow of the Macondo Foundation. An editor at a New York publishing house, Toni lives in Brooklyn.

Q: Can you please tell us a little bit about the kinds of books you write and how your culture affects your craft?

A: My first book is a collection of short stories, The Bolero of Andi Rowe. And it is a recurring character and I modeled her cultural background after my own: her mother is from Mexico and her father is Irish-American. I really wanted to explore the idea of conflicting identities in these stories. For example, Andi's sister, Maura, doesn't look Latina, and yet she is. So how does she relate to other Latinos and how does she fit in? Also, I write a story about a border patrol agent. He's different from the other agents he works with in that his own mother crossed the border illegally before he was born. At the same time, he's black, so the Mexicans crossing don't identify with him until he speaks to them in Spanish. A lot of my characters are Latino but they're also distinctly American, and that's how I see myself.

Q: Please describe the Latina heroine(s) in your book.

A: We see some very different Latina heroines. Olivia Real was born in Mexico City. She lost her parents at a young age and was raised by her grandmother in a very traditional and strict household. She started working early and got married young, to her first boyfriend. Her daughters, Andi and Maura, have a very different life. They are in college, free to study their interests because their mother supports their education. They didn't grow up speaking Spanish.

Dulce Moreno is a teacher at the Catholic elementary school Andi and Maura attended. She's 35 and single and has always lived with her mother, except when she was in college. She's very close to her mother, so when she passes, Dulce is at a loss as to what to do with her life.
And then we have Teresa, a teenager grappling with her sexual orientation and faith.

Q: Who is your intended audience, if any?

A: I hope the book will appeal to people wanting to read about Latino characters or about life in Southern California. In their review, Booklist said the stories "speak universally" and that was certainly a goal of mine. These stories deal with the search for home, first love, the death of loved ones--those are all things that everyone can relate to.

Q: How do you feel your books influence Latinas?

A: I don't know that the book will influence anyone exactly. I hope that Latinas will relate to the characters and the situations, and that in these stories they'll also find a unique take on the Latino experience.

Q: What does being Latina mean to you?

A: Being Latina is a part of my heritage and I value it very much. There is so much beauty in the Mexican culture, and in the wider Latin American culture. On an everyday level, there's the language, the music, the food, the particular religious devotions. These are all things and rituals which help us to embrace being Latina. At the same time, it's hard for me to articulate exactly what it means to me. I think I write to understand the answer. It's very important to me as a writer to explore this question--it's something I want to share with a wider American and international audience.

Q: What do you think the future holds for today’s Latina ?

A: I think it holds anything and everything. Latinas have achieved much, in literature, the arts, name it. There's still a lot to accomplish. As long as we continue to pursue education, Latinas are going to continue to push the boundaries and to excel in a number of fields.

Q: What are some of your favorite Latina authors and why?

A: I love Sandra Cisneros, Lorraine López, Julia Alvarez, María Amparo Escandón, Cristina García, and Dahlma Llanos-Figueroa, just to name a few. Each of these authors is wonderful with language and they write characters that I care about. They each capture the beauty, sadness, and humor of life, in their own distinct ways.

Q: Do you have a website or a blog? If so, please list the URL:

A: I don't have a website, but I'm on Twitter: @tmargaritaplum
This is the publisher's site:

As an added bonus, the author would like to give away one copy of her book to a commenter.

For a chance to win, just post a comment or question to this blog post. A winner will be selected and announced on Aug 29, 2011.

Please be sure to include your email address so we can contact you for your shipping information.

Good luck!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Free Read: The Maid's Daughter

Hello, readers!

We would like to thank everyone for their patience while we worked out the kinks in our network.

To show our appreciation, here is a free read!

The Maid's Daughter by Mary Romero - A book about growing up Latina in America.

Library Journal calls the book, “A valuable case study and a dramatic life story, this oral history explores identity and illuminates race, class, and gender in America at a peculiarly intimate intersection between upper-middle-class white families and the women of color who provide domestic labor for them.”

The afterword is now available on

Here’s the web address:

Feel free to check it out and pass it along!