As I said in my last post, I met Marisel Vera at the Printers Row Literary Festival this year, where we connected briefly over her debut novel. The book is available. I’m very thankful to put her before you on my blog and suggest that you go and get If I Bring You Roses.
In today’s post Marisel tells us a bit about who she’d like to pick the novel up along with some insights into her background and how she came to writing. Below I mention how you can see her this weekend…
It’s true that I’ve had a few friends and relatives look at me a little differently after reading If I Bring You Roses but, so far, everyone is cool even my born-again Christian relatives. A few weeks ago, I wrote about being nervous of the novel’s publication in a blog post for www.shewrites.com which I titled Taking My Clothes Off in Public. Mostly likely, the majority of my relatives won’t read my novel and if they do and make a comment, I’ll just shrug my shoulders and say, “It’s literature.”
I would love for If I Bring You Roses to be taught in Eng. Lit classes in Chicago public high schools especially Roberto Clemente High School, my alma mater. That would make me SO happy. Perhaps some of your readers are teachers and could choose it. (Hint.) It thrills me to say that it will be taught in a Latino Studies class at Vanderbilt University next Spring. This October, If I Bring You Roses will be taught in four classes at the College of Lake County in Grayslake,IL. I plan to go in one day and answer questions from students. I’d love to go to Clemente or other inner-city schools and talk to students too.
I believe that one of the reasons that it took me so long to pursue my dream of writing a novel is that although I read voraciously since I was eight years old, I never read a book written by a Latina or Latino writer other than Down These Mean Streets so it never occurred to me to think of it as a possibility. All the books I read on my own or were assigned in my classes were written by Anglo writers. Any one who is the child of immigrants knows that while your parents might encourage education, they want you to get educated so that you can get a traditional job like a teacher or doctor or nurse. No one ever said to me, Marisel, you have talent. I think you could be a writer. I think it makes a big difference in the life of a kid from the ghetto or inner-city, for an adult to say, Marisel, you can do it!
And I want you to know that you can meet Marisel. She will be meeting friends and readers, signing books if you have them on August 28, 2011 at 8 pm at The Nervous Breakdown Reading Series co-sponsored by Sunday Salon Chicago. The location is Katerina’s, 1929 W. Irving Park Rd., Chicago, IL.