Friday, July 25, 2014

Guest Author: Désirée Zamorano

Désirée Zamorano has been a guest author here before. Her new novel is just out, and it may be something you haven't read before. Here's Des:

 Bringing The Amado Women to Life

When I cast about to commit at least two years of my life to my next uncertain project, there were a few of things I was sure about. I wanted to explore the lives of women, because our lives are multifaceted and filled with conflicting demands. I wanted to write about the women I knew, admired and loved: loyal, intelligent, funny. Married or single, mothers or not, loving and spiteful, petty and generous. Women as human beings in all our complexity.

The Pasadena/LA setting was automatic. Southern California is filled with ethnic and income diversity, conflict, beautiful settings and fascinating characters. Some of us hide behind gated communities, some of us go exploring. It happens to be where I live and what I enjoy knowing.

I also knew the complexion of my cast.

That’s where things get dicey, because as I looked around to pitch my completed novel, to potential agents, to potential publishers, there were plenty of marvelous family dramas by women, by gifted authors like Elizabeth Berg, Jodi Picoult, Ann Patchett or Ann Tyler, but none by Latinas, and none featuring a cast of aspirational or middle-class Mexican-Americans. I had done what Karen Joy Fowler had done with The Jane Austen Book Club, which was written a novel the author wanted to read. But would I be its only audience?

With each rejection I got more nervous. Even though Mexican Americans are California’s largest demographic, and the fastest growing across the nation, even though many of us have been here since before statehood, the lock on our portrayals in the media is fierce and limiting. I’ve seen so many hot mamacitas and inarticulate maids that when one shows up I change the channel or shut the book. The Amado Women could not be squeezed into either of these depictions.

I held my breath, crossed my fingers and made a phone call pitch to Cinco Puntos Press in El Paso. They wanted to see it. They ultimately published it. Hallelujah!

Now, many years since its inception, The Amado Women is out in public for total strangers to read. Like all authors, I’ve had my share of glowing reviews and not so glowing. What I did not anticipate was how many men would be moved by this novel. One of them wrote to me and said, “You’re the only person I’m going to tell, but I wanted to let you know that I burst into tears.” Never would this writer’s imagination have expected that. You see, I, too, have some preconceptions of who people are.

You can meet Désirée at one of her upcoming events

Wednesday, July 30 • 7 pm
Launch Party
Vroman’s Bookstore

Pasadena, CA

​Sunday, August 10 • 2pm
The Bluebird Reading Series​​
Avenue 50 Studio
131 N. Avenue 50
Highland Park, CA

Thursday, August 14 • 7 pm
Books Inc Opera Plaza
San Francisco, CA

Or find out more about her here. You can also follow here on Twitter @LaDeziree 

To read my review of The Amado Women, click on the cover icon to the right of this post.


Pasadena Adjacent said...

I'm ready for a good novel - and this one sounds like it's right up my alley.

Petrea Burchard said...

PA, it will keep you awake and interested, I promise.

William Kendall said...

Congratulations, Desiree!

John Sandel said...

Another success from an author who would craft her own destiny in letters. I hope the Vroman's event is a smash!

Linda Dove said...

Brava!! Such a great thing to see this out in the world. Can't wait for your reading.

Petrea Burchard said...

Indeed, William!

JS, I like that phrase, "craft her own destiny in letters." Speaking of craft.

I'll see you there, Linda.

Margaret said...

I love her! She also has a fun PI series that is really fast paced and fun. Looking forward to reading this.

Janet said...

I'm almost finished it. Great characters and story.

Desiree said...

Thanks all for the kind words--and thank you Petrea for letting me amble by here. :)

Petrea Burchard said...

It's my pleasure, Désirée.

José Mendonça said...

Excellent cover!

Petrea Burchard said...

I agree! So many authors are disappointed at the covers their publishers provide. Desiree's cover is the exception.

Patrizzi Intergarlictica said...

Lots of love here. Deseree is super smart. I'm looking forward to a better, deeper, fuller understanding on same particular complexion. Sharing similar heritage by degrees and not knowing whether Latina fits or what it is, I'm often baffled by labels or designations. I rebel against being figured out yet long to belong somewhere, sometimes.

I think it's great that Deseree's book is getting this hometown grassroots buzz. Admiration points, Petrea!

Petrea Burchard said...

Well put, Patrizzi. I fine the labels baffling too.