Welcome to the book tour for Song of the Boricua by Olivia Castillo. In today’s interview, Olivia tells us about her love for Puerto Rico and why she chose to write this particular book. Can you think of other questions you would like her to answer? Please leave them and any other thoughts you have in the comments. Enjoy an excerpt from the book before you download your own copy. Be sure to follow the rest of the tour for more insights into Olivia and her book, as well as more opportunities to enter the giveaway.
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1. What was the inspiration behind this book?
I wanted to write a different perspective of Puerto Rico to leave to my children.
2. What kind of research did you have to do for it?
I read books about Puerto Rico. One was, War Against All Puerto Ricans, by Nelson Denis. I read many historical sites, researched the music of the time and Latin music. I also watched videos of Puerto Rico and talked to relatives.
3. Which character was your favorite to write?
One of my favorites was Valvina who has magical powers.
4. To which character did you relate the most?
I relate to different parts of all of the characters. For example, I relate to Elena’s steadfastness, Josephina’s optimism, Corinna’s common sense, and Isabella’s clairvoyance.
5. What was one of your favorite scenes?
One of my favorite scenes is when Elena meets Ricardo for the first time.
6. Will we see these characters again?
Yes, some of them. I am writing a sequel.
7. Why should we read your book?
I feel it is important, especially at this time, that we have empathy for people from other countries and respect our women.
8. What do you hope people will get out of your book?
I hope they come away from it with a different perspective and understanding as to why Puerto Rico is where it’s at today.
Puerto Rico, an island of contradiction, serves as an enchanting backdrop following three generations of women.
Elena: Resilient and ambitious, but trapped by duty to her children.
Maria: Passionate and headstrong, but married to a man she does not love.
Josephina: Optimistic and romantic, but in love with an alcoholic.
Isabella: Clairvoyant and spiritual, but denies her heritage and roots.
Like the land these women are held hostage, unfulfilled and unable to find their happiness. Each generation like the land is cursed. Can they defy the powerful bond of the curse and free themselves to find love everlasting?
New Author, Olivia Castillo, like the jibaros of the past, weaves a tale of sorrow and joy. Castillos’ fiction is timely, offering a glimpse into the islands rich history and offering insight into the story that has plagued women for all of time, the search for true love and acceptance of self.
Read an excerpt:
Maria Bronx, NY, February 1957 As Maria glanced around she spotted the most gorgeous guy she had ever seen. He was tall and broad-shouldered, with thick brown hair pulled back in a shiny pompadour. He had olive skin and his eyes were a deep onyx. Under a letterman's jacket he was wearing a tight-fitting sweater. She watched him from across the room, unable to look away. When he looked up, their eyes met. She felt a shiver go down her spine; he smiled at her, flashing dimples. Maria, trying to be nonchalant, walked over to the table and poured herself a glass of fruity punch, aware of his eyes still on her. She kept her eyes down and swayed to Elvis singing “Jailhouse Rock.” Only seconds later she felt someone step beside her. “Hi, doll,” the dark-haired guy said to her. “Are you new? I’m Rick, by the way.” He held out his hand in a friendly gesture. Wow, he is tall! Maria thought in awe. Giving him her most beguiling smile she said, “I’m Maria, and no, I’m not new, but this is the first school dance I’ve ever been to.” “Boss,” Rick said enthusiastically, showing dimples again, and brilliant white teeth. “So, who are you here with? Or rather, where is he?” Rick asked, looking around. “No boyfriend,” Maria admitted, laughing a little. “My mother would flip. Unfortunately, I am here with my little sister,” Maria said raising her voice so Corinna could hear. Corinna, who had not gone too far, looked up upon hearing her name and waved.
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Olivia Castillo is a New York native. After going to the prestigious Fiorello H. Laguardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts, she went on to study graphic design at Otis Parson’s College in Los Angeles. Along with being an entrepreneur, she is the mother of three children, and grandmother of two. When not writing or spending time with her family, she travels the world and paints. Song of the Boricua is her first novel.
Author website and blog: www.oliviacastillo.org
Olivia Castillo will be awarding a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.