A: Actually, I was never a secretary! I've always been a writer and journalist. I gave that up to become a full-time artist in 1990. In 1995, I decided to go back to writing, so I joined The Arizona Republic and was an entertainment journalist. But I still kept my artist job, I did both because I loved both! My editor knew that I was an artist and asked me to write a weekly craft column for the newspaper. I did and within months it became syndicated all over the country by Gannett News Service. I knew I was on to something. I loved the idea of inspiring other people to get creative and make things. I established CraftyChica.com in 2001 to reach beyond newspaper readers. I've always kept a personal diary and moved it online in 2003 when I started my "Diary of a Crafty Chica" blog. I wrote essays about my family and juggling a writing and art career. I also interviewed many movie stars for the newspaper and posted those articles as well. The next year I was asked by two different book editors about writing novels. I had already started my craft book series, and had always dreamed of becoming a novelist, but I was unsure of myself. Finally in 2004, I joined National Novel Writing Month and wrote the first draft of what would later become WAKING UP IN THE LAND OF GLITTER. To date I have seven craft titles and now two novels!
Q: You do so much--craft, write, attend trade shows, festivals, cruises, etc--, what is your secret to time management?
A: I skip a lot of TV (not all of it!), and I make sure to only accept gigs that I know I'll love and are beneficial in some way. Everything I do moves me, my dream, my happiness, and my brand forward. If it doesn't, I have to let it go.
Q: Why and when did the writing bug strike you? You already had a creative outlet.
A: The writing bug bit me in fifth grade, long before crafting! I used to write funny essays about my family life and my teacher would have me read my stories out loud to the entire class! I knew then I would grow up to be a writer. I went on to join yearbook and newspaper in junior high and in high school as well. I worked as a features reporter at the newspaper for13 years, but I wanted to write fiction. I love to write so much, I wanted to challenge myself! To this day, I still thank my fifth grade language arts teacher, Miss Montgomery! Her assignments changed my life!
Q: Tell us about your new book and what we should expect from your Crafty Chica book series.
A: My mission for my novels is to showcase contemporary, educated and creative Latina characters. In my first novel, WAKING UP IN THE LAND OF GLITTER, my main character didn't know what she wanted to do with her life. She was bright and educated, but a bit spoiled by her parents; she didn't have that "hunger." However, in MISS SCARLET'S SCHOOL OF PATTERNLESS SEWING, my main character knows exactly what she wants and goes at it with full force. So much that she begins to neglect the people who love her most. She needs to learn the balance between going after a dream and giving the universe time to make it happen.
Q: Who are your favorite authors? Latino authors?
A: I love Sarah Addison-Allen, she always has a touch of magical realism, and her books are so heartfelt. I also gobble up Sophie Kinsella; she is hysterical and I adore the way she presents her happy endings. I wish all of her books could be made into movies! I also devour anything by Sandra Rodriguez Barron, Anjanette Delgado, Maria Amparo Escandon, Reyna Grande and Alberto Ferreras. Oh, there are too many!
Q: What advice would you give to new crafters, new writers?
A: Not to think about agents or book covers, but just to WRITE! The more you do it, the better you will become!
Q: We know you love Frida. What is your favorite quote of hers?
A: Feet, what do I need you for when I have wings to fly?
Q: Can you share with us a quickie craft project?
A: Sure! Try the DIY Painted Leather Rings.
MISS SCARLET'S SCHOOL
OF PATTERNLESS SEWING
A Crafty Chica Novel
by Kathy Cano-Murillo
Grand Central Publishing
In the second Crafty Chica novel, we have a passional heroine who knows what she wants and goes out and gets it. Scarlet Santana, a chemical engineer with two degrees, chucks a six-figure salary to follow her dream of fashion design. Her fiance dumps her, her parents lay on the guilt, and her boss at the fashion studio undervalues her, but Scarlet will not give up her dream.
Click here for the book trailer for MISS SCARLET.
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P.S. Do take a look at the Latina Book Club badge. It's a Kathy Cano-Murillo original.
P.S.S. Leave a comment and you will be entered to win a free copy of WAKING UP IN THE LAND OF GLITTER. Winner announced on March 16.