The Latina Book Club congratulates Annette Sandoval on the publication of her new novel, SPITFIRE.
Join us as we "chat" with Annette about sassy heroines, time management,
backpacking around the globe and the difficulties of publishing.
Read below, and as always, Read Latino!
by Annette Sandoval
Thomas & Mercer, July 2012
Tomi is sassy, savvy and scandalous!
--The Latina Book Club
Book Summary: Twenty-eight-year-old Tomi Reyes is a documentary filmmaker who moonlights as a receptionist to pay the bills. It’s a pretty easy gig—until she receives an unexpected promotion, and her somewhat interesting life goes totally insane.
For starters, her new boss, Scott Martin, morphs from nice guy into creepy dictator in the space of, like, five seconds. Then Justin Thyme, Tomi’s occasional boyfriend, is found murdered and stuffed inside his refrigerator. Before Tomi can get over the shock, her friend Whim meets the same gruesome fate. Tomi has a sneaking suspicion that new-boss-Scott has a hand in all of this, but the evidence to both of the murders is pointing to her! She is wondering how she'll look in an orange jumper, when her childhood pal is assigned to the case. Nicholas “Nickels” Turino, is now an FBI agent, and a hot one at that. When the killer starts stalking Tomi—going as far as turning her fridge into her waiting tomb—the not-so-swift hand of justice drives Tomi to act. She sets out to unmask the killer herself or die trying. Seriously underdressed for such a cold-blooded death, Tomi is determined to live.
Read the first chapter of SPITFIRE, just click here.
You backpacked almost around the world, what life lessons did you learn that have stuck with you? What was the most memorable place you visited?
I learned that everything I actually need I can carry on my back. I used to be a clothes horse, but after a decade of traveling—and wearing the same few outfits over and over again—I'm not even a clothes pony. I'm more of a clothes guppy. I went to Thailand because I love the food, and fell in love with the country. It's such a vibrant and exotic place. I followed my feet and never knew where I was going to end up. I slept in a little hut that was on stilts in a river; in a tree house near the mouth of a cave; on an island in a hut straight our of Gilligan's island. The people were nice too.
You went from writing about saints to healing recipes to women's fiction. When did you realize you were a writer? Do you have a "writing" routine?
I think people have a proclivity toward being creative. Writers take in the world through all of their senses and either process that sensory overload by writing something down, or finding another creative outlet. If one can't find a healthy outlet they go a little crazy. I write in the morning because I'm still operating below the level of conscious thought. I never work at night because the days' reality kills the creative buzz.
Your summer release is SPITFIRE. Tomi is sassy and savvy and scandalous. Where did she come from?
First, let me be clear, here. I am nothing like Tomi, but she totally copies me! Actually, I wanted to read a novel with a Latina protagonist who wasn't flipping tortillas or jumping a fence. I was looking for a clever mystery/thriller with dark humor, and some sexy parts. When I couldn't find such a book, I decided to write what I wanted to read.
What authors, especially Latino authors, have influenced your work?
I love Julia Alvarez, Mary Castillo, and Gabriel García Márquez, of course.
Was getting published difficult?
Hell yes! SPITFIRE was rejected by all of the big six publishing houses. They claimed my book "had no mass-market appeal.' That pissed me off. I could not believe that a novel about a Latina office drone who suspects her middle-aged, Hootie & the Blowfish-loving boss of being a serial killer, wasn't worth a read? Why wouldn't a female protagonist with an acid wit not have mass market appeal?
When Amazon started a mystery imprint called Thomas & Mercer, I submitted to them. I was pretty discouraged by that point. Fortunately, they found my book refreshing! With precious few books by Mexican-American authors out there, I'm grateful to find a publisher with the huevos rancheros to give my book a shot!
Tell us about Annette. Background? awards? what other writing projects you are working on?
I'm the youngest of five kids. My parents are from Jalisco, Mexico. When they talk English they sound like Ricky Ricardo. I thought I was a boy until I got boobies – that was a pretty sucky day. I moved to San Francisco when I turned 21. I have an awesome boyfriend. I was a volunteer interpreter for The Flying Doctors. I have a dog.
I'm working on FURIOUS GEORGE, the sequel to SPITFIRE, and am polishing up WOMEN ARE LIKE CHICKENS. I've had a couple of offers on the latter, but I need to make sure it's ready for company.
Books or E-readers? Where do you stand?
Well, I'm seriously dyslexic. Now that I'm thinking about it, I can't help but wonder what kind of a pendejo would give this disorder such an impossible name for dyslexics to spell? My only reading outlet is audio books. I'll read just about anything I can download onto my MP3 player, listen to on my CD player, or get a cassette of. I've recently discovered Librovox online and have been downloading the classics for free. I'm going through a Wilkie Collins phase right now.
Where can your fans learn more about you? Do you have facebook, twitter, pin, et al? Or is all that "socializing" not worth it?
I'm on Facebook and I have a website: http://www.annettesandoval.com/.###