The Latina Book Club's mission is to promote Latina / Latino authors. We do this through book reviews, author interviews, publicity announcements, book of the month selections, etc. A new popular feature we added this year is "Writers Wednesdays." The first Wednesday of each month, we will feature a writer talking about ...writing. Happy Reading!
WRITING STORIES THAT EMBRACE DIVERSE CHARACTERS AND CULTURES
by L.G. Castillo
I was hooked on books the moment I learned how to read. My fondest childhood memories were of my mother taking my sister and me to the public library. It was a thrill for me to rummage through the hundreds of books. I could spend hours in the library and most of the time I did.
I remember writing my first short story called “The Bridge” when I was ten. I’ve been writing in one way or another since then. Most of the writing I do, research on Latino educational persistence and mental health is for my full time job as a professor of counseling psychology. Getting your work published in professional journals is very challenging so I’m not new to writing under a tight deadline and having your work savagely critiqued. That kind of stuff is normal.
It wasn’t until I got hooked on Twilightfan fiction that I was able to go back to my first love: writing fiction. It was around the same time when I was writing fan fiction as a hobby that I came across a New York Times article that discussed how there were no strong Latino characters in books. I reflected on the many stories I’ve read over the years, primarily romance and paranormal, and I couldn’t recall one that I read with strong Latino characters! As for racially diverse characters, I could only think of the Quileute character, Jacob, in Twilight, but even then the lead female was Caucasian. Just imagine how the story would be like if Bella was Latina!
I’ve always wanted to write and publish my own novel. Given the New York Times article and my commitment to Latino education, I decided to write and self publish a story filled with Latino characters and culture. LASH (Broken Angel) is filled with strong and positive Latino characters, from the college graduate Naomi Duran, her college-educated father Javier, and her cousin, Chuy, who lives with their grandmother and supports her financially by working a fulltime job with a moving company. Anita Duran, referred to as Welita, is the ever-watchful grandmother and is a very spiritual and strong person who holds the Duran family together. Basically, this book speaks to the many strengths of the Latino culture.
So far, I’ve received excellent feedback about the book from people in different countries like Australia, Netherlands, UK, Brazil, and Canada, as well as the U.S. This goes to show that having Latino characters in a book doesn’t mean the book is limited to Latino readers. The theme of family and faith cuts across all cultures. My intention is to continue writing stories that embrace diverse characters and cultures, as well as entertain.###
Read our review of Castillo’s LASH (Broken Angel) by clicking here.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: L.G. Castillo wrote her first story when she was ten and has been writing ever since. She took a break from writing fiction and poetry to focus on obtaining her Ph.D. in counseling psychology. She is now a licensed psychologist and currently works as a professor at a Texas university. Although she has published her psychological research in several professional journals and books, her dream has always been to publish a novel. LASH is her debut novel and was written during the 2012 National Novel Writing Month event. Connect with her at any of these social networks: Website/Blog: http://www.lgcastillo.com