The Latina Book Club welcomes poet, children’s author and illustrator Franchesca Guzman. She didn’t see the book she wanted on her beloved Puerto Rico on any bookshelves so she wrote her own and drew the pictures!
Within my writing, I leave all of me.
Welcome to my anthology.
– Franchesca Noemi Guzman
Q: What is a Boricua doing in Dallas? Tell us how you got there and why would you go somewhere with no beaches! And tell us about the wonderfully different spelling of your name. It's lovely.
A: I will be completely honest and say that I did not move to Texas by choice. I was seven years old when my father’s job relocated to Dallas and I’ve been here since. That being said, I do go back home to Cayey, Puerto Rico, at least once a year. When asked where my hometown is, I never say Dallas, I always say Cayey because that is what I feel in my heart. The spelling of my name is thanks to my parents. I was named after both of my grandmothers – Francisca on my mother’s side, Noemi on my father’s side but they wanted to change the first name a bit for the sake of uniqueness. So, that is why my name is Franchesca Noemi.
Q: Tell us about your writing. You wrote MI ISLA BONITA. Is this a children’s book? Is it bilingual?
A: Writing is something very personal to me. I began writing poetry at a young age to cope with some painful challenges in my life. As I grew up, writing became a solace for me. In 2007, I was looking for children’s literature about the many wonderful and beautiful aspects of Puerto Rico, but had trouble finding one. Although I never envisioned myself as a children’s author (or illustrator for that matter) I decided to take on the project. I wasn’t a mother at that time yet but I knew I would like my son or daughter to have a book about their beautiful and rich culture. Just recently, I have translated Mi Isla Bonita to English (titled My Beautiful Island) because the original book was in Spanish. I am currently working on a second children’s book titled The Coqui.
Q: You are also working on a novel. Romance? Paranormal? Latino characters? Set in Dallas, Puerto Rico or out of this world? Inquiring minds want to know.
A: I’m not sure if it fits perfectly into any one genre. There are definitely elements of romance in the novel, but my main character Samanda, also goes through a lot of soul searching and self-discovery. I think the genre Women’s Fiction describes it best. My main character is Latina and the setting is mainly in Maryland.
Q: Who are your favorite Latino writers/ books? What other writers / books have influenced you?
A: Many years ago, my mentor (now my husband) showed me a poem by Rosario Morales titled The Reasonable One and it forever impacted me. The words were filled with so much pain, passion and conviction – it was truly inspiring. As someone just beginning to explore writing as a form of expression, it showed me that pain can be expressed in an honest, sincere and artistic way. I also have looked up to Latina authors such as Sandra Cisneros, Esmeralda Santiago, and Irene Vilar.
Q: On your website you have a quote and the last line states: “Within my writing, I leave all of me. Welcome to my anthology.” Is putting so much of yourself IN your story a good thing? How can you tell when your all is too much or does it even matter?
A: In terms of my poetry, yes, putting so much of me within the writing is imperative. My poetry is normally inspired organically by difficult life events whether it be with family members, society or an internal struggle. My first novel is purely fiction – the characters and events are all from the depths of my imagination. I have been jotting down ideas for a second novel which will be based on true events in my life – that one will be more personal, but will have elements of fiction as well.
Q: You also wrote about maintaining the relationship with yourself; that it “is an imperative relationship to maintain.” It made me think of the Whitney Houston song, “The Greatest Love.” Can we truly maintain such a relationship? How? Why? Does it benefit those around us as well?
A: I think that not only can we maintain a good relationship with ourselves, it is immensely important to do so. How each person does it is unique to that individual and that is the point. Nobody can know what your soul or spirit needs for healing or rejuvenation. Those needs are sometimes hard for us to get in touch with, but it is important to do so. The last line of the article sums it up well “to know yourself is to know how to relate to others – if you can’t be there for yourself, you won’t be good to anyone else.”
Q: How can your fans learn more about you? Share with us your website and social networks links.
A: My website is www.franchescaguzman.com.
* I also write and publish articles on the Examiner.com website (http://www.examiner.com/relationships-in-dallas/franchesca-guzman).
* Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/writer.franchesca.guzman)
* Twitter (https://twitter.com/fglovestowrite) ###
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Franchesca Guzman is a freelance writer, children's author, poet, mother, and wife. She is currently in the editing phase of her first novel. She is proud of her Puerto Rican heritage. She loves to dance and is knowledgeable in a wide variety of genres that include Mambo, Salsa, Hip-Hop, Ballet and Modern/lyrical. Franchesca is fascinated by the study of group dynamics - her husband Agustin, a skilled group facilitator and community activist, has been her mentor and teacher in this field. Together they are currently co-authoring a book over the topics of leadership, groups and community organizing. Visit her at www.franchescaguzman.com.