The Latina Book Club is pleased to welcome author Susan X. Bradley -- a Latina Nancy Drew -- who has written a fun mystery series staring a Latina teen heroine. Happy Reading!
WRITING TIP: Read, read, then read some more. Writers must be readers. Know your genre and the formula the reader expects. -- S.X. Bradley
Q: What does the X stand for? And how does a Mexican-American from South Texas end up in Ohio?
A: The X is because I don’t have a middle name. For all my computer log-ins at work, they used to use your middle initial for your log-in name. Since I didn’t have one, they used an X, and I liked it. As for living in Ohio, I moved to be closer to my sister. She had two new babies, so I wanted to be closer to my nieces and sister.
Q: Your love of mysteries started at an early age. Can you remember what got you interested in mysteries? Do you remember when you created your first one?
A: I owe my love for mysteries to Nancy Drew. I loved her books and thought she was the coolest girl on the planet. I used to pretend to be Nancy Drew when I’d visit my grandparents in Mexico. My cousins would come at the same time, and I’d create mysteries for us to solve. My grandparents have the most fascinating property with an old wine cellar, train station, and factory on-site. It was the perfect setting.
Q: Tell us about Autumn, the protagonist of your mystery series. Why did Autumn have to be a Latina teen? How does she celebrate her Latinidad?
A: Autumn is a 16 year old girl that has a gift for math. She comes from a family of bakers, so they have trouble relating to her. She feels very isolated, except for her relationship with her sister. When that is taken away, she decides to try and reach out to other people. I grew up in South Texas (where the story takes place) and just knew that she had to be a Latina. I grew up in that cultural and wanted to stay true to it. I also wanted to feature a Latina character that had an affinity for one of the STEM disciplines to show that side of their world as well. Autumn celebrates her Latinidad much in the same way I did-large family gatherings. Tios and Tias are like your second parents, and cousins are like your siblings.
Q: What is next for Autumn? The poor girl had to solve her sister’s murder in book 1, and is now working with the police on a series of kidnappings in book 2. How does that happen to a 16-year old?
A: Yes, I have used and abused poor Autumn. Teen domestic violence and online gaming are realistic issues for teen, so I wanted to use those situations for Autumn. At the end of book 2, I created a situation for Autumn that she will need to resolve once and for all. That will be the basis for Book 3.
Q: What are your favorite TV mystery shows? Movies?
A: I’m a huge Castle fan, but I mainly watch HGTV and Netflix. I just finished watching Hemlock Grove and House of Cards-Season 3. I like suspense and action movies. One of my favorite movies of all times is Silence of the Lambs.
Q: Who are your favorite mystery writers – Latino and non-Latino?
A: I’ll read anything that Tess Gerritsen, Lisa Gardner, Karin Slaughter and Chelsea Cain write. Nothing makes me happier than discovering a new author or series to read.
Q: Who are your favorite YA writers – Latino and non-Latino?
A: I love Gayle Forman’s books. Others I enjoy are Laurie Halse Anderson, Suzanne Collins, Elizabeth Scott. .As far as my Latina writers, E. Charlton-Trujillo, Simone Elkeles, and Meg Medina are also some faves.
Q: What’s your advice to budding mystery writers?
A: Read, read, then read some more. Writers must be readers. Know your genre and the formula the reader expects.
Q: What are you working on next?
A: I’m working a new young adult mystery series, and I also revising a romantic suspense novel.
Q: Tell us about yourself and how can fans reach you.
A: If you go to my website, www.sxbradley.com, I have a contact form on there. I’m also on twitter as @susanxbradley.com and facebook: www.facebook.com/sxbradley. My blog is at http://susanxbradley.blogspot.com/. I love hearing from readers, so I hope you’ll reach out.#
Thank you, Susan!