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Happy Valentine’s Week!  
The Latina Book Club is doing mini interviews with Latino / Latinx authors about Latin Lovers, favorite couples, and best presents to give this week.   

We start with author Jasminne Mendez.  Her book, NIGHT-BLOOMING JASMIN(N)E: PERSONAL ESSAYS & POEMS, was released by Arte Publico Press last Spring, but it’s worth reading in every season.

LBC:  Welcome, Jasminne.  Valentine’s Day is upon us, and nothing says romance more than a Latin Lover, or does it?  What do you think of the Latin Lover— is he a Macho Man, Eye Candy or other?  

Jasminne:  I think the "Latin Lover" is kind of a myth and a stereotype. I think that Latin men have been shown on TV and the media as a passionate "lover" who can woo any woman and often has several lovers himself. I think that Latin men CAN be this but they can also be so much more or not this at all and still be wonderful, caring partners. While I think the stereotypical Latin lover can be sexy and nice eye candy, I'm not sure he'd make a great partner and that to me is more important than sex appeal. 

LBC:     Describe the ideal Lover— Latino or otherwise.  

JASMINNE:  The ideal lover to me is someone who is kind, gentle, compassionate and true. He should listen and respond to your needs both in the bedroom and outside of it. He knows how to romance you the way you want to be romanced. He knows your likes and dislikes, what brings you pleasure and joy. He's attentive and finds you beautiful with or without your clothes on. :) (Basically my husband Lupe is my ideal and I'm super lucky to have him.)

LBC:    Who’s your favorite couple and why?

JASMINNE:  My favorite couple is probably Chrissy Tiegan and John Legend. Because they remind me a lot of me and my husband. They keep it real with each other and are each other's biggest cheerleaders. They support one another and have a good sense of humor when things don't go as planned. I love that they "play fight" on Twitter like me and Lupe do. It's nice to see a couple who doesn't take themselves too seriously. 

LBC:  What’s the best present to give your Valentine?

JASMINNE:  I used to be all about giving people "things" but as I've gotten older I think the best presents involve experiences. Giving the gift of something you and the other person can do together to create memories is what I think is really special. Get tickets to a favorite band/singer, go see a play, ballet, or symphony, go to a festival or weekend event that you wouldn't normally go to, or take a weekend trip to a bed and breakfast in the country. Taking the time to plan something that will give you time together and create memories is the best gift in my opinion. 

LBC:  Describe your novel, NIGHT-BLOOMING JASMIN(N)E in 5 words.

JASMINNE:  Survival. Strength. Family. Love. Identity. ♥

Arte Publico Press

The Latina Book Club thanks author Jasminne Mendez for participating in our Valentine’s Week Special. 

BIO:  Jasminne Mendez is a Latino Book Awards -First Place Award Winning Author, poet, educator and performer. After selecting her work for the 2018 Cogzine Poetry Prize, Major Jackson described her as a poet who "possesses a sense of the poem as sacrament and language hammered into song."  And of her newest book Night-Blooming Jasmin(n)e: Personal Essays & Poetry, Willie Perdomo says: "Jasminne Mendez is a gift...this book is a beautiful achievement, a lasting testament to a spirit that emerged bruised, scarred but alive and ready to sing."  She is a writing community organizer and InkWell podcast host with Tintero Projects, and she works tirelessly to amplify the voices of Afro-Latinx poets and writers on her Plátano Poetry Cafe blog. Visit her at and follow her @jasminnemendez.