HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY !
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 are pleased to welcome International Latino Book Awards winner Theresa Varela.
She’s a Puerto Rican author from Brooklyn, NY.
LBC: Welcome, Theresa. 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?
THERESA: The terms Latin lover, Eye Candy, and Macho Man bring forth the vision of grainy black and white cinema. A rose between a swashbuckler’s teeth or the heaving cleavage of a voluptuous barmaid evoke fantasy and passion. Rudolph Valentino did much in his day for the construction of the female ideology that escape of the doldrums of a dull life could only be accomplished by a man who strides in on a magnificent white stallion. We love adventure and magic in our relationships and that can be achieved with stability, groundedness, and with an inner core of trust in our partners. We’re fortunate that old fashioned expectations of traditional male and female roles no longer apply to individuals and choice in their cocreation of love.
LBC: Describe the ideal Lover— Latino or otherwise.
THERESA: Most of us yearn for intimacy, for a deep, and lasting love. Our ability to love at such depths has usually already been affected profoundly by our pasts. In Coney Island Siren, the words protagonist and antagonist aptly describe Maggie and Frank as partners in an often disturbing, yet compelling bond. The couple’s psychology is complex. Both bring to their relationship early experiences that have left indelible marks on their psyches, spirits, and souls. That’s not to say that these novel characters cannot strive to be idyllic lovers. Characters are like actors in a play that portray us, in our ultimate humanness. Isn’t ideal love only identified in the eyes of the loving beholder?
LBC: Who’s your favorite couple and why?
THERESA: I hope it’s not cheating to say that my spouse and I are my favorite couple. We’ve lasted many chapters and quite a few episodes of life together. Our early excitement and passion have bloomed into strong commitment, embracing and championing each other’s visions, and support of one another’s disappointments when those invariably occur. My adult children love her dearly. She is my grandson’s godmother. My father, who recently crossed over, loved her as a second daughter. Over the years we’ve learned to accept each other’s differences while celebrating our love all the time, not only on Valentine’s Day, although that is a great excuse for fun.
LBC: What’s the best present to give your Valentine?
THERESA: Valentine’s gifts should be symbolic of the relationship. When I was much younger, I longed for deep crimson teddy bears that wore tee-shirts declaring the sentiment of LOVE. As I’ve matured and my awareness of love has deeply ripened even the desire for a Valentine’s present has changed. There are years that my spouse and I discuss beforehand the limits or the expansiveness of the Valentine gift. Some lovers gift each other flowers, champagne, chocolates, or sexy underthings. At this point, I prefer the trust, confidence, and reciprocal love that I’ve come to cherish in my intimate relationship. A card, a dinner, with a little handholding, and deep commitment is celebrated any day of the year.
LBC: Describe your novel, CONEY ISLAND SIREN, in 5 words.
THERESA: Sensual, provocative, surreal, mystical, awakening!
The Latina Book Club thanks author Theresa Varela for participating in our Valentine’s Week Special.
BIO: Award-winning Puerto Rican author Theresa Varela was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. She is the recipient of International Latino Book Awards for Covering the Sun with My Hand in 2015 and Nights of Indigo Blue: A Daisy Muñiz Mystery in 2016. Dr. Varela holds a PhD in Nursing Research and Theory Development, and currently works with the mentally ill homeless population in New York City. She is a member of the National Association of Hispanic Nurses and a member of Las Comadres Para las Americas, and is on the Advisory Board of the Latina 50 Plus program. She is co-founder of La Pluma y La Tinta, a writers’ workshop. Her blog, LatinaLibations on Writing and All Things of the Spirit, can be found at www.theresavarela.com