Monday, November 09, 2009 Posted by Dina N
Guest Post by Caridad Piñeiro
One of the first adages that you’ll here if you’re an aspiring writer is “Write what you know.” In part that means don’t try to write a romantic suspense if you’ve never read one in your entire life. Understanding the reader expectations in a particular genre is key to being able to write a book that resonates with the readers of that genre.
But the other part of that adage applies to writing about what you as a person know. If you’re going to be writing a book where the heroine is a nurse, you better either have personal knowledge of being a nurse or do your research so that whatever is in the book rings true.
When I started writing way back in the fifth grade, I’m pretty sure I broke that rule. Our teacher had assigned us a class project – to write a book to be placed in a class lending library. I went home and started writing. Fiction, of course. A romance without doubt now that I think about it. The story revolved around a plane that goes down on a tropical island, leaving a number of survivors to face attacks from a group of people already on the island. Hmm, kind of sounds like LOST doesn’t it? I had never been on a tropical island and my only experience on a plane had been to leave Cuba at the age of three.
Needless to say, I realize now the many mistakes I made, but more important than all those mistakes was what I accomplished – I wrote a book. 120 pages from beginning to a happy resolution.
I also realized at that time that I wanted to be a writer when I grew up. Because I had been born in Cuba and my parents had a number of exciting adventures during the Cuban revolution, I decided to turn those into a story. I didn’t know it yet, but I was doing the “Write what you know.” When I was unable to sell that book, but was asked by an editor to write a contemporary story – one about the children of the heroes of that first book – I also wrote about what I knew, namely, the struggles of acclimating to a new country and maintaining the culture and traditions of my old.
Growing up in Levittown at that time, there were few Latinos. Maybe two or three families in my immediate neighborhood and high school. Outside of our homes we were just like everyone else. We dressed like everyone else, spoke like everyone else and ate just like everyone else. But inside of the walls of our home, our language and food were decidedly different. And when we invited people into our home, they might have been curious about what they were being served, but they always embraced it heartily. There might have been hostility at times beyond the walls of our home, but it was in general a wonderful experience in an amazing country. There are few countries that welcome immigrants so readily and where in just a generation, success can be achieved through hard work.
Those lessons growing up in Levittown also became part of the novels I write – that experience of realizing your dreams while learning to balance the two cultures plus the desire to share that culture with others.
Luckily people have been receptive of that diversity. They enjoy new and different things and because the issues of acceptance and wishing for a better life are universal, the stories resonate with them.
In SINS OF THE FLESH, I drew upon something else that I knew as a person – science. I was a science major and always loved it. In the years since graduating college, I had kept up on advances in certain areas that intrigued me. That fascination worked itself into the plot for SINS OF THE FLESH, namely, the risks of genetically engineering human beings. Just because we can do some things doesn’t mean that we should. Of course, SINS also has a powerful romance element because the romantic I discovered in the fifth grade wants to see love overcome seemingly impossible odds.
Thanks for having me with you and thanks to everyone who dropped by!
Caterina Shaw's days are numbered. Her only chance for survival is a highly experimental gene treatment-a risk she willingly takes. But now Caterina barely recognizes herself. She has new, terrifying powers, an exotic, arresting body-and she's been accused of a savage murder, sending her on the run.
Mick Carrera is a mercenary and an expert at capturing elusive, clever prey. Yet the woman he's hunting down is far from the vicious killer he's been told to expect: Caterina is wounded, vulnerable, and a startling mystery of medical science. Even more, she's a beautiful woman whose innocent sensuality tempts Mick to show her exactly how thrilling pleasure can be. The heat that builds between them is irresistible, but surrendering to it could kill them both . . . for a dangerous group is plotting its next move using Caterina as its deadly pawn.
Thanks to Hachette Book Group, I have the opportunity to give away FIVE copies of Sins of the Flesh!
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Open to residents of U.S. or Canada only. No P.O. box addresses, please. One book per person. Winners will receive their prizes directly from Hachette Book Group. Book information was provided by the publisher.