I learned to speak English when I was ten years old.
Before that, in what I call my first life, I lived in a small town on the island of Cuba, in a big old rambling house built by my grandfather. When you don’t have brothers or sisters, the best way to entertain yourself in a big old rambling house is to use your imagination, so I did.
Stair landings were forts, old sheets were tents, and the cardboard box for a new refrigerator was a wondrous cave in which to play pretend.
Or sit and read about magic, and fairies and animals that talk.
Or write stories.
I filled the back of old receipt pads from my dad’s business with drawings of princesses, elves, and fairies, putting words on bubbles above their heads. I must have filled a lot of pads because sometimes the stacks would tip over.
My first life ended a week short of my tenth birthday. For reasons best left to grownups, I left Cuba with my family and a very small suitcase. I couldn’t fit even one of my precious pads.
Me at 3, future Scooter Olympic Gold Medalist
(besides reading, writing and
spending time with my family)
Listening to audio books, especially mysteries for adults and all audio books for kids. I trained in narration and would love to record all my books and those of other authors. See if you like my recordings of Zunzuncito on my Tales and Cuentos page.
Collecting quotes I read in books, magazines, the web, or hear on TV or radio. I jot down quotes I see on billboards. Church signs are a great source! I save them to read whenever I need inspiration.
My second life in Miami was very different: no big old rambling house and less time for playing. A lot of time was spent just getting used to a new country. Some things were great, like dressing up for Halloween and passing out Valentines. Others, like missing my grandparents and cousins, not so much. Then, I made two wonderful discoveries.
I found I loved learning English (a Spanish-English dictionary became my new best friend.) I loved the sound of new words and finding out what they meant. Spelling lists, vocabulary lists, reading assignments…bring them on!
And on a school field trip I found an incredible place called the public library.
After I read every Spanish book in the children’s section (and my English got good enough) I dove into mysteries, adventure books, and of course, magic and fairies and animals that talk. I loved every good book that ever warmed a shelf. I was in bookworm heaven.
In college I thought I wanted to be an English teacher but missed spending time among books, so I became a children’s librarian instead. Back to my favorite place, this time in a school library.
After years of book talks, storytelling and sharing my love of reading with every boy and girl who walked through the door, I remembered the falling-over stacks of old receipt book filled with stories from my own imagination.
Me at 6, future Prima Ballerina
And so, my third life began.
I became an author.
I like to write funny stories and serious stories. I like to retell old tales that have been around for centuries (they must be pretty good if they’ve lasted this long!) I like to write about magic and fairies and animals that talk, but also about real people who once were kids like you and me, and who grew up to do most excellent things with their lives. I like to write in Spanish, or English, or both (and I want to learn French, so look out!) .
I like to write about anything that grabs my imagination and think may grab yours.
So visit my website often to see what I'm working on next.