On History & Love Affairs
with Adriana Herrera, author of 'A Caribbean Heiress in Paris'
#NuevasPaginasconLupita is a space that is both an archive and resource aimed to "spotlight" Hispanic/Latinx/e authors with newly published books. The goal is to connect readers to new and/or old favorite Hispanic/Latinx/e authors and their books! So give this & every post a share to help us reach more readers!
How does it work?!
Here’s the deal, I came up with a set of casual/random/funny questions to ask each Hispanic/Latinx/e author, I interview. For now, the questions will all be the same but maybe in the future I’ll launch this into more specific questions to the author or maybe I’ll turn this series into a mini-podcast, or maybe……well, you get it! The possibilities are endless.
If you are new here don’t forget to check out all the other amazing interviews! We also have a great line-up of guest authors coming up so make sure you don’t miss an issue by subscribing now!
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Hey Heyyy Book Franz!
By the time this email hits your inbox, I am most likely dashing to the airport to commence our first international family vacation since COVID. I am probably full of anxiety thinking through a million worries and fears - I mean we are still in an ongoing pandemic and returning to traveling feels very scary. That said, I’m hoping to shift the focus on my anxiety to the pile of books I’ll be carrying with me, including the book by today’s special guest.
A book I have been slowly reading because I love how quickly I keep getting lost in its world and pages. I am also very excited to share that this interview is going live on the Book’s Birthday! Book Birthday? Yes! That means the book is now available in all bookstores!!! I won’t keep you from reading the interview but I do hope you consider picking this one up. I do think it’s a perfect summer read :)
Without further ado, our special guest author today is….Adriana Herrera, author of A Caribbean Heiress in Paris!!!
Could you tell me a bit about where this photo was taken? Is it special to your book in some way?
This photo was taken on a trip to Paris I took with my family right before the pandemic. It was while researching for this trip that I found the article that gave me the idea for A Caribbean Heiress in Paris. That Afro Latina sweatshirt in front of the Arc de Triomphe really captures the vibe of the book!
Tell me about your book without telling me about your book - share any literary inspirations behind your book! If there are none, the gap you wanted to fill in the literary canon with your book.
My very passionate and extensive love affair with historical romance inspired this book! I have been a long-time lover of the subgenre, but like in many other spaces in genre fiction, I could never quite find a story where I could see my full self. I love the over-the-top swoon in historical romance. I love the dresses, the dukes, the balls, the rompy deliciousness of it, but had not found ones that delivered on that and served up a version of history where BIPOC existed, much less thrived. Or even that grappled with how the fortunes of the people in those beautiful ballrooms were amassed.
I wrote A Caribbean Heiress in Paris because I want us to be able to find ourselves in every kind of story, while looking at the realities of the past in the face. And I want to affirm that despite everything we have always had the kind of epic love stories, anyone can be swept away in. I want our books to not only be the “learning” books or the “tough lessons” books. I want our books to also be the delicious, joyful, comfort books readers go to get lost in for a few hours.
What are two central themes in your book that you connect with the most and why?
I am an immigrant. I left the Santo Domingo at 23 on my own and came to New York City for grad school. Luz Alana my heroine at 28 has to leave Santo Domingo too, in order to secure a future for herself and her sister. There is something very liberating and incredibly daunting about setting off to a new place with the freedom to reinvent yourself. To arrive somewhere no one knows you and define who you will be there. I understood that part of Luz’s journey well, and I hope I did her justice.
If a book was home, where would your home be?
Romance! I love all books, but romance has always been a place of comfort for me.
If your book was a famous musician who would it be?
That’s a hard one!! It would have to be old-school boleros or merengue composers. Probably Armando Manzanero from Mexico. He is an absolute ICON in Latin America and wrote some of the most legendary boleros of the last century. His music is beloved and recognized anywhere Spanish is spoken. His songs are MADE for a ballroom and dancing cheek to cheek.
What comfort food could a reader pair with your book?
Maybe a boozy pineapple upside-down cake? LOL The heroine, Luz Alana is a rum distiller and she also wants to make cordials, pineapple cordials in particular. So that could be a good way to combine some of the key elements of the story.
In what ways has access (or little to no access) to Hispanic/Latinx/e literature defined you as a writer?
I grew up in the Dominican Republic. I left after college when I was 23. I read Laura Esquivel, Isabell Allende, Mario Vargas Llosa, Juan Bosch, and Gabriel Garcia Marquez (my favorite author) alongside Edith Wharton (my second favorite author) and Jane Austen as a teen and that is essential to how I operate as an author.
To me our culture, our lives, and our history have always belonged on bookshelves. What has always been harder is finding us in pop culture, genre fiction, and the “fun stuff.” I’ve always loved romance, fantasy, sci-fi and always noticed that in those spaces people like me weren’t really present.
In a way that is part of what I want to do as an author, particularly in the historical romance/fiction space to write stories that deliver on the all those pleasure points and also full render us, Latinx people, Black people, Queer people in layered, complex, beautiful glory.
Where can readers keep up with your work?
The BEST place is my newsletter and I am also on Instagram @ladriana_herrera. I also have FB where I do lots of giveaways and post exclusives.
A huge thank you to Adriana Herrera for taking the time to chat with me about her book! Please please make sure you purchase a copy (or request your local library carry a copy) of their book #SupportLatinxLit!
Author Bio from her website:
USA Today Best Selling author Adriana was born and raised in the Caribbean, but for the last fifteen years has let her job (and her spouse) take her all over the world. She loves writing stories about people who look and sound like her people, getting unapologetic happy endings.
When she’s not dreaming up love stories, planning logistically complex vacations with her family or hunting for discount Broadway tickets, she’s a trauma therapist in New York City, working with survivors of domestic and sexual violence.
Her Dreamers series has received starred reviews from Publisher’s Weekly and Booklist and has been featured in The TODAY Show on NBC, Entertainment Weekly, NPR, Library Journal and The Washington Post. Her debut, American Dreamer, was selected as one of Booklist’s Best Romance Debuts of 2019, and one of the Top 10 Romances of 2019 by Entertainment Weekly. Her third novel, American Love Story, was one of the winners in the first annual Ripped Bodice Award for Excellence in Romantic Fiction. Adriana is an outspoken advocate for diversity in romance and has written for Remezcla and Bustle about Own Voices in the genre.
Synopsis for A Caribbean Heiress in Paris Bookshop website:
The Exposition Universelle is underway, drawing merchants from every corner of the globe...including Luz Alana Heith-Benzan, heiress to the Caña Brava rum empire.
Luz Alana set sail from Santo Domingo armed with three hundred casks of rum, her two best friends and one simple rule: under no circumstances is she to fall in love. In the City of Lights, she intends to expand the rum business her family built over three generations, but buyers and shippers alike can't imagine doing business with a woman...never mind a woman of color. This, paired with being denied access to her inheritance unless she marries, leaves the heiress in a very precarious position.
Enter James Evanston Sinclair, Earl of Darnick, who has spent a decade looking for purpose outside of his father's dirty money and dirtier dealings. Ignoring his title, he's built a whisky brand that's his biggest--and only--passion. That is, until he's confronted with a Spanish-speaking force of nature who turns his life upside down.
From their first tempestuous meeting, Luz Alana is conflicted. Why is this titled--and infuriatingly charming--Scottish man so determined to help her?
For Evan, every day with Luz Alana makes him yearn for more than her ardent kisses or the marriage of convenience that might save them both. But Luz Alana sailed for Paris prepared to build her business and her future; what she wasn't prepared for was love finding her.
The best way you can support Latinx/e authors and Latinx/e literature is by doing the following:
REQUEST that your local library carry a copy
PURCHASE a copy of a friend, family member, or your nemesis (hey! I’m sure they read too).
SHOUT about the book on any social media platform or to your friends and family!
SHARE this interview widely! Word of mouth does wonders for connecting readers to books.
REVIEW their books on any website that sells books!
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