• Paperback: 432 pages
• Publisher: Outskirts Press
(October 27, 2009)
• Language: English
• ISBN-10: 1432746987
• ISBN-13: 978-1432746988
The impossible dream.
For some people, the impossible dream is becoming a famous actor or musician.
For others, it is becoming the next multi-millionaire.
But, for me, it was becoming a writer.
Actually, for me, being a writer was more than impossible, it was unthinkable. It was an idea that never even entered my mind.
When I first started reading at the early age of two, I became instantly fascinated by books. I never liked to join in the daily sports and activities the rest of the children would partake in during recess. As a kid, I discovered that the two things I was good at were reading and doing homework. And when I wasn’t doing either of them, I was miserably bored. My mother would always say that I was happiest when I’d sit in a corner with a book in my hands. I didn’t care what book it was. If I could read it, I was happy. Books were my friends.
As time went on, I became more and more familiar with the written word, and I often thought that it must take great talent to create words like this and make a story out of them. How do they do that? I often wondered. What was their secret? This must be something that they’re born with. I could never do anything like that. I didn’t know what I’d be. Who would know at that age anyways? I did, however, knew what I could never be—a writer. My destiny in life was to go to high school and graduate. If I was lucky, I would get a secretary job in a nice, clean office. But being a writer? Impossible.
Little did I realize then that my destiny had far greater potential than I credited. Not only did I end up graduating from high school, but I did it with honors. That led to me going to community college to study, study, and study everything I could possibly learn. My 3.90 GPA directed me to the Honors Program, where I met a counselor who literally pushed me to transfer to a university—another infeasible task…..or, so I thought.
And even when a life is so consumed by the entire student work load, does an avid book worm ever stop reading? Not ‘til their eyes fall out. I kept on at it. I read more and more books by many great writers. It wasn’t until college that I discovered the works of Latino writers like Sandra Cisneros, Luis Rodriguez, and Gary Soto—all writers that described the raw image of growing up Mexican in a Spanish barrio. I was able to find a part of myself in every single one of their stories. But I couldn’t find the whole “me.” All the Latino stories I read had a protagonist that either crossed the border as an illegal immigrant or lived in a gang. Where was the Latina who just wanted to go to school and make something of her life? Where was the girl that grew up in a non-traditional way? The girl that was neither Mexican nor American but just a person? Where was she? Her story didn’t exist…..until I created it.
At 19, I started writing Esperanza—a story of a 14-year old Latina struggling to make it out of the barrio by pursuing an education. I had just finished high school, so it was fairly easy to capture the voice of a teenager. What was interesting enough was the fact that my main character and I were both going to school at the same time. She was trying to get through high school, and I was trying to get through college. Finding the time to write was a bit of a challenge considering I was taking 12-15 units a semester and had no home computer. I wrote mainly on the weekends and any other day I had off from school.
It took about a year and half for me to finish Esperanza’s story. At that time, my plan was to put the hard copy to rest by laying it on top of a high shelf and let it collect dust forever. But then something inside me sparked. Why not just pitch it to some publishers to see what happens? What have you got to lose? I thought.
So I started writing my letters. I wrote to about 20 or 30 different publishers; most of them came back rejected; some didn’t even come back at all.
“Oh, well, no harm done,” I said.
I was about to give up for good when the editor of Floricanto Press called me up and requested to see the manuscript for Esperanza.
“Sure,” I said.
About four months later, I was offered a contract. Two and half years later, Esperanza: A Latina Story was born into a paperback.
One thing many of you might not be aware of was that during the publishing process, I was still going to school at Cal State Fullerton. The book was published before I even graduated.
So was the impossible dream truly impossible?
For me, it was more of an unrealized idea that lay dormant somewhere in the back of my head until a trip through college woke it up. And it hasn’t been able to sleep since then.
One copy of Beyond the Gardens will be given away at the end of the tour to the blog reader who visits the most blogs hosting Sandra Lopez throughout her tour and leaves a question or comment for Sandra at each blog.
TOUR IS AS FOLLOWS
for Beyond the Gardens by Sandra Lopez:
Monday April 26 Bonnie S. Mata http://authoroffaith.blogspot.com/
Tuesday April 27 Mayra Calvani http://www.examiner.com/x-6309-Latino-Books-Examiner
Wednesday April 28 Christina Rodriguez http://www.christinarodriguez.com/
Thursday April 29 Lori Calabrese http://loricalabrese.com/blog/
Friday April 30 Mary Jo http://writerinspired.wordpress.com/
Monday May 3 Erin O'Riordan http://www.erinoriordan.blogspot.com/
Tuesday May 4 Joylene Nowell Butler http://cluculzwriter.blogspot.com/
Wednesday May 5 Terri Lee-Johnson http://www.browngirlspeaks.com/book-speak.html
Thursday May 6 Romina Tybitt http://www.mamaxxi.blogspot.com/
Friday May 7 Leslie Toledo http://thatchickthatreads.blogspot.com/
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