Love is whatever you can still betray. Betrayal can only happen if you love. – John le Carre
In a tragic set of circumstances, one young woman is thrust into a world of grief and much more when she loses her mother unexpectedly on the streets of Chicago. In Neva Squires-Rodriguez’s first novel in her debut series Liliana, readers will travel to a foreign land where a father/daughter relationship isn’t typical, where danger awaits and one boy comes along who appears to be the man of Liliana’s dreams. However, one trusting girl learns in the worst way possible, that things are not at all what they seem.
Interviewer: Christy Campbell
Tell us about your current release in the Liliana series
In my current release, Liliana, I came up with the idea for the story after a series of reoccurring dreams. I developed the story over time and after submitting my story to the publisher, I was asked to extend the story into a three book series, which was extremely exciting for me.
What inspired you to write the story of a girl who quite unexpectedly is thrown into tragedy?
I believe that all of our lives are full of struggle. Sometimes it takes looking at someone else’s life to make us realize that our own life is not so bad. This is exactly what I attempted in Liliana. My goal was to present a character that was very weak and that the audience could witness growth over time. The book has tons of twists that are guaranteed to leave the reader on edge. My reason for doing this is that life often has a series of unexpected events that are bestowed upon us and I wanted my story to be realistic in that respect. My goal was to captivate the reader and I hope that you will agree in saying that my goal was successful.
How did you feel about entering the young adult genre, since the demand is so high right now for voracious teen readers?
I’m very excited about entering the young adult genre, mostly because it is amazing that so many are still reading books and intrigued by them. It’s fascinating to me to hear about voracious teen readers, because that ultimately shows what hard work their parents and guardians- or teachers put into them in raising them and introducing the world of fiction (and non-fiction) to them.
Were there any particular life experiences that helped you create young Liliana?
Yes, sure, I’ve had my own struggles and my own share of relationships that weren’t what they originally seemed to be. What can I say? We learn from our experiences. In my case many of my own experiences inspired me to write the story of Liliana, although I’d have to say that her experiences are much-much more extreme then my own.
A debut novel is an exciting time for an author. What was the most unexpected thing that happened after your book hit the presses?
It is very exciting and continues to be. Sadly, I was expecting all of my family and friends who read Liliana to go online to rate it. Silly me. I received emails and text messages from friends telling me how great they thought the book was, but when I asked that they left a review on Amazon so that I could get my ratings up, very few of them did. If I didn’t have such a strong personality, I would be devastated. It still kind of hurts and is surprising.
Family and friends are so important in providing both positive feedback and constructive criticism. What family members are closest to you and how have they supported your writing career.
Definitely agreed here, my mother has always been closest to me and helped support my writing career by buying four of my books and passing out fliers in her neighborhood – my old neighborhood letting store owners and friends know all about my book. My new friend Tamara Philip, who I co-authored a holiday novel with, has also been very supportive and it helps to vent with her about all the things that new authors go through, especially in working with an independent publisher.
What was your favorite book or author growing up?
I adored V.C. Andrews books growing up. I can’t remember if it was Ruby that hooked me or one prior to that. I know I started mid-series and had to go back to catch up on everything. I always stayed up late reading Andrews books after purchasing them, hiding out under my covers with a flashlight as I made my way through each chapter. If only we had e-readers back then! Later in life I was introduced to Jane Austen and became a big fan of her books as well. I would have to say that Persuasion by Jane Austen is a favorite of mine.
Are there any writers out there, past or present who have given you the inspiration to make the dream come true?
Definitely, I am a big fan of Audre Lorde’s Poetry is Not a Luxury and Redondillas by Sor Juana Ines De La Cruz (look up the translated version it is amazing, especially given the time it was written), Adrienne Rich, Shakespeare and, of course, Jane Austen.
When you’re taking time away from that manuscript, what are some hobbies that you enjoy?
My only hobby is writing. I have four children of my own and a step-son that comes to visit us every now and again (he’s 22) so my life is very busy. Besides this I work a full time job and a part time job, so when I’m at home and find some time for myself, I’m either writing or sleeping-not too much of anything else.
Many writers like to listen to music while writing; it can really play into the creative process. Are there any lyrics to a song that stuck in your head while putting together your story?
I often write during my lunch hour, or at a local area play land for kids, so I may hear other people talking in the background or screaming, depending on which of the two I’m located at, however I do have to say that an inspiring lyric that I keep in my head is one from the “Then” Puff Daddy, “Satisfy You” single that said at one point, “I can’t impress you with the cars and the wealth ‘Cause any woman with will and drive can get it herself.”
Let’s switch gears. Right off the bat, tell us the most impulsive thing you’ve done in your life that you just might portray in a character.
Impulsive, let’s see… While on a trip to Mexico with three of my girlfriends, we swam out to the base of a waterfall. That experience was amazing. While I was scared to death to do it, I think if my character did it, it would come very naturally to him or her. Hmm… I think you just gave me an idea for a new book. I have so many ideas and not enough time to write them out
Are there any websites you like to spend time on—both for business and pleasure?
Definitely Goodreads and Twitter. I find such good stuff there. Lately I have been really impressed with fellow Tweeters’ pictures that are posted – such miraculous breathtaking photography.
Where can readers learn more about Neva Squires-Rodriguez and Liliana?
On my Blog:
On my Amazon Author page:
And on Goodreads: