I recently returned to New Jersey from a little over a week in Washington, DC. I was originally there to do a book talk and signing with mi familia OYE (Organization for Youth Empowerment – Honduras) at The Potter’s House. I ended up receiving an invitation from the DC Mayor’s Office on Latino Affairs to share Deficient at the Latino Book Festival from October 7-8.
The Potter’s House event was a full house with people in the audience from many phases of my life – high school, college, and international experiences with the Luce and Mitchell Scholarship Programs and OYE. I was overwhelmed with love and support. Patriece Nelson did an excellent job as MC, and Justin Eldridge Otero shared information about OYE. The audience asked several questions about my connections with Honduras and how my experience working with young people influenced the book. They also wanted to know if there would be a sequel. 😊
Kiana Stockwell and I got our creativity on when planning. We had a beautiful outdoor sign, and inside The Potter’s House we had purple balloons, large posters of the characters and book map, and an interactive board where people could write down their superpowers. OYE sold t-shirts, and I shared free bookmarks and character trading cards. We also had a raffle for a free book and t-shirt giveaway (congratulations to Mayra for winning!).
The book events are getting a little juicier now that there are people in the audience who have read the book and can engage with the content. There is always a balance to strike between answering questions and trying not to spoil the reading experience for those who have yet to read the book. After the event, I met up separately with a few friends who wanted to discuss the characters, plot, and sources of inspiration in greater detail, which I am always happy to do.
I had a day to collect myself before the Latino Book Festival. The event was held at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library with writers, poets, dancers, artists, and book lovers in attendance. I was the only author of young adult science-fiction, and I had the opportunity to read several passages from Deficient while in excellent company.
I loved connecting with so many people who form part of the diverse tapestry of Latino/Latina/Latinx identities. The book festival was a fantastic way to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month. It also had me reflecting on how my own Mexican American heritage and experiences living and working across Latin America have played a role in Deficient.
I left DC feeling like I gave it my best. The Potter’s House event was a great success, and the store is now selling copies of Deficient. The Latino Book Festival was a wonderful way to meet other writers and artists and share our work with a wider audience. I’m already missing DC and hope to be back soon.
Now that I’m back in New Jersey, I have a few more book events to prepare for (including La Fiesta celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month at Roxbury Public Library on October 12th), but I’m feeling motivated and ready. I love speaking to others about the book, and I hope to continue sharing it with as many people as possible while also carving out invaluable time for more writing. (For updates on my future events, check out this link).