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1. Where did you grow up? I grew up in the Bay Area. I lived in Oakland, CA throughout my school years.   That’s why “The Cry of the Jabiru” begins in Oakland. I lived in New York City for three years and returned to Oakland when I was six. That’s why the main character departs to Brazil from New York.


2. Are Enzo and Luna, the dogs in the book, your dogs? No, they’re my sister’s dogs, but they spent lots of time    with me.


3. Does Enzo really chase airplanes? Yes.


4. What made you decide to write a book that has foreign languages, Spanish, and Portuguese phrases and words? I wanted to do something different. The ultimate objective was to get the reader interested in learning and speaking a foreign language someday, as well as traveling and appreciating other cultures.


5. You didn’t aspire to be a writer. What was your profession prior to becoming an author? I was a teacher. I taught middle school and high school.


6. What made you write a book that takes place in Brazil? I was fascinated with Brazil as a child. The many trips I took there as an adult led me to use my imagination to create a story that includes Afro-Brazilian culture, the animals in the Pantanal, folklore, magic and carnival.


7. Will there be a sequel to TCOTJ? Absolutely! TCOTJ is the first book that's part of a trilogy. The next book will be set in another country and will be published early next year.


8. Why was fear one of the themes in the book? We all have fears. It begins when we’re children. I wanted the reader to learn how to control and conquer a fear one might have.


9. You write about foods, customs and traditions from the Brazilian and Puerto Rican cultures in TCOTJ. Why did you include this? The main character is Puerto Rican and Brazilian. I wanted the reader to be introduced to different cultures and learn about its traditions and customs.


10. The students from the fifth-grade classroom in TCOTJ  are from different parts of the world. Does this reflect your class when you were in the fifth grade? In part, yes. Mostly, it reflects the high school students I taught. I worked in a very culturally diverse high school.


11. Did you pull from experiences in your childhood in TCOTJ? Yes, some. The eighth-grade prank actually happened when I was in the second grade. As an adult, I had taught my middle school students the Filipino folk dance, Tinikling, after learning it from Filipino artists. Some parts of the story I saw and experienced in Brazil through the Afro-Brazilian percussion groups and carnival.


12. Why do you think that TCOTJ is a suspenseful fantasy? The magic in the story is fantasy, but the plots are suspenseful, unexpected and they leave the reader wondering what will happen next. 


13. What did you learn about yourself writing the TCOTJ? I learned that writing for me is healing. It takes me to a place in my mind where I can, not only be creative, but I can dissolve negative emotions and replace them with positive ones. Whenever I write, it makes me feel happy. 






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