UPDATE: THE WINNER IS LINDA ❤! https://lindasbookbag.com/
This week is the one-year anniversary of The Sisters of Alameda Street, which was one of my favorite books in 2017! Lorena Hughes is joining my blog today and I’m hosting a giveaway of a signed book (hardcover) for USA, UK & Canada. You have 1 week to enter!
The Sisters of Alameda Street has all the ingredients you could possibly want in a novel: mystery, drama, humor, and even some romance. It’s fantastic! During this past year, I’ve enjoyed getting to know Lorena a bit more through e-mails, and she’s become my inspiration!
Can you tell us more about The Sisters of Alameda Street and the journey to publication?
The Sisters of Alameda Street is a generational saga set in my native Ecuador that flits between the 1930s and the 1960s. It’s a blend of mystery, tango dancing, and hidden romances.
The novel tells the story of Malena Sevilla, a young woman with two goals in life: to become as good a nurse as her late mother had been (her aversion to blood is just one minor detail, in her opinion) and to be the perfect daughter to her mathematical-genius father. What isn’t in the blueprint is her father’s dramatic and unexpected suicide. Nor did she anticipate to find a letter (signed with an A) which reveals that her mother is still alive and just ten hours away.
Searching for answers, Malena takes the next bus to San Isidro—a quaint town tucked in the Andes Mountains—and arrives at Alameda Street, where she meets four sisters who couldn’t be more different from one another, but who share one thing in common: all of their names begin with an A. To avoid a scandal, Malena assumes another woman’s identity, a tactic that goes against every ethical rule she’d ever been taught, but one she is willing to bend to find her mother. However, living a lie will bring Malena a new set of problems, such as falling for a forbidden man and loving a family she may lose when they discover her deceit. What’s worse, the truth she so craves may wreck her life forever.
The book took nearly 20 years from conception to finish product because I’d originally conceived it as a Latin American soap opera. When I married and moved to the US, I realized that my best chance to get this story out into the world would be to write it as a novel in English. Little did I know that it would take three critique groups, three complete rewrites, two agents, and many rejection letters to finally find a home at Skyhorse Publishing in 2017!
What is your writing routine? Has it changed during the last few years?
I normally write during the day while my kids are at school. When I started this project, they were very little so I wrote during their nap time, but now that they are older I have more flexibility and longer periods of writing.
What are you working on at the moment?
At the moment, I’m revising a historical mystery about a Spanish woman who inherits her father’s cocoa plantation in Ecuador in 1919. During her travels across the Atlantic, a man tries to murder her and ends up killing her husband. Terrified about what awaits her in an unknown land, she dresses up as her husband and arrives to a Coastal town known as Little Paris because of its resemblance to the French capital. There, she meets three siblings she didn’t know existed and a couple of other suspicious characters who also live in the hacienda—any of whom could have plotted her murder. In the next few days, she must hastily find enough clues to help her identify her nemesis, if she doesn’t want to be discovered and end up with a similar fate as her husband’s.
How has your life changed since the publication of The Sisters of Alameda Street?
My life is essentially the same, except that now I’m invited to speaking engagements (I had to learn to speak in public very quickly!) Also, people I don’t know sometimes approach me and talk to me about my novel—I love it. This year was very special for me because I met lots of interesting people, including many authors that I admire.
What are your hobbies besides writing?
Dancing (especially salsa and merengue), solving puzzles (no more than 1,000 pieces, please!), reading, and going to the theatre. I also love to draw portraits and paint watercolors.
What are some of your favorite recent reads? And an all-time favorite?
Lately, I’ve been reading a lot of novels by Liane Moriarty. One of my favorites from her is Three Wishes. I love how she infuses humor in otherwise dramatic situations. I also enjoyed Susan Meissner’s Secrets of a Charmed Life—beautifully written. I have many all-time favorites, but one of the books that started my love for literature was a novel by Brazilian author José Mauro de Vasconcelos called My Orange Lemon Plant.