Welcome to another Author Spotlight! These spotlights are for showcasing author’s (predominantly women and people of color) writing talents and published works. As you may or may not know, I do themed weeks of prominent holidays/events throughout the year on my site. Every time I do these I always feature other authors (usually ones of color and women). And for Latinx/Hispanic Heritage Month I am trying to feature authors who have Latinx and/or Hispanic backgrounds. So without further ado let’s get on with the Author Spotlight!
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About the Author:
Day Leitao loves to write books with romance, magic, humor, and heart, with characters that jump out the page (sometimes trying to strangle her). She’s originally from Brazil and currently lives in Montreal, Canada.
What and when started your love for writing?
I loved to create stories in my head before I knew how to write. Once I learned it, I didn’t stop. At 9 I started my first novel. It was a novel, pages and pages… Not sure how much I wrote, since it was handwritten… But anyway, I don’t remember a time in my life where I wasn’t creating stories or writing.
Of all of the book genres, what drew you to write about yours?
I think I like the idea of coming of age, and I like fantasy because magic is such an amazing metaphor for many things in our lives, so I think that’s why I write YA fantasy and space opera, both with tons of magic.
If you could meet your favorite Latinx/Hispanic author, who would it be and why?
My favorite Brazilian author is Pedro Bandeira, who’s written dozens of YA novels, many of them truly amazing, unfortunately not translated to English. I don’t know if I’d like to meet him. I’m shy and not much into meeting people. I guess I could ask for some tips, I don’t know.
How has your Latinx/Hispanic background and culture shaped what you write and how you write?
I was born and raised in Brazil, and went to university there. First, I think my reading is a little different, as I read many Brazilian authors, and didn’t read that many Anglophone authors. On TV, I mainly watched telenovelas. I watched them a lot! I think it helped me get a knack for dialogue but also not know when to make characters stop talking. Speaking of telenovelas, Brazilian telenovelas were the topic of my undergrad thesis. My next series uses some telenovela tropes, and I have no idea if it’s going to work or not!
I also think that the usual English trope “character discovers magic”, or “character is shocked that magic exists” doesn’t touch me. Like seriously, duh. I’ve been to ubanda and spiritism centers, I believe in reincarnation, I’ve seen people incorporating spirits, used a cup to talk t spirits (like a ouija board but easier, and highly forbidden and dangerous). No kidding magic exists. I find that it’s even why a lot of Latin American literature is considered “magical realism”. It’s because a lot of our realism is magical. Of course many Brazilians don’t practice or like religions that deal with spirits, but most of them believe in them in some way.
What book do you think everyone should read is based (or inspired by) around Latinx/
I think we should read more books in general from Latin American authors! The culture is so rich. Now, if I have to recommend one, it’s a play called “O Auto da Compadecida”, inspired by traditional Brazilian culture and folklore. There is a book you can buy with it. I don’t think it’s been translated! And good luck to whoever tries to translate it. But there’s a movie, named in English “A Dog’s Will”, which everyone can watch. I love it because it’s about forgiveness and love.
What makes your book(s)/writing special?
That’s a tricky question. Everyone’s writing is unique, and at the same time isn’t, right? I think I have a very close third person point-of-view, which I heard being called first person-third person, which is how I write, and I love to explore the characters’ feelings, and write in an oral language, as if I were transcribing their thoughts to paper. Not sure if it makes it unique, though. Something that might be unique is that I identify with my male characters, so I find that they might be complex, but they won’t fit the mold of “ideal love interest”, since they are also dumbass kids, in a way.
So…what are you working on now?
I’m working on a duology. Book 1 is called Frozen Hearts and Death Magic. For this plot, I took some inspiration from telenovelas (something common all over Latin America). I decided that I wanted to write as myself, and while I hope that people like it and it sells, I can’t let worry freeze me, and I can’t try to fit a mold that’s not me. This duology has one subplot that’s very typical of telenovelas: sweet, lovely girl meets sweet, lovely boy, they fall in love, but then are separated by their evil or misguided family.
It’s not something I read a lot in English books, and when I studied romance beats in English, none of it followed this pattern. I’m not saying I’m writing something unique, I’m just saying I’m more inspired by tropes, plots and stories that would be found in telenovelas than what I’ve been reading in books in English. But I think it’s the first time I said, “Shit, I’ll just be myself.” This is the book: https://www.amazon.com/Frozen-Hearts-Death-Magic-Fire-ebook/dp/B09FZND43J/
I think Day is our first Brazilian Author Spotlight on Win’s Books. Latinx/Hispanic Heritage Month keeps bringing our site more and more first! Thank you Day for taking time to do an interview with me! You can get in contact or connect with Day through her:
Live. Love. Laugh.
Thank you all for reading and remember: