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:
Luz Maria Mack was born in Villa Mella, Dominican Republic, and immigrated to the United States as a young child with her family. She comes from a loving and big family that is a recipe for laughter and lots of beautiful memories. Luz is a Dominican Children’s author who earned a Masters’s degree in Public Administration from Metropolitan College of New York and works as a healthcare professional in New York City.
What and when started your love for writing?
It all started when my daughters got into private schools, and my youngest daughter realized she was different! Like many young kids, standing out did not feel good. She was very aware of the fact that she stood out in so many ways.
She wanted to be just like her friends, who had cute short blond hair, and vanilla skin. One day she asked me if we could please take matters into our hands, dye her hair blonde, cut it short, and blow dry it straight. I still remember those big brown eyes, with her puffed updo hairstyle, tugging my hand for us to do this right away! In her mind, there was no time to waste.
I remember freaking out inside because I remember this feeling of wanting to be like everyone else so well. I couldn’t help but think of my desperate cry for help with my mother when I was young. I remember asking her what did I have to do to get her bright green eyes? She had tricked me into believing that if I ate all my vegetables, my eyes would turn from coffee to green in no time. Later in life, I realize that no matter how much vegetables I ate, my eyes did not turn from brown to look like my mother’s bright green eyes.
That day I convinced my daughter she was beautiful and didn’t need to dye her hair blonde. The next day when I dropped her off at school, I spoke to one of her teachers and confided in her how my youngest was feeling. The teacher encouraged me to show my daughter’s pictures of family members and important historical figures that look like them.
I started a new bedtime routine, by showing the girls pictures of all their family members. My late grandmother, grandmothers, aunts, cousins, and telling them stories about their families. I then started showing them pictures of historical figures from Harriet Tubman, Mirabal Sisters, Celia Cruz, Mrs. Obama, and the list goes on! You can say that bedtime turns into storytelling about everything but most importantly people that look like us and share our stories.
My children’s curiosity led them to know if my husband and I were anything like them when we were little and had similar experiences, although one of their parents grew up in a different country. My first children’s book Pequeña María/ Little María, was born out of this curiosity and why I became a writer.
Of all of the book genres, what drew you to write about yours?
I enjoyed reading books to my kids when they were younger, and I remember how much I enjoyed reading to them. I remember my oldest daughter loved reading the book “Guess How Much I Love You” by Sam Mc Bratney, and my son and I enjoyed “Llama Llama Red Pajama” by Anna Dewdney. That’s when I realized that I didn’t see any books that depict children of color and books that speak to our communities. When I wrote my first book, I saw what it did to my kids, and to me, it was a domino effect of positivity.
If you could meet your favorite Latinx/Hispanic author, who would it be and why?
I would love to meet Paulo Coelho and Julia Alvarez because they are my favorite authors.
How has your Latinx/Hispanic background and culture shaped what you write and how you write?
Pequeña María/ Little María is reminiscent of my childhood growing up in the Dominican Republic. In the first book, María shares with viewers all the fun things she likes to do! In the second book you find María and her siblings discover fun ways to work together as a family. At the same time, they help out with housework and small backyard farming chores. In the third book ¡Pequeña Maria Descubre su baile! Little María discovers her dance! In this loving story, our María learns various cultural dances and finds her favorite dance genre in the midst of that.
What book do you think everyone should read is based (or inspired by) around Latinx/
One of my favorite writers is Paulo Coelho and his book, “The Alchemist.” One of my favorite writers is Paulo Coelho and his book, “The Alchemist.” This book reminds me so much of being a little girl in the Dominican Republic and how we all dream to travel, discover the world, and yearn for financial opportunities to better our living situation. The writer captured the feeling of having nothing and learning how you have everything once you follow your dreams.
What makes your book(s)/writing special?
The María books are special to me because they are based on my childhood, and the other books that I have written have been inspired by unique moments in my life. I feel that each book I have written is a window to my inner child and my family.
So…what are you working on now?
I am excited to share that next year, in the Fall of 2022, my new book will be released via Soaring Kite Books. This book is dear and near to my heart, and can’t wait for it to be out! Please make sure to stay tuned.
Best of luck to new book release Luz! Thank you for sharing your wonderful story and books with me and my readers! You can get in contact or connect with her through:
Live. Love. Laugh.
Thank you all for reading and remember: