GCC Presents…… Caridad Ferrer

I’m thrilled to be touring Caridad Ferrer and her book When The Stars Go Blue.

About the Book:

A dancer driven to succeed.

A musical prodigy attempting to escape his past.

The summer they share.

And the moment it all goes wrong.

Dance is Soledad Reyes’s life. About to graduate from Miami’s Biscayne High School for the Performing Arts, she plans on spending her last summer at home teaching in a dance studio, saving money, and eventually auditioning for dance companies. That is, until fate intervenes in the form of fellow student Jonathan Crandall who has what sounds like an outrageous proposition: Forget teaching. Why not spend the summer performing in the intense environment of the competitive drum and bugle corps? The corps is going to be performing Carmen, and the opportunity to portray the character of the sultry gypsy proves too tempting for Soledad to pass up, as well as the opportunity to spend more time with Jonathan, who intrigues her in a way no boy ever has before.

But in an uncanny echo of the story they perform every evening, an unexpected competitor for Soledad’s affections appears: Taz, a member of an all-star Spanish soccer team. One explosive encounter later Soledad finds not only her relationship with Jonathan threatened, but her entire future as a professional dancer.

And now for the usual questions:

What inspired the plot for your book?
The primary inspiration is Bizet’s famed opera, CARMEN, probably the most popular opera in history. Even people who swear they’ve never heard a note of opera, have in all likelihood, heard something from CARMEN because its music has permeated pop culture to a huge extent. And the story the music supports is absolutely fantastic– a love triangle with passion, betrayal, forbidden attraction… it’s pretty much got it all. Another important component of my version is the setting, which is competitive drum and bugle corps, an activity with which I was heavily involved as an adolescent. It’s an intense and passionate pursuit– the sort of thing you have to really love in order to do it, because of the massive amounts of work involved. I’d been looking for an opportunity to set a book in that world and reimagining Carmen within a contemporary setting just seemed to provide the perfect fodder.

Why did you decide to write in this genre?
Um, because my then-agent told me it was a good idea and told me there was an editor looking for Latina-themed YA? Luckily, I discovered that I have both a knack for writing in the genre and a true love for writing it.

What is your writing process like?
I’m a very linear writer– I start at the beginning and go to the end. I’m also a hybrid pantser/plotter, pantsing my way through the first several chapters, then, once I have a decent grasp of the story and characters, I’ll stop and write a chapter-by-chapter outline for the rest of the novel. And I also have music playing. Lots and lots of music!

What are you working on now?
I just finished an adult manuscript, set in the 1960s, now I’ve switched gears completely, going back to YA and tackling some new things– writing in third person POV and with a hint of paranormal. I do so like a challenge.

What do you do when you’re not writing?
I love to read, of course, and watch TV and films. I play with my dogs and putter about in the kitchen, trying new recipes and lately, I’ve really enjoyed exploring my new hometown of Seattle.

Who do you like to read?
Armistead Maupin, C.S. Harris/C.S. Graham, Gail Carriger, Matthew Pearl, Victoria Dahl, Elizabeth Hoyt– really just so many authors, like my music loves, I could go on and on.

Caridad Ferrer is a first generation, bilingual Cuban-American, whose young adult debut, Adiós to My Old Life won the Romance Writers of America’s 2007 RITA® for Best Contemporary Single Title Romance as well as being named to the 2009 Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults list, awarded by the ALA. Her second novel, It’s Not About the Accent was released in 2007 with Publisher’s Weekly stating, “…this twisting book amply rewards readers.”

She has also contributed to the anthology, Fifteen Candles: 15 Tales of Taffeta, Hairspray, Drunk Uncles, and Other Quinceañera Stories. Her newest young adult novel, When the Stars Go Blue, is a contemporary retelling of Bizet’s Carmen, and will be released by Thomas Dunne Books in November 2010. Booklist calls it, “Beautifully written, with contemporary characters and an engaging story line.”

Check out Caridad here: http://caridadferrer.com/

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