When author Marisel Vera announced that she would be moving to Switzerland, I asked her to sit down with La Bloga and tell us a little about how her year as a début novelist has gone. I had the pleasure of meeting Marisel at AWP in Chicago, earlier this year. I was impressed by her dedication to her craft. No doubt, Marisel Vera will grace us with another wonderful novel.
Q: Melinda Palacio:
What prompted your upcoming move to Switzerland and how do you feel about your new adventure?
A: Marisel Vera:
I'm very excited to start this adventure which came along unexpectedly when my husband was offered a temporary assignment. I've always wanted to live in Europe, although I was thinking Paris, but it only takes four hours by train to get to Paris from Zurich. My Spanish has improved greatly due to all the documents and books about Puerto Rico that I've had to read for my research. I see this move to Europe as an opportunity to improve my French and learn a little German. If I Bring You Roses is being published in Italy next year. Maybe I should learn a half dozen Italian phrases too!
Your book has been out for a year now. Can you tell La Bloga what has been the most exciting thing about being seeing your book in print?
My novel, If I Bring You Roses, was published a year ago this month by Grand Central Publishing. The most gratifying part of my journey, as a published author, has been having readers tell me how much they loved my novel. My good fortune has included discussing If I Bring You Roses for Las Comadres Book Club. It's a little surreal to go from discussing books in a book club group to having my novel featured as the book choice. For my book debut, my actress daughter, Alyssa Vera Ramos, performed a staged reading with another actor of a chapter of my novel. It was thrilling to have my characters come to life before me. The performance can be found on my website, www.mariselvera.com.
Tell us about your current book. Any hints at what the new novel will be about?
I have always been drawn to writing about the Puerto Rican diaspora. If I Bring You Rosesis about the first wave of Puerto Ricans who migrated to Chicago in the 1950s. My new novel takes place in 1900 and follows the Puerto Rican migration to Hawaii. It's not well-known that over 5,000 boricuas made that long journey to work in the sugarcane plantations and I wanted to share this overlooked history.
Gracias, Marisel. Is there anything else you'd like to share with La Bloga?
Marisel Vera and Melinda Palacio at AWP 2012 in Vera's hometown, Chicago.
Another writing project, that will be a little more spontaneous, is a blog about my move to Switzerland this fall for my husband's job. I'm thinking about calling it An American in Zurich since it will be about my ex-pat experiences there. Readers will be able to follow me on www.mariselvera.com or Facebook. In a few weeks, I'll start my blog with my visit to the Swiss embassy in Chicago to get my Swiss visa. Just the other day, I had to go to my local police station to get fingerprinted for the FBI to do a background check in order for me to get my visa. I always thought that only criminals were fingerprinted so I was a little nervous walking into that police station.
I'm sad to leave Chicago and my family and friends, but I'm looking forward to writing about my failures and successes.