Picture drawn by Maggie Stiefvater, 2009. Header made by S.F. Robertson, 2010.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Blog Tour- The Secret Side of Empty by Maria Andreu

I'm so pleased to be a part of the pre-publication blog tour for The Secret Side of Empty by Marie Andreu. Here's a little bit about the book:

It's the story of a teen girl that is American in every way except for in one very important way: on paper. She was brought to the U.S. as a baby without proper documentation, so she's "illegal." As the end of the safe haven of her high school days draw near, she faces an uncertain future. Full of humor and frustration and love, The Secret Side of Empty speaks to the part in all of us that has felt excluded or has had a secret too scary to share. What M.T., the main character, finally discovers is the strength of the human spirit and the power that's unleashed when you finally live the truth.

and I've got a nice little interview with the author Maria Andreu:

1) What was the inspiration for The Secret Side of Empty?

The Secret Side of Empty is the story of a high school senior who is undocumented or “illegal.” It gives an inside glimpse into a life people don’t usually get to see. What is it like to be considered “illegal” in the only country you’ve ever called home? It presents issues most people don’t even fathom – no social security number, no college, no job, no real future.

I was undocumented as a child and teenager. Unlike M.T., the main character of The Secret Side of Empty, I crossed the Mexican border as an 8-year-old. (She came over as a baby). I vividly remember what it felt like to feel unworthy to be here. As soon as I got my residency papers (thanks to an amnesty) I worked hard to forget all that. But the story kept coming back to me and finally it served as inspiration for The Secret Side of Emtpy.

2) What are you currently working on? Can you tell us anything about it?

I am learning that I like stories about characters that society might consider marginalized. My second novel, which I’m halfway through, is about a girl who enters into what most would consider a bad relationship. I tell it from her perspective, showing how deeply one can feel that the wrong relationship is right for us. It’s a journey of self-discovery and learning to love oneself enough to make good choices. At its heart it is a love story.

Simultaneously I’m also working on a memoir. I like to say both books are racing each other – some days I’m inspired to work on one, on others the other.

3) What's your favorite Jelly Belly jelly bean flavor(s)? Or, if you don't like those, your favorite snack to have while writing or as a reward for writing?

I feel like if you’re asking the jelly bean question jelly beans must be important to you, so I don’t want to dis jelly beans! I don’t have a favorite food, necessarily. I am fairly obsessive about my tea, though. I don’t feel complete without a cup of Earl Gray with lemon and stevia. I’m very particular about my tea preparation. It’s my one “finicky” thing.

4) What book(s) are you currently reading, or are about to start? Any upcoming reads you're excited about?

I am reading Why We Write, which could be the most insanely inspiring book I’ve read in a decade. It’s a series of essays by successful writers about (you guessed it) why they write, as well as the challenges they face. They all come across as so human, so in the process that I’m in, that it bolsters my own confidence in myself as a writer. I think every writer should carry a copy around with them everywhere they go.

I’m also about to start The Willpower Instinct by Kelly McGonigal, PhD. Because… you guessed it… I want to get better about writing more consistently. I write just about every day on my blog but sometimes my long projects can gather dust. Then I go on a bender. I want to make more time for them.

5) Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Pages and pages worth! If I have to condense it it’s this: the main thing that makes you a writer is your decision that you are one. No one needs to give you a special tiara or a certificate that says you are. Craft can be learned, feedback can be sought out, but the decision that you’re going to write is yours alone. There is no “right” way, no one has anything you don’t have. Only you can give the world the unique blend of words that are yours. So get writing.

Read more of my work at http://mariaeandreu.com

Maria's also running an awesome giveaway with this tour. For a chance to win the $250 Amazon gift card, OR the Kindle Fire leave a comment on her blog post for that day. Winners will be randomly selected on September 30th.

Maria’s writing has appeared in Newsweek, The Washington Post and the Star Ledger. Her debut novel, The Secret Side of Empty, is the story of an “illegal” high school senior. It was inspired by Maria’s own experiences as an undocumented teen. Since becoming a citizen, Maria has run her own business and has become a soccer mom. She lives with her 13-year-old daughter and 12-year-old son in northern New Jersey.

Preorder The Secret Side of Empty- http://amzn.to/17LaXLX
Maria Andreu’s website- http://mariaeandreu.com/
Maria Andreu on Twitter: https://twitter.com/WritersideofM
Maria Andreu on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/maria.andreu.books


  1. Great interview!
    I keep holding out hope for that special writer tiara. ;-)

  2. I love reading interviews about authors and learning about their writing. They always say to write what you know and Maria's book is definitely this! Can't wait to read it!

    books4me67 at ymail dot com