Monday, January 4, 2010

Research for Katie

Good Morning!

Since SF is regrouping after another vacation, I thought I’d hijack the blog and post a bunch. This is working out well since being on vacation myself is driving me batty, and I am in one of those “waiting” phases.

Here is my dilemma of the day:

My first book detailed crushing on boys, kissing on boys, adoring lipgloss, selling makeup, and thinking about food. And therefore, required no research :-) (except a teensy bit of chemistry research as it applies to the properties in lipgloss)

My second book, however, is making me have to do some. I am finding this both interesting - in the looking for source books, and horrible - in having to actually read them.

In this second book (with a killer premise and a sucky title) my MC is Latino. And, since I am not, I am concerned about her voice. I have started to read anything and everything Latino I can find. But, I am still not sure if I should attempt this.

Of course I probably will, because that's just how I roll - daredevil writing and all.

So, If you know of any really good books about Latino characters OR written by Latino authors, please recommend them in the comments. Oh! And don’t forget I like to read (and write) cute and funny. Or, creative and artsy. No depressing historical books, please. AND, if you want to tell me about your own research tactics, bring it!!!! I'd love to hear some stories :-)

Alrighty then. See ya soon!



Stephanie Fey said...

Oh, Katie! I'm not sure you're going to like this!

I hold somewhat to what worked for Charles Dickens: flesh out the characters by acting them out. Some reality, but with a liberal dose of fantasy. I don't hold too much to facts and truth, as I think that people turn them into something else and something more fantastic inside. So I'm happy to let them take ridiculous turns in their character and behaviour, so long as it feels right.

However, those turns still needs to work in terms of the premise, of course.

I hope this helps. Although I suspect that the thought of you pretending to be latino is sticking in your throat somewhat! And yet I may be wrong ...

Best wishes,

Steph Fey x

ElanaJ said...

My research tactics? Find someone smarter than me and ask them what I need to know. Srsly. I've also made friends with people who actually enjoy researching and they do some for me, just because they can't help themselves. ;-)

So far, so good.

Tere Kirkland said...

LOL! I love Isabelle Allende, but I'm sure her style is a bit dated compared to what you're going for. Ditto, Laura Esquivel.

I'd recommend Julia Alvarez's How the Garcia Girls Lost their Accents, if you haven't read it.

I'm "pretending" to be a Romani girl right now, so I feel your pain.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

I'm not coming up with any, right off the top of my head, but I'll give it some thought. If I think of something, I'll be back! :-)

Lisa and Laura said...

Lisa just read Perfect Chemistry--the male character is Latino, I think--and she loved it. When I was student teaching way back when, a friend of mine taught a book called Romiette and Julio. She loved teaching it! It was probably written years ago, but you might want to check it out.

Good can totally pull this off. I LOVE writing diverse characters. It's so much more fun...not to mention realistic.

jessjordan said...

Hmmm ... isn't the boy in Perfect Chemistry Latino? I feel so uncultured ...

Tamika: said...

I feel your dilemna. My MC is Italian and African American, and the other supporting characters are Italian. It is a far stretch from my comfort zone.

Thank God for the internet!

Christine Fonseca said...

Good luck...I am sure you can find stuff. A friend read Romiette and Julio - a romeo and juliet story with a twist. She is african american and he is hispanic and there is a lot of drama regarding their relationship - - - warning, it is a little dark! (but the voice is pretty right on)

Little Ms J said...

Congrats on the WIP. I grew up in Florida, which is a melting pot and I had very few white friends. They were all Dominican, Puerto Rican, Costa Rican and Cuban. The very best advice I could EVER give you is to make friends with a Latina. I was so mad that I was white. They have so many beautiful traditions and customs that have to be experienced.

Irene Latham said...

Best tactic I know of for writing in a voice from a different culture: LISTEN. Find audio of Latino authors or friends or teachers talking. You will soon find that voice singing you to sleep at night... happened to me with LEAVING GEE'S BEND.

Lori W. said...

One of my favorite writers is Luis Alberto Urrea. His book Six Different Kinds of Sky is beautiful.

I teach English as a Second Language to a largely hispanic population and books by Sandra Cisneros and Gary Soto appear on our reading lists often.

I think Irene's comment is great. You might see if you can find a Podcast or read interviews w/Latino students, etc. If I think of any other books, I'll get back to you.

Solvang Sherrie said...

Katie, this is so funny. I've been wanting to do this ever since I read Julia Alvarez, especially since I'm half Latina -- is there such a thing? My mother is from Nicaragua and my father is from Jamaica. So I've got this whole mixed up crazy background. I think I need to call you :)

Kimberly Derting said...

I don't have anything new to add, I just wanted to pop in and say hi (my internet vacation is over and I miss all my friends!). I liked Irene's advice, and after reading LEAVING GEE'S BEND, she must be onto something!!!

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