Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Latino Authors - Alex Sanchez

Author Alex Sanchez, has published seven YA novels. Is debut Rainbow Boys was published in 2003. His most recent novel Bait was published in 2009.

Bait is the first book by Sanchez that I've read, and I loved it. 16yr Diego is arrested for assaulting a gay classmate. Bait is a must add to any library any time, though its especially relevant now when LGBT teen suicides seem to be on the news nightly.

Alex Sanchez was kind enough to give following response about his writing and personal experiences with publishing. If you missed it - More Latino Authors Please/necesitamos mas autores Latinos

Alex Sanchez Speaks

I thought Mayra’s article was great! As an author, when I create characters and stories,
I strive to be as specific about culture and nationality as the story allows. Details matter.
They make the story real. But at the same time, I need to remember that many Latinos
or Hispanics in the US are often a blend of cultures, nationalities, ethnicity's, and races
rather than one specific nationality.

In my case, I was born in Mexico of a German-Mexican dad and a Cuban mom. My
family moved to the melting pot US when I was five. Later, I lived in Costa Rica for
several years and I now divide my time between the US and Thailand. So, what does
that make me? For the most part I simply consider myself Latino more often than either
Cuban or Mexican because I think that broader term captures more accurately the bits and
pieces of several cultures and countries that form my identity.

Reality is that defining ourselves and others is complex. Faced with that complexity, we
look for ways to simplify. Witness the case of our current president. Obama is black,
white, Kenyan, Indonesian, Pacific Islander, and American. And yet most people tend
to simply label him as “black.” In that case, what does “black” really mean? His cultural
background is vastly different from that of so many other black people.

I struggled a lot with cultural identity growing up, trying to figure out who I was. I often
felt like a “jack of all cultures, master of none.” Many young people today grow up
with similar experiences of joined cultures, mixed races, blended families, combined
nationalities, varying religions. Fortunately for them, the US has become amazingly more
accepting of diversity than when I grew up.

And in spite of current media-fueled anti-immigrant voices, our country will continue to
become more diverse. Cultural globalization is a wave that can’t be stopped, driven and
facilitated by rapidly changing technologies.

How do Latino authors fit into this? If we want more publishers to publish more of our
stories, we need to get beyond the stereotypical “poor immigrant moves up from the
barrio” story. Although that’s an important story, we’re much more complex and diverse
than that one story. We need to move out of that ghetto we’ve bought into and write all
sorts of stories in all sorts of settings in which the characters just happen to be Latino.

That’s what I’ve tried to do with the Latino protagonists in my books. And I believe
that’s what will push us into the mainstream. We need to accept that we as Latinos, in all
our complexity and diversity, are steadily becoming the mainstream. Our voices need to
reflect that. For more information about my books, visit me at Alex


Anonymous said...

Excellent points, Alex!

Also...I loved BAIT not only because of it's content and importance in these times, but due to your powerful writing. I can't wait for your next book. I've been a fan since day one and remain your fan!

Mayra (Lazara Dole)--challenges logging in...

Helen's Book Blog said...

So awesome to read words from Alex Sanchez! I read God Box recently and LOVED it. I teach at a school that is almost 50% Latino and would love to get more fiction by and about Latinos that don't just deal with quinceneras and immigrant stories :-)