LATINA Book Club: Q & A with Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez
10/20/2010 - 10:30 ||
Bestselling author Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez is back and bearing an extra special gift for readers just in time for the holiday season. Her seventh novel, The Three Kings (on sale Nov. 9th), is a romantic comedy following successful interior designer, Christy de la Cruz, as she reenters the dating scene after a divorce. She becomes involved with not one, not two, but three guys. Get a sneak-peak of the novel in the November issue of Latina!
We caught up with Valdes-Rodriguez and she dished about her latest work, her very personal link to the novel, and the possibility of The Dirty Girls Social Club coming to a TV screen near you.
Why did you name your seventh novel, The Three Kings?
It’s a Christmas book and my lead character Christy is sort of a Latina Scrooge and she has important lessons to learn during the holiday season. My father grew up in Cuba and, of course, in Cuba the big celebration for kids is Three Kings Day instead of Christmas Day. I use The Three Kings because she dates three men in the book who are all cousins with the last name Reyes (which means kings) so it’s a double entendre.
What can readers expect from your latest novel?
It’s a fun book! I wanted it to be a light-hearted and fun book with a positive and uplifting message. Hopefully, it’s funny too. It’s quick, moving, romantic… all that stuff.
The novel contains humor and deals with love. How do you handle both in The Three Kings?
It follows a romantic comedy storyline. My lead character is recently divorced and she’s wondering what she did wrong. Her marriage went really badly so she’s reading The Rules and trying to figure out how to do it right this time.
What is a Rules Girl?
This book, The Rules, is very old-fashioned. It gives women dating advice; don’t have too many opinions, always dress in a feminine way, make sure you always have heels and makeup. Some of the book is valuable, but some of it is just too old fashioned. A theme that I have running through the book is the value of certain traditions. On the one hand Christy’s coming to terms with where she comes from—a Mexican-American family—but on the other hand, there are other traditions it’s okay to let go of if you want to be happy (like always wearing heels).
What happens between the main character Christy and her ex-husband Zach?
That’s unfortunately taken from my real life. Zach does to Christy what my husband did to me, which is tell her that he’s gay in order to get a divorce. It’s not true, but in his warped mind he thought that it would be an easier way to get out of a marriage and still be friends, than just saying, "I don’t like you anymore." So she’s struggling with accepting that her husband of many years is gay and he’s giving her this illusion that he is. When it was happening in real life it was horrible, but in retrospect it’s so funny. It’s just so pathetic that a guy would do that, so I had to put it in a book.
Have any other real life experiences influenced the characters and scenarios taking place within The Three Kings?
Definitely! I feel like in a lot of ways it’s a very personal book for me because it’s set in my hometown and my mom’s family is from New Mexico, back to the 1400s with land grants from the King of Spain. I was the only one of my cousins to go to college and Christy has a feeling that to be successful she has to cut herself off from her family and where they come from. I went through all of that when I was younger only to realize later how beautiful and amazing my family is. I think a lot of us go through that when you’re the only one to go to college. It’s a weird dynamic.
What other plans do you have coming up?
I’m very excited because NBC bought The Dirty Girls Social Club and it’s being developed right now for a TV series to launch next fall. Fingers-crossed that that happens. There are a lot of hurdles still to cross. It’s closer than it’s ever been and Ann Lopez (George Lopez’s soon to be ex-wife) is involved. The writer is Luisa Leschin, who is a writer from The George Lopez Show. That’s very exciting! Then I have a young adult series with Latino kids that launches next year called The Kindred. It’s a three book series about a girl who finds her soul mate and he happens to be dead—he’s a ghost. I’m pretty excited about that too!