This week on Tuesday Chat we have novelist Priscilla Oliveras, author of “contemporary romance with a Latino flavor,” which frankly sounds outstanding. Her books include His Perfect Partner (October 2017), Her Perfect Affair (April 2018), and Their Perfect Melody (December 2018). I’m so happy to have Priscilla here today on the blog, talking about a subject to keep us warm in this cold weather—family.
Familia in All Its Facets
Many who know me personally or who are familiar with my writing know that family (familia) is an important word in my vocabulary and life.
Family themes weave their way through the stories that bounce around in my head, filtering down to my fingers and onto the keyboard. Along with the romance they encounter, the Fernández sisters in my Matched to Perfection series deal with family issues and concerns as part of their internal and/or external conflict. Like many of us do.
The word itself has shades of meanings. Eschewing Webster’s, I searched Urban Dictionary to see what they might have to say.:
“A group of people, usually of the same blood (but do not have to be), who genuinely love, trust, care about, and look out for each other. Not to be mistaken with relatives sharing the same household who hate each other. REAL family is a bondage that cannot be broken by any means.”
I gotta say, at first, the second sentence made me laugh. But honestly, the word “hate” sealed it for me as far as persuading me to agree.
Most importantly, the last sentence, along with the “do not have to be” caveat in the opening line, resonated with me, providing more fodder for this blog.
You see, in my Latinx culture, familia is more than simply your immediate relatives. It expands and grows to include close friends, neighbors, co-workers, and more.
It’s your community.
Those you can rely on for one thing or another. Those who know they can rely on you for the same.
Your people. Tu gente.
I truly believe we all need “our people” around us. Life has a tendency of surprising us. Okay, let’s be real. It has a tendency to shock the heck out of us, throwing curve balls when we least expect it. Or, maybe bringing the heat with a fastball that has us swinging with all our might to hit the ball out of the park. Sometimes we’re successful; other times we whiff, spinning around and falling on our bums.
Sure, there are moments when it’s your familia that’s making life or you crazy. Oh the number of times I’ve said, “No, Tía, I’m not dating anyone at the moment. Yes, I know I’m not getting any younger.” And, as a mom of three girls, I had my fair share of adolescent highs and lows. But I also recognize the blessing of having a large, loud, vociferous, occasionally nosey group of people who are there for me. No matter what.
Like the definition above alludes to, our tribes come in different shapes and varieties and from all sorts of places.
For me, there’s the familia I live with. Sometimes nerve-wracking. Way more often supportive and encouraging. My biggest cheerleaders, my touchstones for love and luck and faith. Also probably why I should buy stock in L’Oreal hair color. 😉
There’s my writing familia. The peers, mentors, and sister/brother-like friends I’ve made over the course of the twenty-plus years I’ve been pecking away at the keyboard (or banging my head against the wall) doing this thing we call writing.
Through contest finals, losses and wins, to getting “thiiiis close to selling” only to receive the dreaded rejection, on to the joy of my debut release, this familia continues to be a source of inspiration, education, and camaraderie.
In a quirk of fate, when I finally sold my first manuscript, I received a letter in the mail from the President of the company welcoming me to “the Kensington family.” Needless to say, that first line, that specific phrase, solidified for me that I’d made the right choice to sign with Kensington Publishing—now an important aspect of my writing familia.
My ever-expanding circle of people “who genuinely love, trust, care about, and look out for each other” definitely includes my girlfriends and confidantes. The ones I unwind and cook up shenanigans with. There’s also, as funny as this might sound, my zumba peeps—a big part of what helps me fight off stress. We’re a hodge-podge group who have fun shaking our tails together, but we also support one another outside the gym. We’ve celebrated birthdays, shown up to cheer on a fellow zumba-er in a community theater production, and many came out in support of my first book signing.
The bottom line for me is that I’m a big believer in the “no man is an island” concept. Sure, I like some quiet, me time now and again. But writing can be a solitary endeavor, and my familia, in all its facets, keeps me going strong.
My hope for you, as 2018 kicks off and you probably have your list of goals, resolutions, To Dos or whatever you might call them, is that you have a familia in your corner, in whatever variety works to be your source of support, kinship, and love.
PRISCILLA OLIVERAS is a Kensington Publishing author & four-time Golden Heart® finalist who writes contemporary romance with a Latino flavor. Proud of her Puerto Rican-Mexican heritage, she strives to bring authenticity to her novels by sharing her Latino culture with readers. Since earning an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University, she serves as adjunct English faculty at her local college and also teaches an on-line course titled “Romance Writing” for ed2go. Priscilla is a sports fan, a beach lover, a half-marathon runner and a consummate traveler who often practices the art of napping in her backyard hammock. To follow along on her fun-filled and hectic life, visit her on the web at www.prisoliveras.com, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/prisoliveras or on Twitter via @prisoliveras.