One of my ideas for Pitch América was to feature writers who are Latinxs, to encourage new writers as well as feature the awesome authors we already have who have made it into the market. I’m proud to present Romina Russell, author of the Zodiac series. Here’s more about her book:
At the dawn of time, there were 13 Houses in the Zodiac Galaxy. Now only 12 remain….
Rhoma Grace is a 16-year-old student from House Cancer with an unusual way of reading the stars. While her classmates use measurements to make accurate astrological predictions, Rho can’t solve for ‘x’ to save her life—so instead, she looks up at the night sky and makes up stories.
When a violent blast strikes the moons of Cancer, sending its ocean planet off-kilter and killing thousands of citizens—including its beloved Guardian—Rho is more surprised than anyone when she is named the House’s new leader. But, a true Cancrian who loves her home fiercely and will protect her people no matter what, Rho accepts.
Then, when more Houses fall victim to freak weather catastrophes, Rho starts seeing a pattern in the stars. She suspects Ophiuchus—the exiled 13th Guardian of Zodiac legend—has returned to exact his revenge across the Galaxy. Now Rho—along with Hysan Dax, a young envoy from House Libra, and Mathias, her guide and a member of her Royal Guard—must travel through the Zodiac to warn the other Guardians.
But who will believe anything this young novice says? Whom can Rho trust in a universe defined by differences? And how can she convince twelve worlds to unite as one Zodiac?
Embark on a dazzling journey with ZODIAC, the first novel in an epic sci-fi-meets-high-fantasy series set in a galaxy inspired by the astrological signs.
As you know, it’s so important to support authors, so if you have money to spare, please consider buying Romina’s book. (I’ve read it and personally think it’s AMAZING).
Without further ado, let’s get to the interview:
1) What is your favorite part about being a writer?
My favorite part of this career is diving into my imagination and inviting people from all over the world to play with me there!
2) How has your cultural background influenced your writing? Do you write many Latinx characters?
My family immigrated to the US from Argentina when I was 5, so as soon as I started school, I was separated from the other students and placed in smaller ESOL classes so I could learn English. As I got older, I never really found where I fit in–I felt like I wasn’t American enough for the American kids or Argentine enough for the Argentine kids.
In the ZODIAC series, our real world races don’t exist–rather, one’s Zodiac sign is their race. So I think it was therapeutic for me to create a universe of diverse cultures where people must learn to see past their differences and embrace the things that unite them–our humanity and our hope.
3) As someone who comes from a diverse background, did you have any experience in publishing that put that in a negative light?
I came to publishing thinking that it would be an industry where everyone is equally embraced, yet when the diverse books movement came around, I was hurt to find myself excluded from it. I’m never invited to be part of any diversity discussions, nor am I ever included as a diverse author on any lists, and I’m not sure if that’s because I don’t know the right people or I don’t write the right characters or I don’t look the part of a diverse author.
4) How important do you think diversity is in publishing, especially regarding Latinx representation?
I think it’s SO VITALLY IMPORTANT that every voice be represented in our books and our art. This is the only way we can truly get to know each other.
5) As a young writer, what books influenced you? Did any come from your own background?
When I was younger, I loved reading books that were too advanced for me, like Great Expectations by Charles Dickens and pretty much ANYTHING by the brilliant Jorge Luis Borges, one of my favorite authors of all time and a fellow Argentine.
6) Where do you get inspiration for your books?
I find inspiration everywhere–world events, other people’s art, my imagination.
7) Any good advice for Latinx and POC writers out there?
TRUST YOURSELF. Don’t wait for anyone else to validate you or tell you you’re a writer–believe in your voice and have faith that you are on the right path for you. Band together with other writers who are at the same stage of creation as you and form critique groups (aka support groups) to help each other grow and improve. Remember that writing isn’t a competitive industry–when a child falls in love with a book, she becomes a reader for life.
- Hogwarts house? RAVENCLAW
- Favorite food? SANDWICH DE MIGA (argentine specialty)
- Favorite movie? ALMOST FAMOUS
- Favorite TV series? THE WIRE
- Favorite place in the world? HOGWARTS
- Favorite superhero? MOM
Thank you so much for the interview, Romina! It was lovely to have you.
Romina Garber is a Los Angeles based YA author who originally hails from Buenos Aires, Argentina. As a teen, Romina landed her first writing gig—College She Wrote, a weekly Sunday column for the Miami Herald that was later picked up for national syndication—and she hasn’t stopped writing since. When she’s not working on a YA novel, Romina can be found producing movie trailers, taking photographs, or daydreaming about buying a new drum set. She is a graduate of Harvard College and a Virgo to the core.