Saturday, June 15, 2013

Tour Stop & Giveaway: The Secret Side of Empty by Maria Andreu

**Read about the book and scroll below for details on how to enter to WIN a $250 Amazon gift card just by liking the author’s Facebook page!**


You've heard the news stories. Now hear the real story.

M.T. is starting her senior year with a lot going for her. She gets great grades, has a best friend she met in kindergarten and a boyfriend who is sweet and into her. But life – at least as she knows it – is about to end.

M.T. is what the news calls “illegal” – she came to the U.S. with her parents as a baby and never got the right papers that allowed her to stay. She lives in fear of her family getting deported, in even more fear that she’ll have to go to the home country she doesn’t even remember, of people finding out her ugly secret and of the increasingly volatile situation at home. When senior year is over, the protected world she’s found in her small parochial school will disappear. Without a social security number, she won’t be able to go to college, get a job or, maybe worst of all, get a driver’s license.

But she’ll worry about all that later. First, she’s got a senior year to take on.
Coming this Spring!!
Add it to your Goodreads TBR List.

Guest Post

Music plays an important part of my YA novel, The Secret Side of Empty, but its most important song doesn’t even get mentioned in it.

The Secret Side of Empty is about a high school senior who is undocumented, or what the news likes to call “illegal.” She was brought over by her parents as a baby and, unbeknownst to her, they overstayed their visitors’ visas. She is an American teenager in every way, except one important one: on paper. Without a social security number, life as she knows it will be over at high school graduation. While her friends go off to college, part-time jobs and driver’s licenses, all she sees is an inky black future.

The book is inspired by real events. I was an undocumented teenager once too. (I’ve since become a citizen thanks to an amnesty when I was 18). But I intimately understand the despair that comes along with feeling like you don’t belong in the only country you’ve ever called home.

In my junior year of high school, someone gave me a CD of a song I never heard anywhere else: The Only Thing That Shines by Shriekback. It’s a song about hopelessness. The “only thing that shines” refers to the razor blade that the song’s character thinks could end his life. It’s dark and haunting, masterful and scary, and it entranced me at a time when I thought I had no options. I made a CD of only that song and played it over and over again feeling like I was finding answers – horrible ones, but answers nonetheless. “All the wishes that sink, making up our minds,” it said to me in its seductive tones. It was my only glimpse at power. I listened to it for hours on end, wishing for courage.

I never acted on the song’s lyrics, of course, and here I am, 25 years later, happy, successful, a mom, a homeowner, and about to realize a dream that I thought absolutely impossible when I feared deportation and discovery: publishing a book. But when I had to tap into that place to write The Secret Side of Empty, I knew there was only one way. I hadn’t listened to The Only Thing That Shines for decades, but I knew nothing could transport me back to those feelings like that song. The CD was long gone, of course, but it was online, and as soon as I heard the first haunting notes it I was there again.

The song’s lyrics still said the same thing, but to me they had taken on a new meaning. They no longer seduced me. They made me feel infinitely strong. My options had never been only the shiny razor blade, I realized. The song had been a way to acknowledge and feel my pain, eventually helping me feel strong enough to move past it. There had never been anything to fear in owning my despair. Listening to the song from some of my darkest moments helped me see the wide ocean I had crossed since the days when that song felt like the only thing that shone in my life.

Lots of songs made it into The Secret Side of Empty – there is a guy who tries to take on the main character’s musical education by sending her Smiths videos via Facebook– but The Only Thing That Shines isn’t one of them. In some ways, I guess it felt too personal. But, also, I was ready to write about what happens after the despair, how we move on from troubles that feel to big for us. And that took a new playlist.

A Note from the Author, Maria Andreu

The fulfillment of great dreams feels best when shared, which is why I'm inviting people to Like my Facebook page and come along with me on the fabulous and improbable journey of publishing my first novel. As my thanks, when you like the page by July 31st, you'll be able to enter to win a fan-only sweeps for a $250 Amazon gift card! 

Be the first to get updates on the cover, new tour stops, and fan-only content (plus enter a sweeps for a $250 Amazon gift card) by liking the author's Facebook page here:

The book is already getting industry buzz and news coverage, so Like the FB page to get updates on that as well.


Maria Andreu is an author and immigration rights activist. She lives in beautiful Bergen County, New Jersey with her two wonderful middle schoolers. At the age of 12, she wrote in her diary, "Most of all, I want to be a writer." Growing up undocumented and poor, she never imagined that dream might come true one day. Her work has been published in Newsweek, The Washington Post and The Star Ledger and her first novel, The Secret Side of Empty, will be published by Running Press in Spring, 2014.


No comments:

Post a Comment