Author Interview: Christina Diaz Gonzalez & Giveaway

Christina Diaz Gonzalez

Books:

  • The Red Umbrella
  • A Thunderous Whisper
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Ani believes she is just an insignificant whisper of a 12-year-old girl in a loud world. This is what her mother tells her anyway. Her father made her feel important, but he’s been off fighting in Spain’s Civil War, and his voice in her head is fading. Then she meets Mathias. His family has just moved to Guernica and he’s as far from a whisper as a 14-year-old boy can be. Ani thinks Mathias is more like lightning. A boy of action. Mathias’s father is part of a spy network and soon Ani finds herself helping him deliver messages to other members of the underground. She’s actually making a difference in the world.

And then her world explodes. The sleepy little market town of Guernica is destroyed by Nazi bombers. In one afternoon Ani loses her city, her home, her mother. But in helping the other survivors, Ani gains a sense of her own strength. And she and Mathias make plans to fight back in their own unique way.

How is A Thunderous Whisper different from your first novel?

Besides the obvious differences of time and location (1960’s Cuba/Nebraska vs. 1937 Spain), the characters are what stand out. In The Red Umbrella, Lucia was strong from the beginning, but the world around her caused her to doubt herself. In A Thunderous Whisper, Ani believes she is insignificant and irrelevant, but that all changes when she becomes friends with Mathias. Soon she discovers that she’s not only strong, but that she can make a difference in her world.

What is your favorite scene and why?

My favorite scene is when Ani meets the bully, Sabino, and his mom on the street. I love it because you can see how much Ani has grown since her encounter with Sabino at the beginning of the book and how she is no longer the timid girl she once was.

Tell me five things you loved about writing A Thunderous Whisper.

I loved learning about the Basque culture, discovering the historical significance of Hitler’s bombing of Guernica, the exploration of my characters’ emotions during a time of war, the story’s need for authencity which caused me to go Guernica, and the connection it gave me to my own Basque roots.

Did you have any fun research moments?

The best research moment I had was while I was in Guernica, Spain. I was with the president of the Guernica historical society who was showing me around town (pointing out what the town would have looked like before the bombing) when he told me he had a surprise to show me. I followed him into what was now an ice cream shop and we proceeded to go down a hallway which led down to an old (well-preserved) air raid shelter. I was able to really see and feel what it was like in there during the war.

What in your opinion makes A Thunderous Whisper unique?

The setting of the story (Basque countryside in Spain) is not often depicted in books and the timing of the story (during the Spanish Civil War right before WWII begins) is unusual as the characters are caught in war-torn society, but have no idea the extent to which Hitler will take it. These factors make the characters development even more compelling.

If you had to retitle A Thunderous Whisper what would it be and why?

Ugh, that’s a really hard question! Titles are so incredibly difficult for me – I slave over finding something that fits. Maybe Thunder & Lightning (no, that sounds like the story of two cats)… how about The Acorn (yuck—that’s even worse). See what I mean, I’m just happy to have found one good title for this story… can’t ask me to find another good one.

What YA books are currently in your reading pile?

Everyday, Everybody Sees The Ants, Something Like Normal, Delirium

You are having a dinner party with your closest friends and colleagues.

What do you serve and what does your tablescape look like? I am not the best cook so I would probably make one of my easy signature meals – Caesar salad, garlic bread, spaghetti in a white cream sauce with broccoli and ham and I’d buy a great chocolate cake for dessert. The tablescape? I’d probably look through a magazine and copy whatever caught my eye. Something simple, but nice.

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