I come from a long line of storytellers on my father’s side. We enjoyed great harmony in the family as my mother and her relatives enjoyed listening to each tale, as outrageous, adventurous or fantastic as they might be. As a child I loved hearing my dad’s stories, but very soon I discovered that storytelling is even more fun.
In 1991, Arte Público Press in Houston, Texas published my first novel, Sleep of the Innocents. I still get excited when I see a copy of the book on a shelf. Sleep of the Innocents got great reviews, but did not sell well. I discovered from this experience that I can write, but I am a really lousy salesperson. I have also published some poetry; however, my greatest passion and joy is in the creation and crafting of a story.
Currently I live in Kentucky, but I was born and raised in New York City. My parents were young immigrants, runaways from Puerto Rico who met in Manhattan at the end of the first world war. Theirs was a riveting and romantic story, one that I have not yet told.
My mother insisted that I learn and speak Spanish first. She knew that I would learn English soon enough when I entered school and she was right; I learned English in kindergarten. One of my greatest strengths is that I am bilingual and bi-cultural. Speaking, interpreting, translating and teaching Spanish is how I have earned my living for many years. I also have insights into two great civilization and cultures that most people do not have and my life is so much richer for it
For thirty-four years I lived on the south shore of Long Island where I raised my children; it was a wonderful life style, living on the water’s edge. More than anything I love exploring the inlets and channels of the Great South Bay in my boat. Before my daughters had even entered Kindergarten, they knew their way around the bay. We loved visiting Fire Island or just drifting with the rhythmic running of the tide; sometimes we swam, clammed or picked up some mussels for dinner.
I miss the seaweed smells, the cawing seagulls and seeing the clam boats, strung like pearls along the Great South Bay, from the harbor to the horizon. Whenever I visit New York I return to those places I loved, especially the three bridges that link Long Island to Captree Island and the Roberto Moses State Park. They are always as beautiful as I remember.
But Kentucky is also a beautiful place in which to live. Even more beautiful than the scenery is the character of the proud people who live here. After all these years, however, I still have not lost my New York accent. Sometimes I feel like an outsider here, yet those moments are brief and probably the result of homesickness that sneaks up on me when I least expect it. Still, I am happy in Kentucky, surrounded by the warmth of my neighbors and the laughter of my friends.