Latina writer of books for kids of all ages.

tumblr_static_evolt-tag5-smltrwhskThis month E-volt – where you can get books for $2.99 or less – is offering  The Girl Who Could Silence the Wind on sale for $1.99.

You might not remember the novel – quiet as it was – but it’s the book that has made the biggest impact on me as an author.

The synopsis is here, but I describe the novel as a mix of magical realism and telenovela mostly because it’s one of those sweeping stories with large casts and a few spirits. It’s about secrets, traitors, and love stricken heroes, all hopefully drawn with some depth.

But at its core, The Girl Who Could Silence the Wind is actually realistic fiction, too. That’s because it’s a tale of migration and why young people take unimaginable risks to move toward better circumstances. It names that terrible brew of longing and violence the powerless often see in this life.

 I’ve heard said that each novel you write teaches you how to be a better writer. If that’s true, this one was a strict SOB of a teacher. I rewrote The Girl Who Could Silence the Wind more times than I care to count, trying to preserve a stylized storytelling while getting at a contemporary issue with honesty. What a struggle! I reworked the manuscript top to bottom, axing plot lines and characters. Several times I thought I would abandon the project altogether. I couldn’t find my way somehow. I couldn’t settle on what I really wanted to say about Sonia and the people in her world. It’s bigger than I am. I don’t know what I’m doing. Who am I to tell this story? Why am I even doing this?  The dialogue in my head was paralyzing, and it led to countless missteps. In fact, Kate Fletcher, my editor at Candlewick, worked with me for close to a year before she felt it was strong enough to even make a contract offer on it. Day after day, this novel left me feeling like a failure.

Today, I’m grateful for the nearly crushing experience. I did find my way, and the novel went on to be a finalist for the Latino Book Awards. True, it has never enjoyed the splash of Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass or, even, Tia Isa Wants a Car. Maybe it’s not as good; I don’t honestly know. Readers will have to judge that for themselves. But I do know that the book changed me profoundly.

First of all, it taught me (painfully) that writing books is a messy and gut-wrenching process. I learned to value perseverance in the face of repeated failure.

But more important, the novel forced me to ask myself hard questions about why I was writing and why it mattered. It forced me to zero in harsh realities of the characters’  lives and, ultimately, to find a purpose for myself as an author that was larger than just creating an enjoyable read. Turns out, that purpose is to make the stories emerging from the Latino experience part of respected literature for all kids.

Has the book made a difference to anyone but me?  I’m not sure. But here’s what I do know. I began drafting this book in 2010 or so, and it was published in 2012. All these years later, not much has changed except that the debate surrounding immigrants has grown uglier. Maybe now is a good time to discover the story if you haven’t already.

Buy the e-book here:  (Note: Offer expires Jan 31, 2016)


Five Secret Things About The Girl Who Could Silence the Wind

My favorite characters: Pancho because he’s so chivalrous, and Dahlia because she has to be heartless to be good.

Worst challenge: Deciding whether Rafael should live or die. I rewrote his fate multiple times.

What it looks like in other countries:

 

2

The UK

 

Romania

Romania

Biggest edit: keeping the whole novel in Tres Montes and the capital, instead of having the second half happen in North America

Best thing that happened as a result of the book:

I zeroed in on a purpose. That, and The Hope Tree Project.

a sample from Henrico High School

a sample from Henrico High School

 

 

 

 

 

Comments on: "January Bargain at E-Volt: The Girl Who Could Silence the Wind" (4)

  1. Meg, what you say about your struggle writing that book is exactly where I am with my novel now. And I’ve been thinking how I rarely hear authors talk about how writing books “is a messy and gut-wrenching process.” “Day after day, this novel left me feeling like a failure.” Hoo boy, can I ever relate. Thank you so much for this post, and for all your lovely books. All I can say is that in your case, your struggles were more than worth it for your readers.

    • Ugh, Gail, I’m sorry. It’s such a tangelo work through a novel to the end, but have faith. It WILL be resolved. When you least expect them, the answers will appear, sometimes even in the form of a true “re-visioning” of something you thought you’d never change. For now, I’m sending you my best wishes for good writing advice, courage, and lots of walks. (Winter in Florida is perfect for that.)

  2. Amy Lee-Tai said:

    Hi Meg! What do you know — The Girl Who Could Silence The Wind is sitting on my end table atop of my reading pile, next up for me to enjoy! I find the cover mesmerizing and title mystifying, and can’t wait to discover what’s behind them. I so appreciate your honesty about your writing and editing process. It must be deeply gratifying to feel and see the fruits of your labor. We, too, as readers and writers gain! Win-win via your struggle… I have been writing a story inspired by my beloved, still-young-cat who passed away unexpectedly and tragically before we headed to Rego Park for Thanksgiving. I have sobbed while writing it, but know I need to write it. I may not seek to publish this one — we’ll see — but I feel that writing is the best way I know to honor her life, my feelings, and our tender relationship. I’ll be submitting it to my writing group tomorrow. It’s a good thing my group members have become my friends, because I’ll be shedding more than a tear at our meeting. Thanks for the inspiration. Wishing you a wonderful 2016!  Amy P.S. Yay for Gene Luen Yang!

    From: Meg Medinas Blog To: amyleetai@yahoo.com Sent: Monday, January 4, 2016 7:15 AM Subject: [New post] January Bargain at E-Volt: The Girl Who Could Silence the Wind #yiv7829681343 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv7829681343 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv7829681343 a.yiv7829681343primaryactionlink:link, #yiv7829681343 a.yiv7829681343primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv7829681343 a.yiv7829681343primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv7829681343 a.yiv7829681343primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv7829681343 WordPress.com | Meg Medina posted: “This month E-volt – where you can get books for $2.99 or less – is offering  The Girl Who Could Silence the Wind on sale for $1.99.You might not remember the novel – quiet as it was – but it’s the book that has made the biggest impact on me as an auth” | |

    • Amy! So sorry to hear about your cat. I am a feline fan, too, so I know how sad it is to say goodbye. Writing a story sounds like the perfect plan. I am wishing you all good things in 2016.

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