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I am honored to be included in this year's 35 Over 35, which celebrates 35 debuts in 2016 by writers over 35. Writer Kera Yonker and publicist Sarah Russo began the list in 2014.

Los Angeles Times Book Critic David Ulin wrote a column, "Celebrating Late Bloomers With 35 Over 35," dedicated to the inaugural list:

"35 Over 35 renews my faith in the long haul, which is what literature, expression, is about," he said. "I am so pleased by 35 Over 35, with its assurance that writing is a lifelong engagement, a marathon and not a sprint."

I couldn't have written La Americana, or any book for that matter, at 21. I didn't have much life experience - or the nerve - to take on the task of drafting a book. But by 30 years old, perspective on loss and love, flanked by eye-opening experiences in Cuba, pushed me to write. Personal expression became more important than fear. 

The journey to publication was not easy. In fact, it was very (very, very) long, sometimes painful and exasperating, but, in the end, worth it. So, here's to 'Late Bloomers!' 

35 Over 35
"Writing a book is a significant accomplishment but publishing one successfully is a major accomplishment. To do both of these things early in one's career is a feat that is often celebrated. But few authors find such early success. Others must persevere or experience an event that drives them to put a story down in writing. Many of these writers have kept their day jobs longer, clocked more hours in workshops, and received more rejection letters than their younger peers, and still they write." 

Order La Americana: A Memoir today!