It is my extreme pleasure to welcome Adrianna Cuevas to the blog today. Not only is she an incredibly talented author, she is a kind person who exhibits a continual commitment to her culture, her community, and children. Plus, many of her books feature something I love to read about-monsters!
All about Adrianna
For those who aren’t familiar with Adrianna, she is the author of the Pura Belpre honor book The Total Eclipse of Nestor Lopez, Cuba in My Pocket, The Ghosts of Rancho Espanto, and Mari and the Curse of El Cocodrilo. She is a first-generation Cuban-American originally from Miami, Florida who currently resides in Austin, Texas with her husband and son. She also has two exciting books coming out in October. more about those later.
My favorite monster comes from one of my all-time favorite middle grade horror novels, Hide and and Seeker by Daka Hermon.
The monster in this story embodies the deepest fears of the children who have entered its realm, a bit like Pennywise from IT. For me, an effective monster is one that preys on the fears of the story’s characters and the reader as well. Sure, it’s easy to have a terrifying, gore-inducing villain (and I absolutely love those!), but the ones that stay with me long after I’ve finished reading are monsters that reveal societal ills and our deepest secrets.
Inspirations from Cuba
Do you think that monsters inspired by Cuban folklore contain unique or distinct characteristics compared to monsters common in the U.S. ?
A quick survey of Cuban history will reveal that the Cuban people have had to deal with enough real-life monsters worse than anything cooked up in the imagination. Colonization by Spain and the United States followed by multiple dictatorships have grown a unique type of pessimism in the hearts of the Cubans- one that always expects the worst, but knows deep down that we’ll never stop fighting against it. This translates into our horror stories.
OF COURSE a slithering serpent with horns and impenetrable skin is going to hunt me in deepwaters. OF COURSE a blood-sucking bat is going to terrorize my cattle. That’s life. But I’m still going to fight it.
Spooky Stories Connect with Middle Grade Readers
Why do you think spooky stories connect with middle grade readers?
I love being terrified and I suspect that many middle grade readers do as well. Scary stories tend to be fast-paced and plot-driven, creating a satisfying experience for even the most reluctant readers. Cliffhanger chapter endings keep us turning the page and wondering what’s going to happen next. Spooky books are also empowering as young readers get to see kids like them overcoming impossible odds and facing their fears. So many middle grade spooky book authors are using the genre to help kids access more serious themes that they often face in their lives as well.
You have a book releasing today. Congratulations. It features a Cuban American girl who has to break a curse of bad luck set on her by El Cocodrilo. It looks like an action-packed, spooky adventure that is perfect for Halloween.
Can you tell us about your other upcoming projects?
On Halloween, my next book Monster High: A Fright to Remember releases. This tie-in to the Nickelodeon animated series is about Frankie Stein as they search for the source of all their various brain parts and I had a lot of fun writing it. Next year, my middle grade horror, The No Brainer’s Guide to Decomposition, will publish. This story features Frani, a Cuban-American girl who lives at the Central Texas University Forensic Anthropology Research Center where she never invites friends over to hang out… because she has 236 bodies buried in her backyard!
You can keep up with Adrianna and all her exciting projects here.
A veterinarian and an author, K.D. is passionate about animals and story-telling. As far as story is concerned, she particularly loves stories that include ghosts, vampires, and anything that goes bump in the night. When not pounding out stories, she spends her time with her usually wonderful children, mostly well-behaved dogs, and her absolutely devious cats. She’s grateful for a very tolerant husband.
In today’s Author Spotlight, Jo Hackl chats with author Landra Jennings about her new middle-grade novel, Wand (Clarion Books, October 31). She’ll share her inspiration behind writing it, the works of literature that influenced it,...
From the Mixed-Up Files is the group blog of middle-grade authors celebrating books for middle-grade readers. For anyone with a passion for children’s literature—teachers, librarians, parents, kids, writers, industry professionals— we offer regularly updated book lists organized by unique categories, author interviews, market news, and a behind-the-scenes look at the making of a children's book from writing to publishing to promoting.
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