Thursday, March 28, 2013

Marisol Murano Author Interview

Photo Content from Marisol Murano

When she was 18-years-old Marisol Murano moved to the United States to attend school so that afterwards she could return to her native Venezuela to get married and have kids. None of this happened. Instead, she ended up getting a Master’s degree which eventually landed her a boring job in an exciting city: New York.

After a few years running the corporate rat race, Marisol woke up to this one day, "Even if you win the race, you're still a rat." That was the end of her banking career and the birth of her first novel: The Lady, The Chef, and The Courtesan.

Marisol was the first to be surprised when her first novel was named Latino Book of the Year, Original Voices from Border’s and was picked as a BookSense selection. She was further surprised when it was translated into several languages.

A second career detour led her to become a chef and the author of a cookbook, Deliciously Doable Small Plates from Around the World. Between novels, Chef Marisol now travels the world conducting culinary demonstrations on exotic cuisine. In fact, Valentina Goldman's Immaculate Confusion was born at sea in a split-second of confusion when during a culinary demonstration a woman raised her hand to ask: “Did you always know you wanted to be a chef?”


Was there a defining moment during your youth when you realized you wanted to be a writer?
Yes. The day my grandmother died. I was 15. I wrote a stack of (bad) poems on a bunch of Kleenex that was at her bedside for crying. My mother later typed those poems. I still have them. 

What’s one thing that readers would be surprised to find out about you? 
That I have a Black Belt in Karate and that I am a trained chef. 

What was the greatest thing you learned at school?
That you go to school to learn “how to learn,” not to exhaust your knowledge on any given subject. 

What is the best piece of advice you ever received from another author?
It was from Elliot Perlman, author of “Seven Types of Ambiguity.” He told me to be very aware of what I must give up to become a writer. 

In your book “Valentina Goldman's Immaculate Confusion” can you tell my Book Nerd community a little about it? 
Valentina Goldman’s Immaculate Confusion is a seriously funny story about the immigrant experience and the conflicts of assimilation. The story is told by Valentina, who was born in Venezuela, to her American stepdaughter, Emily. Along the way, you get a taste of the wacky life she left behind and follow her through her adventures in the U.S. 

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating Valentina? 
Talk about a character taking over. I was very surprised that her voice came out as funny and opinionated. I had planned on writing a tragic story all along. 

You have the chance to give one piece of advice to your readers. What would it be? 
I’m not qualified to give advice to anyone, but I’ll share this with you. Readers often share their desire to write a novel (usually at my book signings). I think that’s because book signings seem glamorous; even if they’re closer to a root canal. I often paraphrase Hemingway: “Butt to chair” is the only way a book ever gets written. 

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why? 
I’d introduce Valentina to Phillip Roth’s David Kepesh. I will then buy some pop-corn and watch the fireworks from the front row of his classroom in the “Dying Animal.” 

When asked, what’s the one question you always answer with a lie? 
Me? Lie? 

What’s your most missed memory? 
Climbing the mango tree on my grandmother’s backyard in Caracas. I miss everything that a fresh mango means to me: vibrant color, warmth, ripeness, tropical air. . . 

What's the most memorable summer job you've ever had? 
It was my first job in the United States. I worked at a day-care called Pinocchios -- speaking of lies – and had to learn how to change the diapers of a bunch of kids who all seemed to be crying for attention at the exact same time. It was a very instructive about what is and isn’t an emergency. 

Who is the first person you call when you have a bad day? 
I send myself an e-mail that says: Marisol, you’re not saving lives. The act of writing this down puts my day in perspective. 

When was the last time you told someone you loved them? 
A few minutes ago. 

Do you remember your favorite teacher? 
Professor Ling. He was my International Business professor at Tulane University. He was the only teacher who ever gave me, a straight-A student, a B on my paper and on his course. When I asked him why, he said: “Because I’m interested in YOUR opinion, not in what others have said on this subject.” After pleading with him (to no avail) that he was going to ruin my 2 years of work in graduate school and my 4.0 GPA, I became an opinion machine. 

When was the last time you cried?
Last week. It was while working with a ghost pepper of more than 1.2 million Scoville units during the taping of my cooking show. 

Most horrifying dream you have ever had?
I dreamt I was falling at great speed inside the Grand Canyon and nothing to stop me from crashing on a bunch of rocks. I had just been transferred to work in Phoenix, Arizona. My subconscious must have been working out the details of the unwise career move.

Since her arrival in the United States from Venezuela, Valentina Goldman isn’t exactly living the American Dream. She’s living the American Nightmare. Her late husband, Max, has left her a young widow, a step-daughter whom Valentina didn’t want, and a bi-polar ex-wife. And oh, having given up her dream job in New York, Valentina is also unemployed in Arizona. Part "Bridget Jones Diary," part "Modern Family," "Valentina Goldman’s Immaculate Confusion" is the story of a woman trying to get a handle on her whacky life in America. In breathless, blog-like snippets, Valentina compares her own story with that of her eccentric sister, Azucena, who has bizarre troubles of her own down in the tropics. "Valentina Goldman’s Immaculate Confusion" is a funny and moving story about what happens when a passionate South American woman moves to the USA and, like so many of us, ends up with a life she never imagined.

Marisol Murano’s Valentina Goldman’s Immaculate Confusion is the funny and touching story of a woman from South American who moves to the United States in hopes of living the American Dream. For Valentina, her dream quickly becomes a nightmare. After becoming a young widow and is left to take care of a step-daughter she’s never expected, she has to leave her dream job in New York to live in Arizona.

The entire book is about Valentina telling her American step-daughter, Emily, about her crazy life. Author Marisol’s approach on writing this story is quite unique. The chapters are short, sort of like a blog entry for Valentina. This method managed to keep me engaged throughout. Although the chapters were not in chronological order, Marisol’s writing style allowed me to keep the timeline intact.

Each chapter presented hilarious stories that most readers can relate to. Valentina’s move to the United States is an interesting and entertaining experience. Marisol’s writing style allows capturing the feeling of discovering something new and readers are able to place themselves in Valentina’s shoes and receive the same experience as she. There is a cliffhanger at the end so it only makes me wonder if a sequel is in the works. Valentina Goldman’s Immaculate Confusion possesses all the elements that make a story unforgettable. It is smart, cunning, amusing, and highly entertaining.

You can purchase Valentina Goldman's Immaculate Confusion at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you MARISOL MURANO for making this giveaway possible.
3 Winners will receive an  E-Copy of Valentina Goldman's Immaculate Confusion by Marisol Murano.


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