For Hispanic Heritage Month, I wanted to include an interview, I had the opportunity the send Zoraida Cordova a few questions about it. Zoraida is known for being the author of Labyrinth Lost and Bruja Born, both of these are available now!
1. Do you have any plans to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month?
I generally don’t do anything special for it. Growing up I wasn’t aware that there was a Hispanic Heritage Month. Now, I try to become aware of the way that media picks up our stories and the books that are chosen. I boost Latinx authors as much as I can all year so it doesn’t change much.
2. How important is it for you to include/incorporate your Hispanic background into your stories?
I don’t consider myself to have a Hispanic background. I used Ecuadorian first, and Latina of Latinx second. Most people don’t know the difference, especially outside of the cultural groups, so I don’t take offense of Hispanic, I just don’t have many historically positive association with it.
3. What were some of the struggles you faced through your childhood due to your heritage?
My family immigrated to New York when I was six. Up until I was 11 I went to school with a mostly Latinx population so I never stood out. Junior High School came kids who made fun of me for speaking Spanish. The teacher always called on me and singled me out and so that put me on the spotlight. But that was born out of jealousy, since I got automatic good grades. Every school I attended before college was majority people of color, so I didn’t have to struggle with being Ecuadorian.
4. Do you have any Hispanic authors you would recommend to someone that wants to know about the culture?
Borderlands/La Frontera by Gloria Anzaldua and Open Veins of Latin America by Eduardo Galeano.
5. Do you have any Hispanic traditions or customs that you continue to do with your family?
No, I think if we were in Ecuador we would celebrate national holidays. When I visit my mom on All Saints Day she makes a drink called “colada morada” which is an Andean drink. It’s very tasty.
6. How do you think your heritage affected your writing style?
The first novel I tried to sell was about a Latinx family. It probably will never see the light of day. I didn’t write Latinx characters truly until Labyrinth Lost. Being Ecuadorian is part of who I am, so it affects me in the same way all writers are affected by something in their lives. I think the true thing that influences my work is living in New York being surrounded by so many people. It makes me want to see the world more and try to leave something behind.
I want to thank Zoraida for giving me the opportunity send these questions and for taking time away from her day to do so as well. Check out her books, you won't regret it!