A creative book project in elementary school was the impetus to the thriving, successful career of Romance novelist Caridad Piñeiro. Writing her first romance novel in the fifth grade about stranded high school students on a tropical island finding solace in each other, she is now the author of over 20 published books. The New York City Chapter of Romance Writers of America honored Caridad with the Golden Apple Author of the Year Award. In a recent interview with Reader’s Services’ Elvira Carrizal-Dukes, Caridad Piñeiro shared her love of writing.
ELVIRA: Can you tell us about your family background and where you grew up?
CARIDAD: I was born in Cuba, but grew up in Levittown, New York. Levittown was the Nation’s first planned housing development which was built for the soldiers returning from World War II. It was a great place to grow up, but there weren’t very many Latino families in town.
ELVIRA: What or who inspired you to write Romance genre novels?
CARIDAD: I think my love developed little by little. It started when I fell in love with WUTHERING HEIGHTS and then I kept on reading novels that had romantic elements. I just was attracted to stories where love could conquer all. In college I worked retail and was asked to help out in the store’s book department. I ran across SHANNA and didn’t know what to make of it, but it was selling so well I thought I had to see what it was all about. Once I read it, I realized this was not only what I loved to read, but what I wanted to write.
ELVIRA: What inspired you to mix Science and Action with Romance?
CARIDAD: I was a science major in college and love mixing that in when I can in order to make people think. In SINS OF THE FLESH and STRONGER THAN SIN, I wanted people to think about what would happen if scientists started genetically engineering humans with special powers.
ELVIRA: How is your book “Stronger than Sin” similar to your other books?
CARIDAD: I think the one common element of all my novels is that I insist on having strong empowered women. I believe that even under the worst of circumstances a woman has the ability to take control of her life in order to achieve her dreams or have a better life.
ELVIRA: In what ways are you and the character Dr. Liliana Carrera alike?
CARIDAD: We’re both scientists, determined and passionate. I really identified with Liliana on so many levels and was so glad to be able to write such a strong female character.
ELVIRA: Why do you think it’s important for Latinas and Latinos to become writers and authors and specifically in the Romance genre?
CARIDAD: The Romance genre is a very popular genre and has a large reach. By writing Romance with Latino characters, we can spread our culture and help people understand more about Latinos. By doing so, we can help break down barriers.
ELVIRA: What are you working on now?
CARIDAD: I am working on some new novels in my THE CALLING vampire series which will be back in late 2012. I am also working on proposals for additional books in the SIN HUNTER series.
ELVIRA: What is your advice for readers who do not like reading or have not read Romance novels?
CARIDAD: I think it’s a valid choice to not like a particular genre if you’ve tried reading it with an open mind and just don’t like it. I think many people have prejudices about Romance without ever having read one. The misconceptions are many, but the reality of it is that modern Romances address issues that are important to women and portray women who are in control of their lives. What could be wrong about that?