Welcome to Chick Lit & Wine’s first author interview. This week, I spoke with Anjanette Delgado, author of “The Heartbreak Pill.” She told me all the secrets about the book, about the movie possibilities, and … sigh … that she doesn’t drink wine.
But I loved the book so much, I’ll forgive her.
//Interview with Anjanette Delgado:
Helen Fisher’s work. She’s an anthropologist who has written extensively about why we love, and I admire her immensely.
2. The book is excitingly technical — do you have a background in science?
Not at all! The subject was second only to math among my most hated when I was in school.
But I do think that it’s like religion in that even a science-hater (wretch like me) has times in her life when only certainty will do. And that’s when science can be your savior and nothing else will do.
3. The cover is clever and catchy. Who did the cover art? Were you involved in that process?
(I’m always interested in how much the author has to say in what the final book looks like)
The cover was designed at Simon and Schuster. I actually didn’t like it at first, but I knew that I needed to let people do what they know how to do, and I’m glad I did because now I love it.
Although, my editor, Johanna Castillo, who knows her authors like the palm of her hand, was nice enough to listen to the one thing that really bothered me: originally, Erika had straight hair with bangs, making her look much younger than the age group targeted by the novel’s story. Then Johanna worked on it with the designer and made her hair curly, gave her glasses, and a bit more gravitas. It made a big difference to me.
4. Did you have personal inspiration for each of the characters? You don’t have to divulge names, just curious if these are sort-of “real” people you’ve come across throughout the years.
I think most of the characters have a seed of someone I know, except for three: Attorney Consuelo, Gil and Bengie. Those I made up from scratch, and enjoyed every second and every feature I came up with.
5. The book has won many awards (Latino International Book Award’s first prize pick for Best Romance in English, a Triple Crown Winner for Best Romance in Spanish the following year, and first prize for Best Romance in Latino Literacy’s “Books into Movies” competition in 2010) AND you’re an award winning TV producer. What advice do you have for readers who aspire to be like you?
I’d tell them to use their energy to aspire to be more like themselves every day. To be the “them” that sits in front of the computer every day and writes because they love it and want to say something someone else can use for good.
Because the awards are nice, but there’s nothing like an email from a stranger who has searched for your email high and low just to tell you that she loved your book and that it made her laugh and feel just a little bit less alone.
6. I noticed you won the prize for Best Romance in Latino Literacy’s “Books into Movies” competition in 2010. Will we be seeing “The Heartbreak Pill” on the big screen anytime soon?
Wow, you do keep up with your authors! Yes, I am in talks to have the novel optioned and hope to have exciting news to tell very soon. I can’t wait to see a wonderful actress play Erika and bring her to life.
7. Who do you picture playing the leading lady? Any favorite actors come to mind?
So many… I love Penelope Cruz for this role, and Salma would be fantastic (Did you see how good she was on 30Rock? She’s great at comedy!), and, of course, Jennifer Lopez, Sofia Vergara, Eva Mendes. We have so many great Latina actors. Then there’s Kate Hudson and Catherine Keener… Ay no, can’t decide. Oh, Anna Ortiz, Cordelia Gonzalez… Alba Nydia Diaz… Nope… Can’t decide.
9. Was Spanish your first language? Did you translate this book yourself?
Spanish is my native tongue. Then I did the translation myself… All those, um, “creative” insults… I couldn’t risk someone else translating them for me.
10. What’s your favorite wine?
Okay, I’m about to commit sacrilege. Wine makes me drunk, so I don’t drink it as it comes. But my husband has found a way for me to enjoy wine with him: he makes me the best homemade sangria using Rioja wines and fresh fruits.
11. Describe your perfect reading setting — when you have all the time in the world and can read and do anything you like, what’s your favorite atmosphere to curl up with a book?
My house during the day… I make the house dark, and if it’s raining, even better… We call it “penumbra.”
I’ll put on my rattiest T-shirt and oversized cotton pants, get under a knitted blanket, and read.
And every once in a while, I’ll look up from the book and make myself aware of the blissful silence and of how lucky I am to be there, having time, health, and sight to read. If my little dachshund Chloe elects to curl up beside me, all the better.
12. You’re coming out with another book soon, “The Clairvoyant of Calle Ocho.” Can you give us a quick sneak preview?
Sure. Here’s a bite from chapter 2:
Let me tell you something: infidelity is a decision. Don’t believe any woman who tells you she didn’t know what she was doing when the penis belonging to your husband just happened to land inside her vagina. Walk away if she starts with “I didn’t know,” “We started out as friends,” or “By the time I realized what was happening, it was too late because we were in love.” These women are not stupid, innocent, or deluded. They’re lying. Infidelity is a decision. A conscious one.
Who am I to assert this with such conviction? I’m the other woman, in the flesh.