SHHM Guest Priscilla Oliveras: “Nourishment for My Latino Soul”

*ETA from Priscilla: To all our family and friends in Puerto Rico, our hearts and prayers go out to you. For those interested in donating to help those devastated by hurricane Maria, please consider this organization:  https://hispanicfederation.org/donate

We are super excited to have author Priscilla Oliveras join us at ALBTALBS for Smithsonian Hispanic Heritage Month! Not only is Priscilla guest blogging, but her first novel debuts this month on September 26th. Congratulations, Priscilla!

Nourishment for My Latino Soul

The Latino culture is rich and vibrant. Full of color and essence. Of different flavors and sounds. Within our culture, you’ll find nuances unique to specific countries and areas. Evidence of this is readily apparent in the beautiful homage titled Latino Cultures in the US compiled by Google Arts & Culture.

As a child growing up with a Puerto Rican mom and a Tex-Mex dad, within our home there was a melding of the two Latino subcultures. I consider myself lucky, as I was raised with the best of both, by two incredible parents who are proud of our Latino heritage and passed that pride down to my siblings and me.

I was a military kid, so we moved around quite a bit. But as my dad was a Spanish linguist, we spent most of our time in Florida or Texas with a 2-year stint at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Thankfully, these duty stations kept us close to family. As a kid growing up, I frolicked on the beach in Puerto Rico with my abuela, tías, tíos and primos (grandmother, aunts, uncles and cousins) all summer. When we were stationed in Texas, we made weekend trips to San Antonio to visit my grandparents and extended family. Long before social media helped people stay in touch across the miles, we made a point of traveling for visits and spending time with each other. Today, that hasn’t changed.

Whether we’re gathering for a special celebration or because someone decided to cook our favorite meal or because our favorite team is playing on TV or because it’s simply a Tuesday evening and someone stopped by de pasadita (as they were passing by)…it never matters. There’s always food on the table, drinks poured, and good conversation shared. At some point, especially if it’s a celebration, music plays. Dancing commences. Laughter and revelry fills the air.

What I remember most, from the low-key meals to the celebratory parties, is the sense of community and love. Sure, my tía might be asking, again, if I’m dating anyone yet. Some of the kids are probably complaining about having dish duty. One cousin’s debating—okay, maybe more like arguing—with another, but soon enough it dies down and they’re sharing a drink and a smile. The key take-away in the kaleidoscope of people and sounds and smells and tastes is the nourishment we all gain from being together—physically and emotionally.

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This is what familia means.

This is what I try to embody and bring to life with the characters in my books. The sense that despite life’s conflicts and woes, familia is always there. For me, that’s what’s at the heart of my Latino culture.

In celebration of the release of my debut novel, His Perfect Partner, where you meet the Fernandez family—another familia near and dear to my heart—I’d like to share one of my abuela’s recipes. It’s also the recipe Papi has cooked when he invites Tomás and his young daughter over for dinner. That first meal begins melding their lives together, despite how much they try to fight it.

I hope you give the recipe a try. And to keep the sharing going, why not join me in a little game of #YourPerfectPartner by hopping onto Twitter and posting the name of the dish or dessert you’d make for your special someone. Tag your post with #YourPerfectPartner so we can track the responses. Hopefully we’ll all wind up with a few new recipes to look for online!

From my familia to yours, ¡Buen Provecho/Enjoy!

His Perfect Partner: A ZEBRA SHOUT FRESH NEW ROMANCE

Book CoverThree very different Latina sisters. Three dazzling talents with ambition—and passion—to burn. And in this warm-hearted, sexy new series, three chances to figure out if the path to success can also lead to lasting love . . .

Ad executive Tomás Garcia shouldn’t even be thinking about his daughter’s alluring dance teacher, Yazmine Fernandez. Burned by a shattering divorce, he’s laser-focused on his career—and giving his young daughter, Maria, the secure home she deserves. Plus, he’s certain that with her talent, Yaz will be leaving Chicago and heading back to Broadway as soon as she can. But Yaz’s generous spirit and caring concern are sparking a desire Tomás can’t resist—and doesn’t want to let go . . .

For Yaz, good-looking workaholics like Tomás simply can’t be part of her life ever again. She owes it to herself to get back her confidence and fulfill the dreams her papá could not. She’s glad to spend time with Maria—and taste the family life she feels she can never have. And she’s sure that she and Tomás can keep their attraction under control because there’s so much at stake. But each unexpected intimacy, each self-revelation makes the fire between them grow hotter with every step—and every risk to their hearts. . .

Bio:  PRISCILLA OLIVERAS is a Kensington Publishing author who writes contemporary romance with a Latino flavor. Proud of her Puerto Rican-Mexican heritage, she strives to bring authenticity to her novels by sharing her Latino-American culture with readers. Since earning an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University, she serves as English adjunct faculty at her local college and teaches an on-line course titled “Romance Writing” for ed2go. Priscilla is a sports fan, a beach lover, a half-marathon runner and a consummate traveler who often practices the art of napping in her backyard hammock. To follow along on her fun-filled and hectic life, visit her on the web, on Facebook, or on Twitter.

What are some of your family food memories? Bonus points if you can share the recipe in the comments. 

And if you, like me,  want to read more about Tomás and Yazmine, you can preorder Priscilla’s debut novel here

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