Craft, Career & Cheer: Claudia Guadalupe Martinez

Learn about Claudia Guadalupe Martinez.

Could you describe the your experience working with an editor?

I’ve only written one book, but I couldn’t have asked for a better experience—I may have to light a candle when I submit my next book in hopes that my next experience is this positive. I tell people that working with my editor was like getting a free MFA. I learned so much simply by diving in.

Because it is a small press [Cinco Puntos], I also get full service! My editor has been right alongside me, working hard to get the book buzz and recognition.

We’ve managed to collect a handful of honors including: the 2009 Paterson Prize for Books for Young People, Américas Award Commended Title, and the Texas Institute of Letters Best Young Adult Book Award.

What do you love most about being an author? Why?

I love–love–visiting schools and libraries because I get to talk to kids. It’s wonderful to hear their questions and opinions, and to see my work through their eyes. Kids are so honest and in awe of books, and many of them want to write books, too. They make me feel like a rock star, and I’m not a rock star.

I also really enjoy festivals and opportunities to meet other authors. Most of the time I feel like I’m still a kid, too, and I love getting books signed. I was at ALA this summer signing books for about half an hour, and the highlight of that experience was being within three feet of Judy Blume.

In your own words, could you tell us about your latest book?

In The Smell of Old Lady Perfume (Cinco Puntos, 2008), Chela, an eleven year old growing up in El Paso, Texas; worries about typical things like popularity and grades. Sixth grade is a big deal because it’s her first year out of bilingual education, and she gets to be in the class that everyone else looks up to. Then her father gets sick, and her best friend dumps her. That changes all her plans.

In the story, the smell of old lady perfume is the smell of bad things. When something bad happens, like her father getting sick, Chela’s relatives show up, followed by that smell! It’s realistic fiction but melodic and very different from my next book.

My next book is set in Chicago, and has a bit of magic….

Cynsational Notes

The Craft, Career & Cheer series features conversations with children’s-YA book creators about positive aspects of their creative and professional lives.