Friday, January 11, 2013

Interview 10: Dr. Cherrye Vasquez

Greetings humans, half-breeds, and everything in between. A while back, I had the pleasure to interview my new friend, Cherrye S. Vasquez, Ph.D. She is visiting the ECS as a guest and sharing loads of interesting insights into her work. Be sure to look around and see what she has to offer. Here are the results of our interview. A good time was truly had by all, and here’s how it went down.

Hi there Cherrye! It’s so awesome to have you here at the ECS Universe. Don’t worry about the darkness, your eyes will adjust.

 So tell me, who is Cherrye Vasquez?

Well, I am Books That Sow: Strength, Character & Diversity, DBA. I chose this title for my business name because it is my aim to write books that reveal these virtues. As an educator and mother, I’d love to see our children walking tall with deep-seeded positive, intrinsic worth, so I have written and plan to continue writing books that reflect strength, character building and diversity for all children.

I am a public educator of 31 years, and an Adjunct Professor for 4.5 years. My husband and I have an eleven year old daughter who is in the 5th grade, so I am a very busy author.

I know I’m a pretty busy author myself, but I have nothing on you. I’m so impressed with what you have to offer and this interview is just getting started. This is going to be good.

So whacha got for me today?

My children’s chapter book, No Tildes on Tuesday, was written to reveal the complexities that children face when they are not taught early in their lives to love and self-identity with their heritage(s).

*My platform topics center on Diversity and Bullying issues. I believe that the differences among us can be a tool that brings us together as a people if we will only get to know one another. We must have consideration, care, and respect for distinctions and variations that exist among us. Who knows, through these revelations we may find many similarities and learn from one another. Oh my, imagine us forming genuine friendships!*

I like your stance on embracing diversity. I’ve always been one to live by an idea that it’s ok to be different. Even if people don’t like differences in their peers, they can still respect them and live peacefully.

 So who’s staring in this 2 dimensional script read of No Tildes on Tuesday?

Isabella, the main character in my book, is a 13 year old biracial girl who has only identified with one half of her culture – the Caucasian side. In fact, Isabella’s best friend, Sally, is white. When Isabella learns that her family has to move to a new neighborhood she becomes upset and a bit sassy with her parents.

Although Abuela (Isabella’s grandmother) wants Isabella to learn her father’s first language, Spanish, Isabella does what she can to avoid it. The story takes the reader on twists and turns until Isabella meets a new kind of friend who shows her just how important it is to embrace and learn about both her cultures – her total self.

I like the idea and principle of this story. Even with children who aren’t biracial, it is difficult for kids today to know, to understand, and to appreciate their cultures outside of the popular and more demanding Consumer and Pop cultures of modern civilization. I’m glad you’ve chosen to tackle this subject.

Past, present, future, is there a rhyme or reason to your writing?

Oh yes, there is a rhyme and reason to my writing. I love to write in the early part of the morning because I am a morning person. With my favorite cup of tea right beside me for occasional sips, I am “good to go.”

Oh no! Please turn off the radio and television. I cannot write with distractions in the background. All I need to hear is the tapping of the keyboard keys. Now, on occasion if the dog or kitten wants to sit in my lap (I’d prefer the kitten because she is much lighter), that is okay with me just long as they sit still. I want to write and jump right into my character and plotting.

I wish I had a pup to sit in my lap as I write; maybe I’ll work on that. Like you I don’t like distractions when I write, but If I’m stuck and in need of inspiration, I find that my collection of varied soundtracks to be very helpful…oh and a warm beverage is always welcome, but tea is tops.

What author(s) has most influenced your writing? Why or how?

Margaree King-Mitchell has influenced my writing and writing skills a great deal. She is my mentor and editor. I’ve learned quite a bit from her expertise.

It’s so cool that you get to work with an accomplished author in her own right. I too am very fond of my editor, Melissa Ringsted, but I’m always giving creative influence credit to J.M. Barrie. The story of Peter Pan really did a number on me as a kid.

Whose brain are you just itching to scratch?

I’d not only love to chat with Bill Cosby, I’d love to see him during a performance. I have lots of respect for this gentleman. He stands for what is right and wants everyone to have respect and a sense of hard work ethic for themselves. I admire his message to young people and their parents.

I can understand wanting to see him perform. He has a greatly clever and observant sense of humor that‘s clean and family friendly. Why not see something like that?

Who is so you and why?

People have approached me and said that I reminded them of Leslie Uggams who is an American actress and singer born in 1943. I don’t get that anymore perhaps due to the era. Most young people these days have never heard of Leslie Uggams. I believe people said this to me due to our facial structure and cheek bones. We are similar in that way, perhaps.

Yeah, I can’t see this generation being too familiar with her work, but she was good. I can’t remember if she won an Emmy or not, but I know she was nominated. The crazy thing about this is that even though I know she was in Roots (which was before my time), I can only vividly remember her appearance on the Muppets Show (from reruns)…Maybe I need to watch Roots again :).

What’s your ideal reading spot for your next highly anticipated read?

My ideal reading spot is in my sitting-room flopped on my settee. When I do this though, I’m usually not alone and I’m usually not reading a book for me. My daughter is sitting next to me reading one of her books.

I allow my daughter to choose two books that she wants us to read. Actually, we read one together as we take turns, and the other I read to her. We do this until both books are completed.

We usually read from paperback books, but any cover would do.

I like to read in my bed and not just before bedtime, all the time. It’s so comfy. While I really enjoy a good hardback or paperback, I mainly read ebooks for convenience and budgeting, and once a month I enjoy an audio book.

What was your favorite book or story, pre-teen years?

I enjoyed reading the novel, The Pigman, by Paul Zindel.

I’ve heard of this book, but have never read it. I may have to look into it…

Now this is where the questions get a little kooky; are you ready?

Cool beans!

Alright then, here we go.

If you could only watch one movie for the rest of your life, what would it be?

I love classic movies such as The Birds, Imitation of Life (1934, 1959), and The Bad Seed. I know that you asked for only one movie, so I’ll have to go with the Bad Seed. It kept me on the edge of the sofa.

I’d probably try to figure out how I could use my skills to help the main character in this movie. What a mess she was.

Now you’re talking my language. I love classic movies and have seen all of these. You’re on point stating that that kid was a mess.

What makes you geek out?

I love trying to learn the Spanish language. Not that I’m any good at it at all, but that is one thing that I will spend time doing once I retire. I will learn Spanish.

I studied Spanish for years and was really good at it for a while, but I haven’t spoken it in ten years. I assume it must be like riding a bike. I’m sure I could do it if I needed to, but it would be a very bumpy ride…I think it’s great that you want to learn it and truly hope you have a chance to master it one day.

 So what’s testing your patience right now?

I hope that my next book, Dedicated Identity, will be turned into a script as a traveling school play for children and school staff, or a small stage play for children and their parents to enjoy at an arts center.

From one author to another, I know the feeling of having expectations for your next book. I’m hoping to release to sequel to my Eternal Curse series this Spring, but in the meantime, I’ve been keeping myself distracted with the anticipation of the next super hero movie to be released…I’m a little bit of a geek ;).

When the soundtrack of your life is playing in your head, what songs express your glee and what songs bring out your rage?

I love songs with messages of peace and hope. I do not like rap, although I know that some rap lyrics have great messages for our children.

A lover of music, I ask this question for selfish reasons. I’m just being nosy. I know I’m influenced by what I listen to and so assume others are as well.

While I greatly enjoy Rap, as well as just about every other genre of music, I can also argue the content and theme of lyrics provided by most artists these days. When I find a nice song with a truly positive message, I cherish it.

What’s the most fun experience you’ve ever had?

I truly enjoyed traveling to Beaver Creek, Colorado with my husband and daughter last summer, 2012. We had to take the Colorado Mountain Express, a two hour drive, to our final destination, and the scenery of mountains was just beautiful. I especially loved learning about the hemisphere divide, the historical gold mines, and seeing the runaway truck stops.

This sounds really nice. I like hearing stories about family time. Colorado is a beautiful state, I’ve heard, but I’m too afraid of the cold to visit just yet.

 Remind me again how I was lucky enough to meet you?

I met you via one of the Linkedin groups that I am a part of. I was happy to see your post making many aware of this great opportunity.

Yeah, I’m glad I put myself out there like that. I was so nervous, but since then, I’ve met so many wonderful authors in the process.

Not that you can see into the future, but in your opinion, what does the future hold?

I hope to be retired BEFORE the next five years. I am looking at the next two years for retirement, May, 2015. During this time, I hope to have at least 2-3 more books added to Books That Sow: Strength, Character & Diversity. I also want to travel.

The world is a scary place to live right now, but we are the people that make it this way. If we would only show love and consideration for our neighbors, this world that we live in would be a better place to dwell.

Ok humans, half-breeds, and everything in between, that’s all for today. Be sure to follow this blog to see who will be visiting next time. For more from Cherrye S. Vasquez, Ph.D, check out these great links:

Website: Books That Sow



Book Trailer

Video of Poems – The Bully-ee (victim) & The Bully (perpetrator)