Memorializing Nelson Mandela, an Author of Change

Wishing to honor the memory of Nelson Mandela this past week caused me to think about how he transformed the world. That coincided with the  the privilege I had of participating in a teleseminar with Nina Amir, author of How to Blog a Book  and the Author Training Manual.  The theme of the seminar was about being an author of change. I thought about the essence of my new novel, Under the Salvadoran Sun, and one of the main reasons I wrote it. Like my main character, Angela, I have always wanted to “make a difference,” to feel I have done something that might help others, that might bring more justice and peace to the world. Like great people whose lives serve as examples of good, literature has the ability to inspire us to think in new ways, to inform, and to influence the thoughts and actions of others. This is not only true of non-fiction, but can be true of fiction as well. One of my favorite books, To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee is a perfect example. Her thoughtful and profound writing about racial prejudice was not a polemic against racism, instead she created a literary microcosm in which the interactions of her characters brought the issue to the forefront in a poignant manner, causing readers then and to this day to think about the awful consequences of prejudice. Likewise, Mandela’s life and actions brought about the end of apartheid.

Motivated by growing concerns on how our country treats those who put food on our tables, namely the undocumented workers from Latin America, I wrote Under the Salvadoran Sun. My concerns are reflected in dialogue between my characters and the plot. I hope my readers will think about our nation’s current policies which leave little opportunity for those who cross the border, work hard and pay taxes, and often have familias in the US, to find a road to citizenship. Of course, I do not pretend to have all the answers on this complicated issue and want only to  encourage dialogue about possible solutions to a more and more untenable situation. 

What Nina calls an Author of Change is someone who writes with passion about an issue. who has a message, a cause or a soul purpose to fulfill via her or his writing.  As she states, “we live at a unique time in history when change happens more quickly than ever before. You can have impact, assist positive change, author change in a variety of ways including with a book.

First and most importantly, I hope my readers find pleasure in reading “a love story, wrapped around the issue of immigration” as I often call it. That they may enjoy it and relate to my characters is of key importance, but maybe they will also remember to think with compassion about the many immigrants that make up the fiber of our nation and have always contributed to its history.

I would love to hear readers’ opinions on this key issue, immigration reform, and invite you to comment by clicking Contact on my menu bar.