Today I am participating in the blog tour for The Secret Side of Empty by Maria Andreu. Andreu's debut novel The Secret Side of Empty will be released in the Spring 2014 by Running Press. Maria has stopped by the blog to share the story behind the novel.
ABOUT The Secret Side of Empty
It's the story of a teen girl that is American in every way except for in one very important way: on paper. She was brought to the U.S. as a baby without proper documentation, so she's "illegal." As the end of the safe haven of her high school days draw near, she faces an uncertain future. Full of humor and frustration and love, The Secret Side of Empty speaks to the part in all of us that has felt excluded or has had a secret too scary to share. What M.T., the main character, finally discovers is the strength of the human spirit and the power that's unleashed when you finally live the truth.
The Story Behind the Novel
M.T., the main character in my debut novel, The Secret Side of Empty, has a secret. She looks and sounds like a regular American teenager, but she’s not. She was brought over as a baby by her parents, and they overstayed their visa, so she is undocumented.
The book will be out Spring, 2014, but I’ve started to promote it now, because this book publishing journey is far better when shared. I want people to get to know me and the book over time, and follow its progress every step of the way. This story is deeply personal to me, as I was undocumented once too. I also came over as a kid. (I’m a citizen now thanks to an amnesty). For many years, my story was something I kept hidden. Finally, when I was inspired to write a novel, I knew I had to share what it’s like to grow up feeling like you have no future. Without a social security number and no possibility of a “real” job, a driver’s license or a college education, it’s not a far-fetched thing to think.
The book is about a girl in this situation that’s being talked about a lot in the news, but it’s not at all political. M.T. doesn’t care about the news: she just wants her life to make sense, she wants it to work out with her boyfriend and she wants to figure out what she’s going to do with her life after high school.
Fun fact: there is a car chase! No police or anything like that, but the car chase is how she meets her boyfriend. I think it’s one of the most fun scenes in the book.
Maria’s writing has appeared in Newsweek, The Washington Post and the Star Ledger. Her debut novel, The Secret Side of Empty, is the story of an “illegal” high school senior. It was inspired by Maria’s own experiences as an undocumented teen. Since becoming a citizen, Maria has run her own business and has become a soccer mom. She lives with her 13-year-old daughter and 12-year-old son in northern New Jersey.