Diversity in children’s literature is a hot topic right now. I recently reviewed MOVING TARGET by Christina Diaz Gonzalez. Besides loving the fast-paced action and plot twists, I was also impressed with how Gonzalez included diverse characters, multiple cultures and languages in a way that was organic to the storyline. Gonzalez kindly agreed to be interviewed by Middle Grade Mafia.
Middle Grade Mafia: According to your bio on your website (www.christinagonzalez.com),you studied accounting and then went to law school. When did you decide that you were going to be a children’s author and why?
Christina Diaz Gonzalez: Growing up I always had a secret dream of being a writer, but it wasn’t something I shared with anyone. It was when my own children became readers and I saw their joy in discovering great new books, that my dream became re-ignited and I decided to pursue my passion for telling stories.
MGM: Your first two books, THE RED UMBRELLA and A THUNDEROUS WHISPER were historic fiction. In your recently released MOVING TARGET, you switched it up a bit and gave us a fast-paced adventure that reminds me of Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code, but for kids. What prompted you to change genres?
CDG: I love all types of stories and I write what I enjoy reading. Sometimes I’m in the mood for something that takes me to different place and time, while other days I want a good, old-fashioned mystery/action-adventure story. I have lots of different stories brewing in my imagination!
MGM: Although MOVING TARGET is contemporary fiction, it has an element of history as Cassie tries to find the Sword of Destiny, an ancient religious artifact. You obviously enjoy history. Tell us a bit about your research methods.
CDG: I love discovering little nuggets of information while doing research. I find them by reading primary sources, searching on the internet for secondary sources, going to the places where the story is set (if not in person then at least through Google Earth) and if at all possible, getting feedback from people involved with the events I’m describing.
MGM: In MOVING TARGET, Cassie is a Cuban-American living in Rome and the text is sprinkled with Italian and Spanish phrases. I was very impressed with the multi-cultural feel of story especially since there is a push for diversity in children’s literature. Did you have that goal in mind when you came up with the concept for MOVING TARGET?
CDG: I try not to force anything into a story, so I was extremely pleased that Cassie popped into my imagination being a Latina girl from the U.S. I think it is important to see kids of all races and ethnic backgrounds in action/adventure stories because that it an accurate reflection of the world we live in today. Diversity doesn’t have to relegated to only one genre.
MGM: What is your next project? What can we look forward to from Christina Diaz Gonzalez?
CDG: My next project is the sequel to Moving Target which will be out next fall. After that, who knows? There are still lots of stories waiting to be told!