Christina Diaz Gonzalez is the award-winning author of THE RED UMBRELLA, A THUNDEROUS WHISPER, and MOVING TARGET. Her upcoming book, RETURN FIRE, (to be released by Scholastic in the fall 2016) is the sequel to the high-stakes, action/adventure story Moving Target. Christina’s books have received numerous honors and recognitions including the American Library Association’s Best Fiction for Young Adults, the Florida Book Award, the Nebraska Book Award, a Notable Social Studies Book, the International Reading Association’s Teacher’s Choice Award, and the ALA Quick Pick for Young Adult Readers. Reviewers from publications such as Publisher’s Weekly, The Miami Herald, School Library Journal and The Washington Post have called her novels engrossing, compelling and inspirational.
I grew up in a Cuban household where black beans and rice were a staple of my diet (I craved pastelitos, but only got to eat them when we’d visit Miami). Yet, the moment I stepped outside my house, it was all chicken fried steak and mashed potatoes (which I still like to order). You see, my parents are both Cuban, but we lived in a very small Southern town. I had the best of both worlds. Thanks to my parents and grandparents, I speak fluent Spanish and have a deep love for the Cuban culture. Thanks to my hometown, I was able to spend my days riding my bike, hanging out with my friends or reading books in my “tree house” (just a plank of wood up in a dogwood tree, but it was my private place). I credit this time in my life for inspiring the dream to be a writer.
Then, when I was fourteen, I moved to Miami and temporarily forgot about writing. I enjoyed my high school days and went on to study accounting at the University of Miami. Yes, accounting. Not Creative Writing, not English Literature, not even a general Liberal Arts degree. Well, I still loved books so I decided to go to law school right after college (so much for that accounting degree). I returned to my Southern stompin’ grounds and attended Florida State University College of Law. But my family’s roots called out to me, so I enrolled in a summer abroad program in Spain. It was perfect because, lucky me, I met my husband while studying in Madrid!
After graduating from law school and practicing law for several years, I realized (with the help of my two brilliant sons who were now starting to read) that my true passion was not writing legal memoranda, but writing books for children, teens and adults. So with the encouragement of my very large extended family (think of the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding but everyone speaks Spanish), I started pursuing the dream that the girl who sat up in that dogwood tree had always imagined.
Now, a few years later, I have four novels…THE RED UMBRELLA, A THUNDEROUS WHISPER, MOVING TARGET, and RETURN FIRE!