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Friday, October 19, 2007

Author Interview & Book Giveaway featuring Vasthi Reyes Acosta

There's finally a nip in the air. Christmas will be here before we know it! I'm looking forward to the joyous holiday, so it gives me great pleasure to welcome friend and author, Vasthi Reyes Acosta. Vasthi’s debut novella, Gifts of the Magi, appears in a contemporary romance collection of stories that capture the excitement of Christmas in New York City. The anthology entitled, A Big Apple Christmas, also includes the novellas of authors: Carrie Turansky, Gail Sattler, and Lynette Sowell.

Vasthi writes about the Latino community of New York City from a Christian perspective. Her stories are alive with the vibrant details of her heritage and the inspiring warmth of her faith.

Vasthi, how did you get interested in writing?

I’ve always kept a journal, and thought that my writing was for my own pleasure, not to share. Then when my children went back to school, after home-schooling for 7 years, I asked the Lord what he wanted me to do. At first I heard nothing, but I waited on His direction. I didn’t want to step out of His will. Then I saw a brochure about a conference in Sandy Cove, Maryland, where the keynote speaker would be Francine Rivers, my all–time favorite writer. I started to dream. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to hear her speak, to meet her? I studied the brochure for at least a month before I dared ask my husband if we could spend the money for me to attend. Surprise, surprise, he said sure without hesitation! When I realized it was a writers’ conference, and I had to submit some of my own writing to attend, I wrote a magazine article and a short novella. I went to that conference to see and hear Francine Rivers, and I came away with my article sold and the realization that the Lord wanted me to write! I’ve been writing ever since.

I know you work as a school principal, so when do you find the time to write?

I write on weekends, holidays, and in the evening. I love it, so it’s not hard for me to sit myself down and do it. But I do set goals to keep myself on track. My critique group also helps me keep producing because I want to have material for them to review for me.

How did your story for the collection come about?

I wanted to include a Christmas holiday that is celebrated by all Hispanic cultures and that is Epiphany (Three Kings Day). The story emerged from there.

Have you written any other stories?

I’ve written a three book series entitled Mangoes and Apple Pie that is a contempory adaptation of the Book of Ruth with Latino characters. It is not published, yet.

Intriguing idea. I’ve no doubt your series will find a home. Vasthi, your characters are so real. Where do you find the inspiration for them?

For me, they have to percolate a while and then, as I write I discover their quirks and personalities. Almost as if they reveal themselves to me.

What did you want the reader to take away from Gifts of the Magi?

That trusting in God isn’t always easy but definitely best. And I wanted them to have a taste of what Christmas is like in a Latino home.

What keeps you writing in times of uncertainty?

I remember that this is God’s will in my life. I remind myself that this is my worship. That writing is the gift He gave for me to express and He finds pleasure in my offering. Then it doesn’t matter if I get published. All that matters is the joy of creating.

What is the best piece of advice you have received as an author?

Write, write, write. The more you write the better you get.

And what advice can you give new authors seeking publication?

Focus on the joy of writing and learn as much as you can about the business. Joining the fabulous group of writers in American Christian Fiction Writers has been a blessing to me for this. ACFW has been a life line of resources, support, teaching and fun. I’m still learning and
hope to never stop.

A Big Apple Christmas is a wonderful gift for the holidays. Vasthi, thank you for stopping by.

If you would like the chance to win a copy of A Big Apple Christmas, please leave a comment (below). The winner will be announced on November 20th.


Crystal Laine Miller said...

What a nice interview, Lydia and Vasthi. I look forward to reading the book and for more from Vasthi!

Lydia, this is the first time I've been to your blog and I love your header/header line.

Betsy Ann said...

Great interview!! Vashti, I can't wait to read your story. It was so wonderful meeting you at the conference this year. And any friend of Lori's is a dear friend of mine!! =) Blessings!!

Annette M. Irby said...

Vashti, I was there at the ACFW conference when Becky German announced your book contract for this book. I was sitting at Gail Sattler's table. What a moment!!!

Congratulations on this anthology!

:) Annette

Stormi said...

I love Christmas books! Please put my name in the drawing. :)

Cathy Messecar said...

Lydia and Vashti, thank you. Christmas books are some of my favorite. Books are magical anyway, and if you blend in the Christmas element, who can resist?

Thanks for the opportunity to enter your contest.

Bernadette said...

Hi Lydia and Vashti

This book sounds wonderful! Would even love to interview Vashti re it - contact me if interested visit

What a wonderful blog and opportunity to to possibly
read another wonderful contribution to Christmas!

Thanks for sharing
Show Host
"Conversations with Mrs Claus"

dot said...

I really enjoyed the interview, Lydia and Vasthi.
Vasthi— your novella sounds so interesting. I look forward to reading it.
A Big Apple Christmas will make a wonderful Christmas gift.

Lori said...

Terrific intrview, Lydia. ;)
Vasthi, this is just the first of many great things, I know it. :) Your characters are people I want to know and your stories are valuable and fascinating. I can't wait to see the next one in print! Keep it up, girl!

Vasthi said...

Thank you for interviewing me! I can't wait to see who wins the giveaway!
An early Christmas gift.

Anonymous said...

Great interview, Lydia and Vasthi! Vasthi you are a wonderful writer, and I know readers will love everything you write. Many blessings on this journey you've embarked on.

Please enter me in the drawing!

Debbie P.

Anonymous said...

Dear Vasthi, I really enjoyed reading your wonderful story, and will definitely buy it as Christmas gifts for my friends. I hadn't cried in a long time at the end of a story and yours made me cry when Elias said "Gracias Padre"(Thanks Father). I am glad that you published a story with Latino characters taking place in my own neighborhood. I felt as if I was walking with Cecilia and Elias as they visited the different places. I know this is the first of many wonderful ones to come. Congrats girl! Angela Silverio