Welcome to Washington, Fina Mendoza by Kitty Felde
1- What was your favorite experience as a journalist?
I won’t say the OJ trial, though that was the most surreal reporting experience. My favorite interviewee was Colin Firth. I loved covering the State of the Union address, Bosnian war crimes, and earthquakes.
2- Would you please, in 160 characters or less, give a #WriteTip ?
Morning pages. Three pages of drek. Everyday.
3- What is the best piece of writing advice you've received?
Don’t doubt yourself. You have a voice and a story that is uniquely yours.
4- How has the podcast impacted your marketing efforts?
Creating THE FINA MENDOZA MYSTERIES podcast gave me another way to brag about the book with a different kind of audience.
Doing BOOK CLUB FOR KIDS made me realize how difficult it is for authors to find a place that puts a spotlight on middle grade novels. It gave me a fat email list and a platform to brag about both the book and THE FINA MENDOZA MYSTERIES podcast.
5- Would you share a picture with us of your book in a fun setting?
Yes! I’ve attached several.
6- How did you get involved in Book Club for Kids podcast and what could you tell us about the program?
Book Club for Kids is a free, 20-minute show where a trio of young readers discuss a middle grade novel, interview the author, and hear a page from the book read by a celebrity. We’ve produced more than 100 episodes, won the DC Mayor’s Award for Excellence in the Humanities and the California Library Association’s Technology Award, and The Times of London named us one of the top 10 podcasts for kids in the world.
I started the show when I was at the LA Times Festival of Books, talking to fans of my daily public radio talk show on KPCC (Southern California Public Radio) Talk of the City. These folks dragged their kids along with them and they told me they had to listen to the show, too because they were in mom’s carpool. Since there was nothing of interest for them on the show, I asked them what they would be interested in: they said books. The show was born, first on my show, then on cable TV, then in 2015, a podcast.
7- What's your Twitter handle, and do you have two or three writer friends on there to shout-out to for #WriterWednesday ?
@kittyfelde. @LauraStegman, @JanetMcCreery, @DanaKMiddleton
8- Do you have a favorite #bookstagram image or account/ profile?
9- What most motivates you to read a new book?
When I already adore the author from previous books.
10- It's our tenth anniversary! How far has your writing come in the past ten years and where do you see your writing career ten years from now?
Wow. Ten years ago, I was writing plays and radio stories. I didn’t have the guts to write prose. Now, it’s all I can think about.
Ten years from now, I plan to have a shelf full of books with my name on them and invitations to Book Festivals around the world.
11- What is your favorite book by someone else, what's the author's Twitter handle, and what do you love most about that book? #FridayReads book recommendation time!
Author name: @Sherri_L_Smith
Love because: Sherri never writes the same kind of book twice. You’re always surprised. “Flygirl” is the ultimate female empowerment novel: an African-American girl who dreams of flying passes as white to join the WASP corps during World War II.
12- What emotions do you hope your book will evoke for the reader?
One young reader told me it “wasn’t too scary.” Good. I hope it will evoke love of family, humor about our current political situation, and courage that we can all try something a bit out of our comfort zone.
13- What kind of impact do you hope your book will have?
I hope “Welcome to Washington, Fina Mendoza” will inspire the next generation to consider public service as a career. The current political climate is so toxic, it’s easy for us to become cynical and discouraged. Kids are our hope for the future.
14- What is the best writing tool, program, or reference book you've ever bought?
I like Twyla Tharp’s “The Creative Habit” and a real oldie “Writing for Children & Teenagers” by Lee Wyndham.
15- In what ways are the main characters in your book diverse? diversebooks.org #WeNeedDiverseBooks
My book is about a Latino family from Los Angeles - first, second, and third generations. That second generation is the father in my book, Congressman Arturo Mendoza. My main character is third generation, Fina Mendoza.
16- Who is your favorite book review blogger?
17- What was the deciding factor in your publication route?
The MS got me a New York agent at a prestigious house, but he reported that no one wanted to touch a book with a Latina main character by an author named Felde. I felt the book would strike a chord with a western publisher from a place with a large Latino population like California or Texas. I was right. I received interest from indie publishers in California, Arizona, and Texas and ultimately went with Black Rose Writing.
18- Which author, past or present, do you feel most resembles your work?
19- Would you please ask our audience a question to answer in the comments?
What’s the one thing in a middle grade novel that drives you crazy?
20- Anything else you would care to share about your book and yourself?
Link to a 2 minute trailer for THE FINA MENDOZA MYSTERIES podcast: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-fina-mendoza-mysteries/id1481926408?i=1000451852178
Bio:Kitty Felde hosts the award-winning Book Club for Kids podcast – named one of the top 10 kidcasts in the world by “The Times of London.” She also writes plays that are performed worldwide. She fell in love with literature for young readers when she was a young reader, working at her local public library. Kitty looked for the Demon Cat while covering Congress for public radio. She found the paw prints, but not the cat.
Blurbs:Fina Mendoza is the kind of bright, lively, curious, loving little girl you want for a best friend forever. The book is a marvelous introduction to the workings of government, and of a young lady of spunk and smarts.
– Susan Stamberg, NPR
A fun read disguised as a book for grade schoolers, it gives keen insight into the everyday workings of the U. S. Capitol and its inhabitants.
– U.S. Congressman David Dreier, former Chair Rules Committee
A beautiful story told through the eyes of a gutsy Latina protagonist, it introduces children to the daily hum of life in our nation’s capital. Told with unerring accuracy, my son and I recognized the perfect descriptions of the Capitol and Fina’s rich cultural traditions.
– U.S. Congresswoman Linda Sanchez
Readers like me, old and young, will love learning about the customs and eccentricities in the halls of power that are interwoven into a moving comedy/drama of two sisters adjusting to the loss of their mother, of a congressman coping as a single parent, and of an abuelita protecting her grandchildren. And they’ll laugh out loud at the antics of the goofy orange dog, Senator Something. This patriotic and nonpartisan whodunit is both timely and welcome!
– Gail Carson Levine, author of “Ella Enchanted”
Welcome to Washington, Fina Mendoza by Kitty Felde