Thursday, June 20, 2013

Guest Post + Blog Tour: The Secret Side of Empty by Maria Andreu

Guest Post by Maria Andreu author of The Secret Side of Empty

Welcome to my stop on the tour for The Secret Side of Empty by Maria Andreu hosted by Worldwind Virtual Book Tours. I have a special guest post for you today and a wonderful entrance into a giveaway for a $250 Amazon gift card simply by liking her Facebook page. Check out the summary for The Secret Side of Empty. There is not a cover just yet.

COMING NEXT SPRING… The Secret Side of Empty
**Read about the book and scroll below for details on how to enter to WIN a $250 Amazon gift card just by liking the author’s Facebook page!**

You've heard the news stories.  Now hear the real story.
M.T. is starting her senior year with a lot going for her.  She gets great grades, has a best friend she met in kindergarten and a boyfriend who is sweet and into her.  But life – at least as she knows it – is about to end.
M.T. is what the news calls “illegal” – she came to the U.S. with her parents as a baby and never got the right papers that allowed her to stay.  She lives in fear of her family getting deported, in even more fear that she’ll have to go to the home country she doesn’t even remember, of people finding out her ugly secret and of the increasingly volatile situation at home.  When senior year is over, the protected world she’s found in her small parochial school will disappear.  Without a social security number, she won’t be able to go to college, get a job or, maybe worst of all, get a driver’s license.

But she’ll worry about all that later.  First, she’s got a senior year to take on.

The Secret Side of Empty

Guest Post

I like to joke that I was an overnight success that was 20 years in the making.  The “overnight success” part comes from the fact that I was signed by the first agency I pitched my young adult novel, The Secret Side of Empty.  (And what an agency too!  My book got pulled out of the slush pile by the same woman who discovered Twilight).  Once I got my agent, my book was sold in the first round in a multiple-offers situation.  The book will be out Spring, 2014.  The publishing fairy tale of every writer’s dreams.

The back story is a bit of a darker fairy tale, like one of the ones in which a troll comes to steal your first born or something like that.  I first wrote in my diary, “most of all, I want to be a writer,” when I was 12 years old.  I started my first novel then too (I’ll spare us all the indignity of digging that up).  Throughout college and beyond, I made fitful attempts at being a “real writer.”  I submitted short stories that literary journals took 8 months to reject.  I wrote for little local magazines.  I tried to find my way in to the publishing industry.

Success finally came in the most unexpected way.  I had kept a secret my whole life and it was one of the things of which I was most ashamed.  When I was a kid, I was an “illegal” (or, more accurately, an undocumented) immigrant.  My parents brought me over as a baby and overstayed their visa.  So although I had no hand in the decision, I was “illegal” in the only country I’ve ever called home.  That meant no social security number, no college, no job, no driver’s license… no life.  When I was 18 I was unbelievably lucky and became eligible for an amnesty, which put me on a road to citizenship.

For a long time I tried hard to forget it.  But, about 5 years ago, I had one of those “ah-ha” moments.  My dream of being a “real writer” could only come from telling the deepest truths I knew: and the story of what it’s like to be undocumented was one of them.  I was scared, but slowly I started to share my experiences.  I got a piece published in Newsweek, then another in the Washington Post and I finally realized I was on the right track.

I pitched my book first as a memoir, and got over 70 very lovely and polite rejections.  Finally, someone at a writer’s conference pointed out the obvious:  “The problem is that you’re trying to sell this as a book about an adult, but all the action happens when the protagonist is a teenager.”  Looking back on it now, I don’t understand how I didn’t see it sooner!  So I rewrote it as a young adult novel and pitched Writers House.  You read the rest of that fairy tale up above.

My experience with publishing has been many things: bruising, demoralizing, exhilarating, amazing.  I can see now why things were supposed to happen for me exactly the way they did.  I am very excited about sharing my first novel with people, and hope you’ll come Like my Facebook page to join me on the ride.

Author Maria Andreu

Maria Andreu is an author and immigration rights activist.  She lives in beautiful Bergen County, New Jersey with her two wonderful middle schoolers.  At the age of 12, she wrote in her diary, "Most of all, I want to be a writer."  Growing up undocumented and poor, she never imagined that dream might come true one day.  Her work has been published in Newsweek, The Washington Post and The Star Ledger and her first novel, The Secret Side of Empty, will be published by Running Press in Spring, 2014.

Find the Author: Goodreads | Facebook | Website | Twitter

A Note from the Author, Maria Andreu:
The fulfillment of great dreams feels best when shared, which is why I'm inviting people to Like my Facebook page and come along with me on the fabulous and improbable journey of publishing my first novel.  As my thanks, when you like the page by July 31st, you'll be able to enter to win a fan-only sweeps for a $250 Amazon gift card!

Be the first to get updates on the cover, new tour stops, and fan-only content (plus enter a sweeps for a $250 Amazon gift card) by liking the author's Facebook page here:

The book is already getting industry buzz and news coverage, so Like the FB page to get updates on that as well.

I'd like to thank Maria for taking the time out to give us this wonderful post and opportunity for such a great gift card!


  1. sounds like an interesting book, looking forward to reading it. Jodie @ Aussie Bookworm

  2. This sounds like a very interesting read...and quite relevant in today's political/social climate. And to be such a success is awesome. It was meant to be! ;) Thanks for sharing.

  3. Wow, the first agency. And picked by the person who picked Twilight. That is so cool.

  4. I agree about the relevance. Thank you so much for stopping by!

  5. I think so too! Thank you so much for stopping by :D

  6. Thank you! I really appreciate you stopping by :D


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