We’ve got a fun little Q&A with Ryan Calejo today plus your chance to win a copy of his book Charlie Hernandez & the League of Shadows. Keep reading for details!
Where you write
At the messiest desk in North America. Seriously. One time I lost my keyboard for an entire week!
Your experience seeing your book cover for the first time
All I remember was this overwhelming sense of happiness and then a sort of lightheaded feeling just before I passed out.
The book that most impacted your life
Charlotte’s Web. It was one of the books that made me want to be an author.
Your favorite writing spot
On a hill a few blocks from where I live. It’s so peaceful up there! On a side note, some of my neighbors claim that it’s the tallest hill in South Florida. But if you’ve ever spent any time down here, you know that’s not saying much.
The “must-have” things when you’re writing (clothes, snacks, etc. Whatever little “things” you like to have nearby)
My go to Uni Boxy eraser, because I do a ton of erasing, a bag of yuca chips because I do a ton of snacking, and at least one icy cold bottle of Kombucha tea. Preferably strawberry flavor.
Something that surprised you while writing your book
Finger cramps. I didn’t even know that was a thing!
Weirdest writing inspiration
It’s not super weird, but my itty-bitty little Maltese/Havanese mix inspired the description for arguably the largest creature in my book.
Charlie Hernández has always been proud of his Latin American heritage. He loves the culture, the art, and especially the myths. Thanks to his abuela’s stories, Charlie possesses an almost encyclopedic knowledge of the monsters and ghouls who have spent the last five hundred years haunting the imaginations of children all across the Iberian Peninsula, as well as Central and South America. And even though his grandmother sometimes hinted that the tales might be more than mere myth, Charlie’s always been a pragmatist. Even barely out of diapers, he knew the stories were just make-believe—nothing more than intricately woven fables meant to keep little kids from misbehaving.
But when Charlie begins to experience freaky bodily manifestations—ones all too similar to those described by his grandma in his favorite legend—he is suddenly swept up in a world where the mythical beings he’s spent his entire life hearing about seem to be walking straight out of the pages of Hispanic folklore and into his life. And even stranger, they seem to know more about him than he knows about himself.
Soon, Charlie finds himself in the middle of an ancient battle between La Liga, a secret society of legendary mythological beings sworn to protect the Land of the Living, and La Mano Negra (a.k.a. the Black Hand), a cabal of evil spirits determined to rule mankind. With only the help of his lifelong crush, Violet Rey, and his grandmother’s stories to guide him, Charlie must navigate a world where monsters and brujas rule and things he couldn’t possibly imagine go bump in the night. That is, if he has any hope of discovering what’s happening to him and saving his missing parents (oh, and maybe even the world).
No pressure, muchacho.
Ryan Calejo was born and raised in south Florida. He graduated from the University of Miami with a BA. He’s been invited to join both the National Society of Collegiate Scholars and the Golden Key International Honour Society. He teaches swimming to elementary school students, chess to middle school students, and writing to high school students. Having been born into a family of immigrants and growing up in the so-called “Capital of Latin America,” Ryan knows the importance of diversity in our communities and is passionate about writing books that children of all ethnicities can relate to. His first novel was Charlie Hernández & the League of Shadows.
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