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Q&A With New York Author María Márquez-Salane

Amanda K. (BookBuzz)

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Author Maria Marquez-Salane with her book Betrayal, Sacrifice and Hope in the Port of CallaoPhoto byBookBuzz

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María Márquez-Salane was born in Lima, Peru, and later immigrated to New York City in the 1980s. Despite arriving as a young woman with limited English proficiency, she diligently learned the language and now resides in Queens with her family. María's passion for education and her unwavering commitment to her studies earned her exceptional academic achievements, including a full scholarship to complete her graduate studies in education at Pace University. She graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Spanish and Sociology at Queens College. María's love for learning, instilled in her by her paternal grandmother while growing up in a disadvantaged neighborhood in Callao, has been the driving force behind her personal achievements both in her home country and abroad. This marks the author's debut in non-fiction writing.

Maria's memoir Betrayal, Sacrifice, And Hope In The Port Of Callao was released in English and Spanish in March 2023.

Author Q&A

What inspired you to write your first book?

I had been thinking about writing this memoir for a long time, but it was too painful for me to remember the events that occurred in my childhood. I tried many times to write the first paragraph to no avail. One day my daughter asked me to write her a draft of the first chapter. I didn’t want to disappoint her. I got up early the next morning and sat down in front of the computer staring at a blank screen for ten minutes. I prayed to my grandmother Elsa to give me the strength and will to write the first chapter and end it there. The moment I started writing on the computer I couldn’t stop writing for two hours. I felt my grandmother’s spirit. She not only was coaching me to write the first chapter but to continue with the additional twenty-one chapters that lay ahead. My grandmother’s love and sacrifice inspired me to write my first memoir.

How did you come up with the title?

I waited for the story to develop and made the decision while writing chapter 8. I was describing the actions of three generations who were affected by the betrayal of my parents because they failed to provide for their children. The title reflects the sacrifices of my grandmother who gave her life to raise me and my siblings and the hope that I had for a better life. As the title indicates these events took place in the Port of Callao.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

I would like readers to know that we are not alone in our tragedies and misfortunes. Life teaches us to encounter every experience with a good attitude and humility. These harsh experiences help us to face our own fears and tribulations. We discover over the years that we can conquer evil with goodness. This was the only way I succeeded in life and was able to overcome various hardships in my childhood and adolescence,

How much of the book is realistic?

The entire book is realistic. The names have been changed to protect the privacy of family and friends.

Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

The experiences and events I narrated in the book are my own life. I lived every episode I wrote in my memoir. For this reason, it was very hard for me to write about the wounds that are still hurting me to this day. It was necessary for me to bring these wounds to the surface to heal and find peace.

What books have most influenced your life?

The books that have most influenced my life were “Siddhartha” and “Narcissus and Goldmund“ by Hermann Hesse; “ Resurrection” and “ War and Peace” by Leo Tolstoy; “One Hundred Years of Solitude” and “ Love in the Time of Cholera” by Gabriel García Márquez; “The Feast of the Goat” by Mario Vargas Llosa; “The House of the Spirits” by Isabel Allende; and “The Old Man and the Sea” by Ernest Hemingway.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

I will choose Hermann Hesse because he explains in depth the lack of affection and love the main characters in his books had for their parents. I believe Hesse’s novels are an autobiography in which he explained vividly the feelings of sorrow and oppression he felt toward his loved ones. His characters cried out to hear a kind and loving word of warmth. I personally connect with most of Hesse’s characters because they all portray this loneliness, rejection, and betrayal by their immediate family that I experienced myself.

What are your current projects?

I am thinking to write my second memoir about coming to New York City where I explore all the opportunities and disappointments that I encountered in this country.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

I wouldn’t change anything in my latest book. I had a rich and turbulent life that taught me the secrets to surviving amid tragedy. Those experiences gave me the tools and strength to confront my own fears and flaws. I like helping people in any capacity and I think my book could benefit many readers.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

I always wanted to write a memoir about my life in Peru. I didn’t have the discipline to sit for hours and recollect all the painful events and experiences I went through. I thought if I paid a ghostwriter to record and transcribe my story it would be easier to publish my nonfiction book. I strongly believe that the passion, interest, and commitment I harbored for many years to write my first memoir sparked my desire to write it. I never stopped envisioning my story narrated from the heart appearing in the public domain. Any writers who have a simple, powerful, and inspirational story to share should go ahead and do it. It takes courage to write the first paragraph, but the rest of the chapters will flow more easily.

Betrayal, Sacrifice, And Hope In The Port Of Callao is available for purchase on Amazon.

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Amanda is a PR manager and book lover from Georgia. When she's not working, she enjoys spending time outdoors with her husband and two doggies.

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