Today I’m super thrilled to have Guilie Castillo, a fellow blogger and dog lover I connected with two years ago via the Blogging From A to Z April Challenge, grace this blog today.
Guilie is a Mexican export who transferred to Curaçao “for six months”—and, twelve years later, has yet to find a reason to leave. Her work has been published online and in print anthologies, such as Pure Slush’s 2014 A Year In Stories and gorge.
She has just written her first book, ‘The Miracle of Small Things‘(Truth Serum Press, Aug 2015) is about a Mexican tax lawyer, Luis Villalobos, who is lured to the tiny island of Curaçao anticipating a fast track to the cusp of an already stellar career. But the paradise we expect is so rarely the paradise we find.
To celebrate the e-book release (Kindle, epub, iBook, and Kobo), The Miracle of Small Things is going on virtual tour. Several blogs will be hosting Guilie throughout November to talk about writing, about the book, its island setting and its characters, and some of the issues Miracle touches on, such as the role of large and small things in the realignment of our values, and the power of place in our definition of self.
It’s a pleasure, and an honor, to be here today. Thank you so much, Corinne, for your hospitality, and for the opportunity to talk about this quirky book.
The Miracle of Small Things really is full of quirks. Take the format: a novel in stories. Thirteen stand-alone pieces, but all thirteen further and complete a single narrative arc. All of them (except the last one) take place on the first of the month: January 1st, February 1st, March 1st, so on. A sort of serial—which is, actually, how this project began.
In between each story is an image and a… well, the publisher calls them Curaçao facts, I call them Curaçao info bites. An enormous amount of people around the world—especially in places where we expect higher sales, such as the US, UK, and Australia—have no clue that Curaçao even exists (other than as a blue drink), so we felt adding some details and images to give the reader a more three-dimensional view was a good call.
Then there’s the story-line itself. It’s not a romance, although there is a love story in there somewhere. It’s not a thriller, but it does play out in the world of offshore finance. It’s not a mystery; except for a very few instances, we all know exactly whodunit—and even what it is who has dunn. If it were a movie, the raters would probably waver between giving it an R, for some sexual content and language, and a PG. Though not PG-13… Maybe PG−16 or −17.
Let’s not forget the characters. A hotshot tax attorney with scruples. A millionaire who shuns all attempts to lower her tax burden. A cool seductress who ends up in love with the most unlikely candidate. And an abandoned dog—huge, black 100-lb Al—who has a lot to teach these clueless humans… But at what price?
And there’s the setting, a tropical island with an unexpected charm:
Curaçao’s is a prickly kind of beauty.
Rough around the edges, camouflaged in the humdrum, the unremarkable, even the unappealing. It’s a rare beauty, sudden and abrupt; the beauty of a cactus flowering in the wild, blooms of impossible grace hidden in thorns and the tromp l’oeil of shadow in the blazing sun.
It’s the kind of beauty that, like the cactus flower, lives in total ignorance of ostentation.
The kind that the traveler seeking glamour or sycophantic perfection will never be able to see.
~ From THE MIRACLE OF SMALL THINGS, Curaçao interlude # 1
What do you think? Is quirkiness a plus or a minus in your reading choices? It’s not without its challenges, for sure, but do these challenges also bring advantages? And are there certain kinds of quirkiness you prefer, or some you dislike?
Connect with Guilie on Facebook and Twitter, or at her blog.
Find the book on Facebook and Goodreads.