Not being familiar with author Misa Ramirez, I was so pleased to get the opportunity to "meet" and interview this incredibly interesting woman. She came up with some great answers and really allows readers to see a bit into the woman behind her imagination and books!
Tell us a bit about Hasta la Vista, Lola!. What is the story about, who are the characters, etc.
Hasta la Vista, Lola! is the second book in the Lola Cruz Mystery series. The series centers around Dolores (Lola) Cruz. Each book is fundamentally a mystery, but the characters are the heart. Lola, her family (mother, father, mobster-like grandparents, brother Antonio, sister Gracie), her on-again/off-again love (Jack Callaghan), her co-workers (Manny Camacho, Sadie Metcalf, Reilly Fuller) — these people each have their own stories which will unfold throughout the series.
In Hasta la Vista, Lola!, Lola arrives at her parents’ house one evening to find her entire family there grieving her death. Identity theft is at the center of the mystery and Lola has to discover whether or not she was the intended target and if someone still wants her dead.
How do you come up with the names of your characters? It almost seems as though, as an author, you have the continuous fun of naming children!
Some of them just come to me and it’s a good fit. Other times a character will go through several name changes until I find the one that truly embodies that character. With Lola, it came to me, and it was perfect. I wanted a name that showed duality. Dolores, as she’s known to her family and co-workers, is formal and traditional. Lola, a nickname for Dolores, represents Lola’s independent, fun, sexy side. There are two parts to her personality and they’re represented by her names. She constantly struggles with balancing her parents’ traditional values and the Mexican culture with her Americanism and her independent views, again represented by the two versions of her name.
What do you want readers to take away from reading Lola Cruz Mysteries?
A thirst for more Lola! The books are fun, sexy, sassy, and smart. I want readers craving the next book in the series, or going back to the earlier books in order to start from the beginning or fill in the blanks.
I also want to represent a perspective of the Mexican culture that is not stereotypical. I’m white, my husband is Mexican, and our children embody both the American and Mexican cultures. We work hard to maintain the Mexican culture in their upbringing, despite the American lives we live. This is the balance Lola struggles with maintaining also. In such a melting pot, I feel it is so important to retain family and cultural traditions. I hope that the Lola Cruz Mysteries help demonstrate that balance and break stereotypes.