Looking for someone bilingual who could proofread Puentes, I remembered reading an non-fiction piece about a mother trying to teach Spanish to her children. And so, the search for this hilarious and talented bilingual writer started. And yes, I found her. Y así empezó todo.
Fernanda is Puentes’ proofreader and voice of reason. She reminds us to keep things short and to the point, and to celebrate and promote everything we do regularly. She challenges us and helps us make Puentes better.
Despite her busy schedule, she answered a few questions about life, writing and, of course, Puentes.
And yes gente, Fernanda is working on her manuscript. We can’t wait to see it out there.
1. What are you reading?
I am always reading a lot – in fact you can tell how happy I am by the list of books I have by my bed. The bigger the pile, the happier I am.
I tend to read memoirs, crime fiction and, occasionally, fiction. In recent years I’ve moved much more to non-fiction than novels, but I’m always happy to get a new author to dive into.
Currently on my TBR pile are: Mick Herron’s Zoë Boehm series, Grimmish by Michael Winkler, The Birdman’s Wife by Melissa Ashley (which reminds me to tell you I love historical fiction, too). I’m looking forward to reading The God of Good Looks by Breanne Mc Ivor, a Trinidadian writer.
I also got a book about make-up from my local library (The History of Make-Up by Lisa Eldridge), and I am trying to absorb all the imagery and historical facts before giving it back. On time, ¡por supuesto!
2. What are you watching?
I have an intense reading and WhatsApp habit 😊 The moment my two kids are down at night, I battle the parenting nemeses of laundry and kitchen cleaning POW POW SHABANG and then dive into a book … and also try to respond to my messages from family and friends in the UK, the USA, or Argentina. It makes me so happy to have this connection via my phone. I know everyone says mobile phones are Satan’s GPS trackers, but I was a terrible letter writer, and I’m not a great personal emailer either, so these quick messages are my soul connection. That said: most of my messages start with ‘I’m sorry it’s taken me forever to reply’ in either Spanish or English.
I love watching movies in the cinema so the moment the Spanish Film Festival (SFF) comes to Melbourne I disappear. The SFF and Comedy Festival here are my cultural highlights. Last time my Mum came out we saw a venezolano comic, Ivan Aristeguieta, and it was great to enjoy this bilingual experience with her.
3. Who would you most like to swap places with for the day?
Zadie Smith, Meg Mason, or Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Or my cat, Daisy. The other day I found her under the clothes drying rack in the bright sunlight: she had shade and heat and was completely stretched out, living her best life.
Before having children, I was a nocturnal creature so I am torn between Daisy’s night-time leaps around the house and wanting to be one of my literary heroes for the day.
Probably the one who’d most want to swap with me is Daisy, so let’s go with her.
5. If you could snap your fingers and become an expert in something, what would that be?
I’d be a detective. I am surprised I haven’t been recruited already. I’d be the person wandering away from the crime scene, speaking to the neighbour no-one has spoken to yet, gathering intel at the local coffee shop, infiltrating the suspect’s WhatsApp groups, and figuring out where they shop based on CCTV footage.
Apart from the likelihood that I’d fail the physical exam and struggle with hierarchical institutions, I think I would be a great crime fighter.
6. What’s the best advice you were ever given? Who was it from?
Keep on writing. I hear it a lot, but it’s the hardest thing to do because rejection is part of this industry.
I do believe the writing improves if you’re serious and keep on trying. You can’t make your own luck if you’re not writing.
7. What’s your favourite thing about Puentes Review?
I think you, Gabriella, are wonderful because you came up with the idea and made something for the Latin American community in Australia.
And I know you are busy with other work and family life, and yet you did it. Your action makes it possible for people like myself to read other Latin American people’s work, to understand experiences in Australia in dialogue with events in South America or in our elders’ migration to this country.
I think it’s a beautiful achievement. So, Puentes’ existence is my favourite thing.
9. What has been your favourite piece(s) in Puentes Review so far?
‘Abueli duties‘, de Las Rosa’s piece about looking for her grandchild’s toy (published in Issue 1). It had everything: love, drama, mystery and the voice of an abuela. I think we need to sell this to Hollywood – or better still, Almodóvar.