Back in August, one of my super sweet CP's (Critique Partner's), Angela Cervantes, published her debut middle-grade novel, Gaby, Lost and Found
with Scholastic Press. If you haven't read it yet, you should! It is a touching story about a girl trying to find her place when her life is flipped up-side down. Here's the blurb:
Gaby Howard Ramirez loves volunteering at the local animal shelter. She’s in charge of writing adoption advertisements so that the strays who live there can find their forever homes: places where they’ll be cared for and loved, no matter what.
Gaby has been feeling like a bit of a stray herself lately. Her mother has recently been deported to Honduras, and Gaby is stuck living with her inattentive dad. She’s confident that her mom will come home soon so they can adopt Gaby’s favorite shelter cat together. But when the cat’s owners turn up at the shelter, Gaby worries that her plans for the perfect family are about to fall apart.
I'll be honest, I'm not a crier, but this one had me all choked up. I'm not an animal person, but she had me falling in love with each stray as I read the adoption advertisements. Gaby is a spunky character full of heart, and I'm certain you'll fall in love with her like I did.
begged asked Angela if she'd be willing to do an interview with Girlie (my 4-year-old daughter), and she obligingly agreed.
So this is Girlie, and I'm going to let her take it from here:
: I don't know who you are. Who are you?
: I'm Angela Cervantes and I'm author of Gaby, Lost and Found, which was published by Scholastic Press. :)
: I like to play Diego Wii with my friends. What do you like to do with your friends?
: I enjoy going for coffee with my friends and playing tennis or baseball with them.
: I'm trying to make people happy by playing with them and sharing my stuff. How do you make people happy?
: I think sharing things is a great way to make people happy. I'm going to have to do more of that. I also think people really like it when you're a good, honest friend to them and you remember their birthdays.
Girlie: People can be nice to each other and don't throw a fit. Is the girl with the cat in the backpack nice and doesn't throw fits?
: The girl on the cover is Gaby and she is super nice. She's also brave, smart and a serious animal lover. She'd do anything to help a cat or dog if it were in trouble.
I think the only time she throws a fit is when she feels an innocent animal has been poorly treated. I don't blame her really.
: I like the kitty on the cover. I don't have a kitty. Do you?
: I don't have a kitty either, but I'm glad you like the cat on the cover. That cat is named Feather. In this book, we find out that Feather was named Feather by the folks at the animal shelter because when she was brought into the shelter she was as light as a Feather. She and Gaby become good friends.
: You look cute in that picture and I like your skirt. Do you choose your own clothes? I do!
: Thank you! I do choose my own clothes. I love picking out cute stuff to wear. I love bright colors like red, purple, pinks and yellows.
Girlie: Did you sign the book? Do we get to keep it?
Me: Sorry Girlie, I know you love this book, but we have our own copy. We're going to give these ones to some people who haven't read it yet.
: I am always happy to sign a book for anyone who wants it. :) It's one of the nice perks of being an author.
Me: Angela, thanks so much for answering all of Girlie's questions. She loves your book and keeps sneaking it from my room! But I have a couple of questions for you, too. As you know, I re-joined our critique group shortly after you got the offer from Scholastic, so I missed the whole writing process. How long did it take you to write Gaby, Lost and Found? And would you tell us about your revision process, too?
Angela: It took nine months to write Gaby, Lost and Found and another two years of revision. I believe the real magic happens during revision and I enjoy it. For me, it's not as intense as the writing process. I go into revision knowing I have to chop away stuff. I go into writing never knowing what will happen so I definitely prefer revision. Although it can be painful-- especially when you have to take out a character (I had to remove two characters from Gaby, Lost and Found) or remove a favorite scene--but it's necessary if you're committed to making the story stronger.
Me: Oooh! I love knowing secret stuff like about books, like characters that didn't make the cut. I may have to hear about these characters at our next meeting. :) Okay, so last question. I kind of have this thing about personalized license plates. So, if Gaby were old enough to drive, what would her personalized license plate be?
Me: I love it! She definitely lives up to that. :)
: Gaby's license plate would be GRLPWR.
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Angela Cervantes is a poet, storyteller, and animal lover. Her poetry and short stories have appeared in various publications, including Chicken Soup for the Latino Soul. When Angela is not writing, she enjoys hanging out with her husband in Kansas and eating fish tacos every chance she gets. Gaby, Lost and Found is her first middle-grade novel. She is currently at work on her second book.
You can keep up with Angela at her website:
Now for the Giveaway! I have two signed (paperback) copies of Gaby, Lost and Found
to give away to two lucky visitors. Just enter in the Rafflecopter below! The giveaway is open through March 31st. Good luck!