For those of you who’ve been asking me how I went from being a marriage and family therapist to a writer of psychological novels, here’s the true story:

If my sweet tooth hadn’t prompted me to step into a bakery in the town of Tolosa, Spain, near my ancestral village of Berastegui, I would not have met the baker who had a passion for the history of chocolate from the Americas. He eagerly took me to his family’s tiny chocolate museum that featured a 17th century, sterling silver, chocolate pot made in Ecuador. When I told him that I was born high up in the Andean capital of Quito, Ecuador and that my ancestor was Ojer de Berastegui, a crew member on the first voyage of Christopher Columbus, the baker didn’t bat a flour-laden eyelash. He hugged me and said, “We’re family, then!” Up until that moment in 1992, I had been pouring over ancient archives looking for Ojer––with no results, but the baker’s intellectual cousin had just published the definitive book on the crew of the Pinta, and confirmed the facts of Ojer’s voyage with Columbus. This example of serendipity and research encapsulates my personal voyage from marriage and family counseling to writing psychological thrillers with historical intrigue.

2012 Las Comadres and Friends National Latino Book Club

They say that all good things come to those who wait, and 2012 is already proving this proverb true for me.  After decades of writing, my second novel Traces of Bliss has been selected as a 2012 Las Comadres and Friends National Latino Book Club – Book of the Month in cooperation with the Association of American Publishers.  This is a heartfelt honor for me since I have long admired this national Latina organization.

I’m proud to have Traces of Bliss (en Español: Vestigios de dicha) in the company of past and present Las Comadres Book Club selected books, which coincidentally  happen to be written by my favorite contemporary authors: Cristina García, Junot Díaz. María Dueñas, Oscar Hijuelos, Josefina Lopez, Yxta Maya Murray, Dr. Ana Nogales, Soledad O’Brien, Esmeralda Santiago, Luis Urrea, and Carlos Ruiz Zafón.  I’m also looking forward to reading the other 2012 selected authors and to joining the national book discussions sponsored by Las Comadres.  If you’re not already familiar with this national organization, please become acquainted:  www.lascomadres.org

Con todo corazón, with all my heart and gratitude to Las Comadres and the Association of American Publishers for selecting Traces of Bliss.