About the book:
Fifteen-year-old Mariana Ruiz has no desire to step foot outside her affluent Philadelphia suburb. BUT she may not have a choice.
With total disregard to the high-glam Sweet16 her best friend is hosting, Mariana’s father ships her off to a tiny mountain town in Puerto Rico to stay with family she’s never met. The heat is merciless, the food is spicy, and only one of her relatives—her distant cousin Lilly—speaks English. Her consolation prize is Lilly’s homespun Puerto Rican Quinceãnera. Only the riotously festive party exposes Mariana to more than just her culture. She uncovers new friends, her first love, and a family secret that’s been buried on the island for more than 30 years.
Stacy: If you couldn't be a writer, what would your dream job be?
Diana: A rock star. I can’t sing at all, but man, do I wish I could. When Oprah was doing that season of “Wildest Dreams,” I kept saying that all I’d want to do is walk out on stage before a Madonna concert at Madison Square Garden and scream into the microphone, “Hello, New York!” How awesome would that be?
Stacy: What's the most surprising thing to happen since publication of your book?
Diana: I’ve gotten emails from readers! When I wrote Amor and Summer Secrets, I didn’t imagine anyone reading it aside from my friends and family. So I still find it weird that there’s a teenage girl in Alaska who liked my book so much that she sent me an email. It’s hard to wrap my brain around.
Stacy: What are you working on now?
Diana: I am hard at work on a new work-in-progress. It’s a complete departure from my Amor series—lots of spies, suspense, fight scenes and, of course, a love triangle. I’m really excited about it. Plus I get to travel because I’m setting some scenes in Europe. And the main character is a lot of fun to write. She’s much cooler than I am, all about girl power, and her dialogue is very punchy. I hope to have it ready for the publishing world soon!
Stacy: Did you have a favorite teacher who encouraged your writing/reading habit?
Diana: The entire English Department at Ridley High School was awesome when I was there, and still is. My ninth and tenth grade teachers, Mrs. Lown and Mrs. Cavanaugh, came to my book launch party in September—as did the rest of the department and my 12th grade Spanish teacher, Senor Lasalle. Also, my kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Sewell, came to one of my signings. Truly, I give it up to all of them. I wouldn’t be where I am now if they hadn’t taught me what I know.
Stacy: What's your favorite kind of chocolate?
Diana: Dark, always dark. I especially love those dark chocolate Dove ice cream bars. Yum.
To find out more about Diana and her books, visit her at her website, at MySpace, or on Twitter.
Happy reading, everyone!!