Paperback Writer would like to introduce author Tony Robles, author of Joey Gonzalez, Great American. Tony was born in Brooklyn, New York. After serving in the U.S. Navy, he pursued a career in law enforcement with the U.S. Customs Service. He and his wife currently live in the Pacific Northwest and have two children and one grandchild.Growing up Hispanic in a tough neighborhood supposedly made Tony Robles one of the “disadvantaged,” needing special preferences in order to compete. Tony’s mom didn’t agree, and she is the inspiration behind this book.
Joey Gonzalez Great American Synopsis:
Welcome to Paperback Writer
Will you share with us how you came up with the idea for this book?
My children’s book deals with affirmative action, a prejudiced mentality that I believe is poisoning the minds of Hispanic and black children, leading them to believe they are inherently inferior and must have special preferences to succeed.
I have been watching in frustration for years as the affirmative action mentality has become entrenched in America. By today’s affirmative action standards, I was born to fail: Hispanic, living in poverty, abandoned by my father, my mother a high school dropout, crime ridden neighborhoods, tough, segregated high school – and no special preferences to help me along. But my mother didn’t raise me to be a victim. She taught me that the keys to rising above poverty are education and hard work. She instilled in me strong ethnic pride and self reliance. I wove my mother’s message into Joey Gonzalez, Great American.
Do you plan your stories first with an outline or does it come to you as write it?
When I wrote Joey Gonzalez, Great American, I just created the characters and set up the confrontation. After that the story told itself.
Do you know the end of the story at the beginning?
This simple story unfolds in three acts. I knew what Act III would be before I started typing Act I.
Do you have a process for developing your characters?
I didn’t use any special process for developing the characters. I just thought about them and they became real for me.
It is said that authors write themselves into their characters. Is there any part of you in your characters and what they would be?
This book is my heart. Joey Gonzalez is my alter ego. He’s based on my life and my upbringing. It’s very personal.
What is your most favorite part about this book?
My favorite part of the story comes when Joey stands up and tells his teacher and his classmates that his ancestors, the Spanish Explorers came to America to be Americans – not minorities, and that they got all the way over here from Spain without any affirmative action. The illustration depicting this moment is special to me because the artist, Jimmy Pryor used me as the model for one of the Spanish explorers. He painted me into my favorite scene.
When in the process of writing your book did you begin to look for a publisher?
I found World Ahead Publishing first. I was inspired by the Kid’s Ahead conservative children’s books. I wrote the story because I had found a publisher I thought would have the vision and the courage to publish it.
What struggles have you had on the road to being published?
Getting the artwork just right was a challenge. The publisher wanted watercolors and Jimmy Pryor had never done any serious work in that medium. He had to learn by trial and error. Fortunately, Jimmy is a talented and versatile artist. He produced a set of beautifully detailed watercolor paintings to illustrate the book.
What has been the best part about being published?
The best part of having this book published is my knowing that the message will get out to a lot of kids.
What do you want readers to remember and carry with them after reading your story?
I want people to understand at the very core of their hearts that black and Hispanic people have a proud ancestry and they are not inherently inferior. I want people to understand that we must not allow the affirmative action mentality to continue filling our children’s heads with negative stereotypes that can make them prejudiced against themselves. It is not good for our children. It is not good for the black and Hispanic people. And it is not good for our country.
Do you have plans to write another book?
I may have a story or two inside me. I’ll see what God has in mind for me.
Would you care to share with us how the virtual book tour experience with Pump Up Your Book Promotion has been for you?
So far a lot of writing! But I’m excited about the exposure. Joey Gonzalez will be on the Internet permanently through this promotion. This will surely help me to get the message out to our kids. That makes me happy.
Where can readers find a copy of your book?
I’ll just paste in the websites:
And here are two websites with great editorials about the book.
Do you have a website for readers to go to?
Thank you, Tony for sharing your book and characters with us today. It has been a pleasure and I hope you have had a successful virtual book tour.
Thank you for giving me this opportunity.
JOEY GONZALEZ GREAT AMERICAN VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR ’08 will officially begin on April 1, 2008 and continue all month. If you would like to follow Tony’s complete tour, visit http://www.virtualbooktours.wordpress.com/ in April. Leave a comment on his blog stops and become eligible to win a free copy at the end of his tour! One lucky winner will be announced on this blog on April 30!