Friday, September 20, 2013

Guest Post: Maria Andreu

The Secret Side of Empty by Maria Andreu
For The Howling Turtle

Guest Post by Maria Andreu

M.T., the main character in my debut novel, The Secret Side of Empty, has a secret.  She looks and sounds like a regular American teenager, but she’s not.  She was brought over as a baby by her parents, and they overstayed their visa, so she is undocumented. 
It was a tough story to tell, because immigration is a topic on which many people hold strong opinions.  More than that, though, it’s a topic that’s close to my heart.  I too was an undocumented immigrant like M.T. when I was a kid.  I was lucky enough to get my citizenship thanks to an amnesty when I was a teenager.  Once I did, all I wanted to do was forget and be like everybody else.
But it was all the ugly things that people started saying about immigrants’ post 9/11 that made me finally understand I had to reveal my own personal knowledge of what it’s like to grow up undocumented.  I set out not to write a political story, but a human one.  I think when people really understand what it’s like in someone else’s shoes, then they start having compassion.   So I wrote a story about a girl and her boyfriend and her fears about what will happen after high school graduation, feelings and worries anyone can relate to.  She just happens to have this added layer of danger and instability in her life.
I was afraid to reveal my own undocumented background, but the outpouring of support and kindness has been amazing.  I think if M.T., the main character of my book, was able to see it, she’d be a little less afraid for her future.
Read more of my work at

ABOUT The Secret Side of Empty

It's the story of a teen girl that is American in every way except for in one very important way: on paper. She was brought to the U.S. as a baby without proper documentation, so she's "illegal." As the end of the safe haven of her high school days draw near, she faces an uncertain future. Full of humor and frustration and love, The Secret Side of Empty speaks to the part in all of us that has felt excluded or has had a secret too scary to share. What M.T., the main character, finally discovers is the strength of the human spirit and the power that's unleashed when you finally live the truth.

Giveaway Info
Maria is giving away two separate prizes on her tour, a $250 Amazon Gift Card AND a Kindle Fire.

1)    For a chance to win the $250 Amazon gift card, OR the Kindle Fire leave a comment on her blog post for that day. Winners will be randomly selected on September 30th.

Maria Andreu’s Bio:

Maria’s writing has appeared in Newsweek, The Washington Post and the Star Ledger.  Her debut novel, The Secret Side of Empty, is the story of an “illegal” high school senior.  It was inspired by Maria’s own experiences as an undocumented teen.  Since becoming a citizen, Maria has run her own business and has become a soccer mom. She lives with her 13-year-old daughter and 12-year-old son in northern New Jersey.

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