[Note from Frolic: This post is brought to you by our friends at Kensington. Looking for your next heartwarming read? Look no further than Twice a Quinceañera by Yamile Saied Méndez, out now!]
We are so excited to bring you this exclusive Q&A with Yamile Saied Méndez, author of Twice a Quinceañera!
About Twice a Quinceañera:
A whimsical romcom from the acclaimed author of the Reese Witherspoon YA Book Club Pick Furia, perfect for fans of The Spanish Love Deception and Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating. An accomplished young woman decides to throw herself a quinceañera (times two) for her 30th birthday after calling off her wedding, but then discovers what it really means to come into her own.
One month short of her wedding day—and her thirtieth birthday—Nadia Palacio finds herself standing up to her infuriating, cheating fiancé for the first time in . . . well, ever. But that same courage doesn’t translate to breaking the news to her Argentinian family. She’s hyperventilating before facing them when she glimpses a magazine piece about a Latina woman celebrating herself—with a second quinceañera, aka Sweet 15! And that gives Nadia a brilliant idea . . .
With a wedding venue already paid for, and family from all over the world with plane tickets, Nadia is determined to create her own happily-ever-after. Since the math adds up perfectly, she’ll celebrate her treintañera, her double quinces. As the first professional in her family, raising a glass to her achievements is the best plan she’s had in years. Until she discovers that the man in charge of the venue is none other than her college fling that became far more than a fling. And he looks even more delicious than a three-tiered cake . . .
Full of exuberant heart, Twice a Quinceañera is a pure delight for every woman who needs to be her own biggest fan—and who dreams of a second chance at first love.
What was the inspiration behind TWICE A QUINCEANERA?
Nadia and Marcos have been in the back of my mind for a long, long time, waiting for me to finally tell their story. I wanted to give them a big family, a second chance romance, and a big party to bring all the threads together. Quinceañeras are one of my favorite things from my Latine culture, and when I found out about the trend of double, triple quinceañeras, and more, I knew I had found the perfect backdrop for my characters. I love the idea of celebrating lives’ achievements, and of celebrating landmark birthdays! Growing old is a privilege not granted to all, and each round around the sun is more than enough reason for a party.
Can you speak about why a second chance romance was the right choice for this story?
I believe in young love that can last forever. I also think that in life, sometimes we find a good love but not always when it’s a good time for that relationship to grow. I love the idea of people in love having a second chance. Now that Nadia is reevaluating her life, putting Marcos in her life again seemed like the perfect opportunity to show she had changed for the better, even if at times, she doesn’t have everything worked out.
What do you like most about Nadia? About Marcos?
I love that she has strong ideals, and that even though she appears to be hard on the outside, she has a tender heart. Which means the lesson to love herself first isn’t hard for her to learn, even if it’s hard for her to act on it.
Marcos is everything I love in a love interest! He’s really trying to do the right thing for Nadia, his family, and his friends. He too needs to do what’s right for him!
Why do you think it’s important for women to celebrate their power and accomplishments?
Celebrating is a way of giving thanks. Sometimes we women are so driven and determined, we move from one task to the next. But a celebration, even if it’s a small treat, is a way for us to show gratitude to our old selves who sowed the seeds for us to us to reap the benefits. And also, celebrating is a way to say thanks to the Universe (or a Higher Power) for the chance to grow and just for being here one more day. Women have so much stacked against us (especially those of color, Indigenous, and Black) that every success must be celebrated to show the next generations the things that are possible.
What are your must-haves when throwing a party?
For the best party you need: good company, music, and food.
Do you have any tips on writing chemistry between romantic leads?
It took me a while to find an answer to this question because a lot of the elements I employ in my writing craft seem instinctual, but in true, I know them intrinsically because of so many wonderful mentor stories that show chemistry so well. For great chemistry a writer needs to show the characters are irresistibly attracted to each other, that there’s an obstacle in their way, and there is a reason why they should be together that perhaps the characters aren’t aware of, but the reader is.
What inspired the Utah setting of the novel?
I have lived in Utah for twenty-five years, and I love it. I love its natural beauty and the community! I wanted to place this story in a setting that’s not very common, and Utah was the perfect backdrop. Also, the wedding industry is huge here and so many snippet ideas were born from places and situations from real life.
How do you like to celebrate your accomplishments? Are you more of a ‘treat yourself’ person or a ‘huge party’ person?
I’m both! I like to honor my small, everyday accomplishments with small treats. I try not to equate with foods, so an outing with my friend, a manicure, watching a show or lighting a special candle that I have reserved as the treat/reward.
But I also love parties, even if it’s just a pizza party.
Can you speak to the themes of grief and healing in your novel?
I wrote the first draft of this novel right during the first quarantine of the COVID19 pandemic. That summer was extremely emotionally challenging for me, and romance stories were one of my greatest comforts. Sometimes in our society many people think getting over grief and healing mean ignoring the heartache. But actually, the opposite is true. When you address loss and grieving directly, that’s when you give yourself the best chance for healing. Grief is not a character weakness or something to overcome. It can be a constant companion, but so is our ability and strength to heal.
What is one thing you hope readers take away from this book?
I hope the readers smile when they turn the last page and imagine Nadia and Marcos happily ever after. But I also hope they carry the desire to celebrate themselves and their loved ones because life is a gift.
Thanks for chatting with us, Yamile! Readers, don’t forget to grab your copy of Twice a Quinceañera wherever books are sold!
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