Happy Valentine’s Day and welcome to Glitter Reviews!
Love is in the air today! Romantic relationships are the first thing that people usually think about when they talk about love. Millions of people are gifting chocolate and flowers to their boyfriends, girlfriends, spouses, and partners today because it is the day of love. But there are many kinds of love: platonic love, friendship, parental love, familial love, and even brotherly love.
Today’s Author Spotlight is on Federico Erebia, whose debut novel Pedro & Daniel is about a strong bond between brothers. I met Federico through the SCBWI New England’s BIPOC/Latinx Mingle and the Diverse Voices Critique Group on Julie Hedlund’s 12×12 PB Challenge. When he asked for beta readers for his upcoming novel, I offered to be one of them.
Pedro & Daniel is an LGTBQIA+ novel for the ages, as it covers emotional and physical abuse, racism, colorism, and homophobia, among other sensitive topics. But the most poignant aspect of the novel for me was the beautiful and loving relationship between Mexican American brothers Pedro and Daniel from childhood to adulthood and how they had each other backs during dark times. And don’t get me started on the brothers’ distinct personalities, which was a treat.
So, without further ado, we have Federico Erebia on Glitter Reviews to talk about his debut novel Pedro & Daniel, which comes out on June 6th, 2023, and is available for pre-order.
Pedro & Daniel is based on real-life events. What inspired you to write it, and how much of the story is from your own experience?
There is a conversation that I reference in the book that actually happened: my brother (Daniel) and I wondered how our lives would have been different, if our childhood had been different. That was when I knew I had to write what eventually became Pedro & Daniel.
Most of the stories are based on actual experiences, which is what makes it more truthful, raw, and I believe, more powerful.
The brotherly relationship between Pedro and Daniel and their relationship with their mother are poignant. What can you tell us about these familial relationships without getting into spoilers?
When the first draft of the novel was written, I hadn’t figured out how to address the ‘elephant in the room’: Mom’s abusive nature. Then, I envisioned what became the first sentence of the book. It’s not really a spoiler because that first sentence takes you right into an abusive scene.
This opening line is 175 words long. I formatted it as verse, as opposed to prose. It’s meant to hold the reader in the scene, with no escape: with no period until both the scene and the sentence are complete. It’s my hope that the reader vicariously sees and feels what’s going on.
Pedro and Daniel are close in age; there is an age gap between older and younger siblings; they’re both gay and neurodivergent, so they experience much of their trauma together. This bonds them for life.
What was your biggest challenge in writing Pedro & Daniel?
Part One is written in third person because the boys are 5 and 6 years old. The omniscient narrator helps explain the situation. Part One is one of four story arcs in the book.
In Parts Two through Five, I had to get into each boy’s head back and forth between alternating chapters as they aged from 5 to 30 years of age. Their voices and personalities needed to age and change accordingly. The reader should experience the various ways the boys develop and transform as they age
What did you love the most about writing Pedro & Daniel?
I have laughed and cried so much while writing this book. My brother was one of the funniest people I’ve known. It came naturally to him. I have enjoyed bringing him back to life, and sharing him with others. I think you’re going to love him like I do.
Pedro & Daniel touches on sensitive subjects, such as abuse, racism, colorism, and homophobia. What do you hope readers take away from the story?
This makes me think of Dr. Rudine Sims Bishop’s beautiful, but amazingly simple use of the windows, mirrors, and sliding glass doors metaphor to advocate for diverse children’s books. Over 30 years later, we still have a low percentage of children’s books with protagonists from underrepresented communities.
We rarely discuss the need for books whose main characters are intersectional, with two or more marginalized identities. The subjects you mention are all important to address in children’s literature, despite the ill-conceived book-banning movement. In particular, I will be working to bring colorism and intersectionality more into the public’s awareness by writing essays and participating in panels.
The main takeaway: I’d like readers to see themselves in the main characters of a book, or to become aware that there are many kids like Pedro and Daniel all around them. By seeing folks unlike oneself, there might be less fear, and more empathy in this world.
When did you know you wanted to be a writer/illustrator?
When I got my first picture book, recounted in Pedro & Daniel, I fell in love with reading. Books provided an escape from our dreadful situation. It is why, “Does he have a tendency to fantasize?”–which was meant as a derogatory statement–has stayed with me all these many years later.
Yes, I have a tendency to fantasize! I read books!
Can you tell us about your writing process?
I have multiple computers going at the same time. Each has a different project, task, or chore on the screen. I may be revising, writing, creating a graphic or video, attending a webinar, all at the same time.
This might make more sense when you read about my “controlled chaos” in Pedro & Daniel.
What is next for you?
Although I have picture book dummies available, I’m most excited about my dual-timeline graphic novel set in modern day Mexico and Mesoamerica. There’s a significant twist. I won’t give away more than that right now!
What is your spirit animal?
Definitely a stag.
What song would you play if you were at a party?
Last Dance [see Pedro & Daniel]
What would be your superpower?
The power of suggestion: I might suggest more compassion, philanthropy, public service.
Do you like pineapple on your pizza?
If there’s no ham!
What three items would you bring to a desert island?
I was going to say my husband, Bela our Westie, and Oscar our Whippet, but I’m gonna cheat. I would bring my family, a solar-powered word processor, and my spice rack!
Federico Erebia has graciously offered not one but three ARCs of Pedro & Daniel as giveaways. For a chance to win one of the copies, complete the following steps:
1. Federico Erebia on Twitter: @FedericoErebia
2. Follow yours truly on Twitter: @Yolimari Garcia
3. Retweet this post on Twitter and tag a friend
About Federico Erebia:
Federico Erebia is a retired physician, woodworker, author, illustrator. He was born in Port Clinton, Ohio. He received a BA from the College of Wooster, and an MD from Brown University.
Pedro & Daniel (Levine Querido, June 6) is his debut novel.
He is on the SCBWI Impact & Legacy Fund Steering Committee, is in the inaugural Poets & Writers publicity incubator for debut authors, is a Grubbie Debut Author, and is a member of the Boston Author’s Club and several other writing groups.
He lives in Massachusetts with his husband, and their Westie and Whippet, in the home he designed and renovated.
You can find Federico at:
Goodreads: Federico Erebia
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