Interview appeared on September 6, 2010 over at the Latina Book Club site.
Q: When and how did you start the Dulce Bread and Book Shop? Are you a physical bookstore or just an online bookstore?
Dulce Bread & Book Shop, LLC was formed in February 2009 when I made the decision to dedicate myself to work on the venture full time. My first business, Sententia Vera, Spanish Language Services initiated the thought of an independent bookstore specializing in multicultural and multilingual literature. For some time, clients of Sententia Vera had been requesting literary sources to continue their need for additional independent education and reference guides. I would research available resources on the internet and often found myself frustrated at not being able to find a diverse and worthy selection. This dissatisfaction sparked the thought of opening an independent bookstore carrying a diverse and worthy selection of ‘books of color,’ that is, multicultural and multilingual books with an emphasis in the Hispanic culture and the Spanish language.
DulceBreadandBookShop.com was launched a year later in February 2010 after a lengthy remodeling project of my language office, converting it into a quaint 200 square feet bookshop. While the online bookshop is open to worldwide customers, the brick-and-mortar shop is open to private groups. At this time the inventory includes only books, and we are working on adding cultural sidelines and eventually, ethnic sweet breads. The goal of moving the brick-and-mortar shop into a larger, and more visible, space continues with a spring 2011 target.
Q: Do you sell only Latino authors or ALL books?
Dulce Bread & Book Shop sells ALL books, having available an inventory of over 2 million titles! Dulce specializes in books of color that include a large selection of Latino authors. Other cultures and languages in our in-store inventory include, Asian, German, French, and Hebrew.
Q: What books are your bestsellers? What authors are your bestsellers?
Currently the books selling best are the foreign language reference texts and the bilingual children’s books. As Dulce’s name gets out to the Austin area public and in cyberspace the books that have started selling are those by Latina authors which I review and promote, such as Belinda Acosta, Misa Ramirez, and C.M. Mayo.
Q: What are YOU reading now? And who are some of your favorite writers? What are some of your favorite books?
At the moment, I am reading THE DREAMER by Pam Muñoz Ryan & Peter Sís and THE MOSES EXPEDITION by Juan Gómez-Jurado, and I just received my review copy of THE SLIPPERY ART OF BOOK REVIEWING by Mayra Calvani & Anne K. Edwards and am anxious to get started. As a Spanish linguist and foreign language educator, I make every effort to read in Spanish as much as possible, therefore LOS MITOS DE LA HISTORIA ARGENTINA by Felipe Pigna is on my to-read-next stack. Everyone is invited to peruse through my Goodreads bookshelves to see what is on my reading shelves and my Sententia Vera blog site to read through my book reviews as this is the official blog for Dulce Bread & Book Shop. As for my favorite books and authors, the two at the very top of my list are EL INGENIOSO HIDALGO DON QUIJOTE DE LA MANCHA by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra and EL LABERINTO DE LA SOLEDAD by Octavio Paz. These are the two titles that I can read over and over and over again.
Q: Do you see any trends in books by Latino writers?
My hope is that Latino writers make the effort to share their cultural experience with their readers, whether or not they are writing about Latinos, with Latinos, or for Latinos. Some Latino writers hesitate to incorporate their Latino culture and/or Spanish language in their writing for fear of rejection from publishers and/or readers, even to the point of creating an Anglicized penname. I understand and can empathize with the desire and need to do everything possible to get your work published and into readers’ hands. However denying your cultural experience to fit into mainstream and the mass market can only hurt the future careers and experiences of the cultural melting pot that is the US. I support and advocate for a literary trend that stresses the positive awareness brought about by a multicultural and multilingual experience.
Born in Monterrey, Mexico and raised on the border in El Paso, TX, Teresa grew up in a bicultural and bilingual environment. As a young girl she struggled to find a public identity that would allow both cultures and languages to exist as one. Living in the US during the school year and spending holidays and summer breaks in Mexico was a cultural advantage as well as an identity battle. This personal and public conflict with a dual identity sparked her curiosity in self-realization and social definition and deepened her determination to make the multicultural identity advantageous and acceptable by society at large. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish Language and a Master of Arts degree in Modern Languages, specializing in Spanish Literature & Linguistics from Texas A&M University in College Station, TX. She has devoted her professional career to the teaching of the Spanish language, literature, culture, and history through the Spanish folk soul, inspiring in her students the importance and merits of being a world citizen. Through her writing, Teresa furthers her aspiration to share the multicultural experience and initiate a genuine interest and awareness in world cultures and languages in others. Sententia Vera, Teresa’s blog, has allowed her to reach a larger audience, connecting her readers to the Spanish culture through language, translation, and literature. The recent launch of her multicultural e-bookstore, Dulce Bread & Book Shop, is expanding her reach on a personal level, as she moves the bookstore into a larger brick-and-mortar location in the greater Austin area. Teresa has been married 15 years and is raising five children.
FREE BOOK GIVEAWAY!
Leave a comment at the Latina Book Club site by Friday, Sept 10, and you will be entered to win a free copy of HECHO EN TEJAS: An Anthology of Texas Mexican Literature, edited by Dagoberto Gilb, University of New Mexico Press. Good luck.