Event Recap: Belles and Brujas + Giveaway!

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Belles and Brujas Tour
Barnes & Noble Upper West Side
Friday 06/08/2018

Panel: Zoraida Cordova, Dhonielle Clayton, Tochi Onyebuchi
Moderated by: Laura Sebastian


When I found out that Zoraida Cordova and Dhonielle Clayton were teaming up and doing a joint book tour called Belles and Brujas I knew I had to go when they stopped in NYC!

As a quick background, Zoraida Cordova is an Ecuadorian-American author who writes YA Urban Fantasy, New Adult Romance and will be releasing a new Romance series soon (Squee! I can’t wait!). Her Latin-American inspired magic system in the first of her Brooklyn Brujas series Labyrinth Lost soon became a reader and critic favorite.

Dhonielle Clayton is also a YA author know for her fantasy novel: the Belles, but she is also deeply involved in publishing advocacy  as the COO of the non-profit We Need Diverse Books, and co-founder of Cake Literary. Basically these women are amazing.

They were were joined by Tochi Onyebuchi and moderated by Laura Sebastian (both of whom are also YA authors)  for an hour and a half of  hilarity, discussion, and Black Panther references. #Wakandaforever. Below are highlights from the panel. Quotes are paraphrased from my notes.


On why family plays such a prominent role in her book:

ZC:  In most YA fantasy books writers often leave out or minimize family and parents because they would interfere with the plot. I figured this wouldn’t work with a Latinx (or other minority) protagonist because if you were trying to leave the house to meet up with a vampire your parents would ask: Who are you seeing? Where are you going? Etc. So of course I had to include the family.

On the inspirations for creating her world:

ZC: In the US, Latinx people tend to be lumped together into one category and treated as if we are the same even if we come from different countries so this got me thinking, what would a “pan-Latinx” magic system where the magic came from Latin American culture look like? Latinos tend to be very superstitious so magic was normal to draw from our cultures. I also wanted to show that magic comes at price and that actions have consequences. Magic is generally depicted as good or bad but it doesn’t have to be, it’s how you use it that counts.

DC: My inspiration comes from the social structures that are created in middle school and my own reflections of myself at that age. I used to be a middle school teacher and I observed that when students reach the age of 12 social hierarchies start to form based on looks. People started using ‘fat’ and ‘ugly’ as insults. This leads to huge insecurities especially for girls. At that age if you had given me the power to change everything about my appearance, all the way down to my bones, I would have. So I started thinking, what would happen if you could change everything about yourself? What would the social and political consequences of such a world be? 

On why she writes:

ZC: I wanted to write because I had a lot of stories to tell and I realized that no one was going to tell them exactly the way I was going to tell them.

DC: I wanted to write because I didn’t see myself in the stories I read. All the books I read about PoC were about overcoming adversity or rags to riches stores. I just wanted to be a princess or go to outer space or get the a kiss you know, the good stuff.

There was also a time for Q&A at the end so I asked the panel one of my favorite questions to ask authors: What is a book that you have read recently that you want people to know about?


DC: Sweet Black Waves by Kristina Pérez
ZC: Anger Is a Gift by Mark Oshiro
TO: Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao
LS: The Wicked King by Holly Black 

More fun trivia from Zoraida Cordova! 

  • She describes her series as: The TV series Charmed but brown <3
  • She carries adobo seasoning in her purse, especially on tour.
  • Bruja Born can be enjoyed without reading Labyrinth Lost (but treat yourself and read both!)
  • The gods or Deos in the Brooklyn Brujas series are inspired by Loteria cards and each represent a personified human emotion.

For full Latinas Leyendo review of Labyrinth Lost, click here.
For full Latinas Leyendo full review of Bruja Born, click here.



    To celebrate the release of the second installment of the Brooklyn Brujas series I will be giving away a signed, hardcover copy of Bruja Born by Zoraida Cordova along with a Belles and Brujas pins and a sticker! 

    The giveaway will be open from Tuesday, June 12 2018 to Wednesday June 20 2018 The winner will be selected at random and will be announced on Thursday, June 21 2018. 

    This giveaway is not affiliated with Instagram, the publishers, nor the author.
    You must be 18+ to enter. US residents only.

    The giveaway will be run on the Latinas Leyendo Instagram page. To enter:

    • You must be subscribed to @nycbookowl and @latinasleyendo on Instagram
    • Like the giveaway post.
    • Tag a friend who you think would be interested in the giveaway
    • For an extra entry leave a comment on this blog post and let me know what kind of content you would like to see on the Latinas Leyendo website.

    Buena Suerte!