Local author Cristiane Lima Scott’s debut novel The Language of Belonging will be released by Holland Books on May 6th. She will be holding books signings at Portsmouth’s Book and Bar on May 11th at 7 PM and at Barnes and Noble in Newington on May 21.
Tell me a little bit about who you are and where you live.
I am from Brazil but I live in Hampton, NH for about 10 years with my husband and our 9-year-old daughter. I love New England including our winter. Brazil’s northeast, where I grew up, is always warm with occasional rain. I always wanted to know how it was to live somewhere with all four seasons. But I miss Brazil, my family, my friends, my village, the constant green in our trees, the fruits. I feel that I live in two places with my heart constantly in both. I started to write when I was about 15 years old. It is how I make sense of the world around. It is also my escape.
Are there any favorite local spots you like to visit, ones that inspire your creativity?
Hampton’s North Beach and Seabrook beach are special places to me. I love to go for walks on both beaches especially during off season. It helps me organize my thoughts and stay closer to the characters I work on.
When Cecilia is hired by Mrs. Woodard, she doesn’t expect to find a new life and a link to her own past. Brazilian immigrant to the USA Cecilia is hired by the wealthy seventy-eight year old Elena Woodard to be her fulltime caregiver. Elena gives her journal with her history and her most intimate secrets to Cecilia to translate into English. Inspired by the older woman’s story of her life in Brazil, Cecilia tells how she fled Brazil with her mother, crosses the border from Mexico into the United States, and their struggles to survive in the new country as illegal immigrants. When Elena dies, a new future is created for Cecilia. A novel about sacrifice, friendship, love, and the yearning to belong.
Wow us with shock value. Is there anything about you that would surprise readers?
I have a somewhat unusual life. When I was 9 years old I ran away from home on horseback with a boyfriend who was 10 years old. But our families caught up with us about three miles down the road.
When I was 13, I was given a job as a pre-school teacher and I worked as a teacher for another 13 years. I was always more mature than my age and I like challenges.
The first thing I did when I arrived in the U.S. was skydiving.
Then, living in the U.S. I decided that I had to start to write in English. So, I translated the book I was working on and finished it in English. I know it sounds easy but it was a big challenge.
What interested you to become a writer rather than something else such as neurosurgeon?
I have always been a writer. I started to put stories on paper when I was about 15 but I always created stories in my head. Before I had a books on my hands, I had stories on my head. Creating characters has always been part of me. It is who I am. But I never had the opportunity to explore other professions, or think about other options. Teaching was the only profession available. There are great limitations in life if you are born poor in Brazil. I think that condition helped create the writer that I am. Even though I liked to teach and loved to be with students, I don’t like schedules of any kind. Today, I know I could not be or do anything else. I am happy and free when I am writing.
If you could spend a day with any author, living or dead – who would it be and why?
Clarice Lispector and Ernest Hemingway. They were strong, independent beings and became amazing writers. I would love to spend a afternoon talking with Lispector and an evening drinking beers with Hemingway. I have a few questions about ‘Agua Viva’ and about ‘The Sun also Rises.’
Does the area in which you live provide influence in your writing? How so?
Culture and history is such an important part of our lives in the NH seacoast. It is always so much happening and, at same time, we have fall and winter when life is quieter, and my need to write is stronger. Also, there are so many readers and writers happy to talk about books. It is amazing.
What is the most critical piece of advice you would give to new authors?
Keep writing. Feel free to write what you want to write. Don’t try to please anyone – it is your work only you know how to tell that story.
Coming up with a title can be difficult. Tell me how you came up with yours.
I didn’t. My editor, Robert Peett (Holland House Books), came up with it and I loved it. Titles are just too hard but Robert has a good system to come up with some good ones. ‘The Language of Belonging’ fits the book well.
Are there more books coming from you in the future? Do tell!
Yes, I am working on a couple of projects but they are not develop enough for me to talk about it. I hope to be able to share some details soon.
Where can people find more information on you and your projects?