Interview Cecilia Velástegui
Topics of conversation:
- Traveling and her writing
- Researching intriguing foreign historical facts for her stories
- Influence of her travels in her life
- Back story of her book’s colorful character Madam Carot De Pichet
- Velastegui’s children’s books
Cecilia Velástegui was born in Ecuador and raised in California and France. She received her graduate degree from the University of Southern California and speaks four languages. She has traveled to more than sixty countries, and serves on the board of directors of several educational and cultural institutions. She is also an accomplished public speaker, and has been invited to present her fables at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C. and has participated as panelist, moderator, lecturer and performer in numerous recognized events. Cecilia continues to garner praise for her psychological thrillers with historical intrigue. She was awarded first place by the International Latino Book Awards for her novels Missing in Machu Picchu (2013) and Traces of Bliss (2012). Gathering the Indigo Maidens (2011) was a finalist for the Mariposa Award. The Association of American Publishers and the Las Comadres international organization have selected her novels for the National Latino Book Club. Her historical novel Parisian Promises (2014) received a Five Star pre-release review from Foreword Reviews and a Recommended Level Review by the US Review of Books. Velástegui is known as the Fabulous Fableist™ for her bilingual children’s fables. Her fable about the newest mammal in the Western Hemisphere, Olinguito Speaks Up – Olinguito alza la voz (2013). Cecilia lives with her family in Monarch Beach, California
Paris, 1973: in the midst of a turbulent period of student unrest, political protest and terrorist threats, Monica, a naïve and idealistic American college student, arrives in Paris eager to live out her rose-colored dreams. Along with her three friends, Monica soon discovers a Paris not pictured in guidebooks or dreamy black-and-white photographs: a place both seductive and dangerous.
The young women, who each dreamed of love at first sight, instead find themselves in a complex tangle of temptation, sex, love, and betrayal. In a city famed for its beauty, the friends soon lose sight of their moral compasses, and discover the seamy side of the Parisian adventure.
Monica’s passionate involvement with two men puts her in grave danger. Drawn to Christophe, an idealistic young aristocrat, she’s also completely in the sway of Jean-Michel, a radical South American whose charisma and élan camouflage his despicable modus operandi. Her best friend Lola, who idolizes the life of Parisian courtesan La Belle Otero, seems consumed by sex and frivolity, but may also be Monica’s greatest protector.
Monica’s Paris education, both sexual and intellectual, leads her on a perilous journey. Embroiled with ETA terrorists, implicated in a crime, psychologically tortured, and endangering not only herself but everyone she knows and loves. Monica’s decisions impact everyone from her American friends to her elderly landlady, a former French resistance fighter who sees her own sensuous youth reflected in the current-day struggles.
Velástegui spins a provocative and mesmerizing tale about the loss of innocence, the allure of desire, the power of both betrayal and redemption, and the danger in romanticizing the most loved and iconic of cities: Paris.