Sometimes it’s hard to say what inspires a story, but I have no doubts about what inspired AZTEC GOLD: A temple, a demon and my fear of heights!
Several years ago, I was lucky enough to be able to visit Teotihuacan, a pre-Columbian city which boasts some of the tallest pyramids in the world, the Avenue of the Dead and beautiful murals. At its zenith, Teotihuacan may have been home to as many as 200,000 inhabitants who one day just disappeared.
Did I mention that there is also evidence that the citizens of the city sacrificed humans and animals?
You can imagine that my writer’s mind was churning as I walked the long Avenue of the Dead, strolling from the Pyramid of the Moon to the Pyramid of the Sun. Where had these people gone? Why had they made the sacrifices and was it possible that the wrath of the gods had caused the collapse of the city and disappearance of its inhabitants?
Years later as I tried to conjure up a story with a different demon, those pyramids came to mind and after doing some digging around, I discovered the dreaded Itzapapalotl – the Clawed Butterfly.
Perfect, I thought. A pissed off demon running wild in a pyramid would make a perfect demon, but just to make it a little better, the demon is actually the daughter of the dreaded Itzapapalotl!
A temple and a demon. But what about the fear of heights? Well, here is where it gets a little more personal and a bit of the author works its way into a story.
You see the heroine in the novel, Cynthia Guerrero, isn’t afraid of heights, but she is fearful. She watched her parents die many years earlier and since then, she’s buried herself in the museum in which she works. For Cynthia to leave the safety of that place will take a lot. It’ll take Cynthia wanting to find out what happened to her lover.
That takes courage, but if Cynthia couldn’t go on that journey, she would be missing so much in life and she would never find her former lover, Rafael Santiago, who disappeared into the Mexican jungle and a temple much like the ones in Teotihuacan.
Like Cynthia, I had to face my own fear that day at the pyramids. You see, I am very afraid of heights, as well as airplanes and flying. A bummer since I love to travel and am therefore waiting for the day when I can say “Beam me up, Scotty.”
But I can’t just beam from place to place, so I had a tough choice to make. Sit at ground level and not feel the power at the top of that pyramid where the ancient Teotihuacanos believed their gods could best be felt, or push past my fear and make the climb.
Like Cynthia, I somehow overcame my fear and made the climb and it was breathtaking at the top of the pyramid where I could see for miles and miles and gaze down on a remarkable ancient city and wonder at how its people had lived and died.
I hope you enjoyed this journey with me and will take the time to share Cynthia’s journey in AZTEC GOLD.
[flagallery gid=4 name=”Caridad Pineiro”]
Caridad Piñeiro® is a multi-published and award-winning author whose love of the written word developed when her fifth grade teacher assigned a project – to write a book that would be placed in a class lending library. She has been hooked on writing ever since.
From the start, Caridad’s novels have received acclaim and have helped redefine the landscape of modern romance novels. In 1999, Caridad was published by Kensington as part of Encanto, the first line of bilingual Latino romance novels. In 2000, Caridad was one of the first Latino authors featured at the launch of BookExpo America’s Spanish Pavillion. In December 2006, Caridad helped Silhouette launch its successful Nocturne paranormal line with DEATH CALLS, one of the novels in the award-winning THE CALLING Vampire series. In addition, Caridad has appeared at BookExpo America on numerous occasions and has captained both the multicultural and vampire genre panels at the RT BookClub Conventions.
Caridad’s CHICAS novels, including her seventeenth release, SOUTH BEACH CHICAS CATCH THEIR MAN from Simon & Schuster’s Downtown Press, have garnered praise from both fellow authors and reviewers and are helping to make Latina fiction a vital part of the publishing mainstream.
In recognition of her work, Caridad has received various awards and honors. In 2007, a year marked by the debut of six novels from Harlequin and Pocket Books, Caridad received the Golden Apple Award Author of the Year Award from the New York City Chapter of the Romance Writers of America. Other honors that Caridad has received include the selection of DANGER CALLS and DEATH CALLS as the Top Fantasy Books of 2005 and 2006 by CATALINA magazine, the Cataromance Reviewers Choice Award for Best Nocturne in 2006 and the New Jersey Romance Writers Golden Leaf award in 2001 for Best Short Contemporary. Her other titles have received a number of nominations, such as the Harlequin Readers Choice Awards and RIO Reviewers Choice Awards. Both DEATH CALLS and SOUTH BEACH CHICAS CATCH THEIR MAN have been book club selections.
Caridad’s eighteenth novel, MOON FEVER, a paranormal anthology with Maggie Shayne, Susan Sizemore and Lori Handeland, debuted in late September 2007 as #32 on the New York Times Extended Bestseller list and #123 on the USA TODAY Bestseller List. HOLIDAY WITH A VAMPIRE, a paranormal anthology with Maureen Child, made the BookScan Top 100 Adult Fiction list.
In 2009, Caridad will debut a new paranormal romantic suspense series with Grand Central Publishing. The first novel in the series, SINS OF THE FLESH, will be released in November 2009.
Caridad has appeared on Romance Novel Television, Fox Television’s Good Day New York Early Edition , New Jersey News’ Jersey’s Talking with Lee Leonard and WGN-TV’s Adelante Chicago. Articles featuring Caridad’s works have appeared in the New York Daily News, Catalina, RT BookClub, NJ Monthly, Star Ledger, Home Tribune News, Sun Sentinel, Variety Yahoo! Online News, Latina and the Waterbury Republican-American.
When not writing, Caridad teaches workshops on various topics related to writing and heads a writing group. Caridad is also an attorney, wife and mother.
Also about the Author:
Caridad was born in Havana, Cuba, and settled in the New York Metropolitan area. She attended Villanova University on a Presidential Scholarship and graduated magna cum laude. Caridad earned her juris doctor from St. John’s University and became the first female partner of Abelman, Frayne & Schwab, an intellectual property firm in midtown Manhattan.