Between “Secrets and Lies,”
a Conversation with Author Sherri Miranda
BY FABRICIO CORREA
Fabricio Correa – What made you choose El Salvador as the background for your novel? What inspired you?
Sherri Miranda: I protested the US support of the civil war for more than ten years. I also was married to a Salvadoran during part of that time & went to ES in ’82. I went with a fact-finding delegation in ’02. By then, I knew I would write the story, but had little time & no idea how it would look.
The facts of the war & knowing my country supported it hurt me deeply. Then learning how loving & generous Salvadorans are brought me to the point that I HAD to write this novel. It wasn’t going away no matter what I did.
FC: You delve into harsh realities of a war-torn third world country. Would you say your storytelling stresses “love” as a theme instead of “war”? How so?
SM: Yes, Love is the main theme, as well as “CHOOSING” family. The idea of One World & all of us being “Saviors” are two other themes. And, of course, the theme “War is Hell” is there. The way war tore families apart should be evident if I did my job in writing this story.
FC: How long did the research process take you to dig the historical events mentioned in your novel? Did you travel to El Salvador?
SM: As I mentioned, I went to El Salvador twice. BUT I lived with Salvadorans for 20 years. I met many Central Americans while living in New Orleans, as well as other Latinos. Then, while in San Diego & Los Angeles, I taught many Mexicans & Central Americans, as well as students from many other countries.
In some ways, it was more than 30 years of research as I only decided to add Roque Dalton’s story after I had written several drafts.
FC: Abuela seems to be the character who is the connection between all the others in the book. Tell us about conceiving her.
SM: Abuela is the mythical mother that holds the family together, that passes on the history. She is also Universal Love & the Protector of life.
There is someone similar to abuela that took the time to teach me many things. The real woman, though, never knew her parents because of the massacre in 1932.
FC: The title mentions “secrets” and “lies.” What are the complications of these two concepts within the story?
SM: Our secrets & lies come back to haunt us in ways we can never imagine. I remember a psychological study where a woman who was raped & kept it a secret ended up with a daughter that was also raped. There is something about these secrets & the lies that then need to be told in order to keep that secret; somehow it creates more lies & more cover-ups. It’s a vicious cycle.
FC: Did you attend an MFA program?
SM: I have an MFA in Creative Writing from National University. I loved the program & although, I was unable to work on the novel until the thesis courses, it shaped my story in innumerable ways. My only regret is that, because it was all on-line, I never met any of my classmates. I met some other MFA grads & a couple of professors later when I was invited to present at the 2016 AWP Conference in LA.
FC: The assassination of priests, nuns, civilians, revolutionaries as well as the raping and torturing of people is a tragic subject. What do you hope might be the impact of telling these stories for society?
SM: Hopefully, it will help people to see what happens when the rich & powerful no longer care about their countrymen. The extremes to which the powerful go to make millions that they will never use seems absurd to me. The demonizing of those who serve the poor, as well as the poor, themselves, should be a lesson to all. Even more so now than when the novel was first written. Three short years has shown us how what was done in El Salvador & other parts of the world has now come home to roost.
FC: Where can your readers find out more about your work?
SM: Sherrie Miranda’s historically based, coming of age, Adventure novel “Secrets & Lies in El Salvador” is about an American girl in war-torn El Salvador:
Her husband made a video for her novel. He wrote the song, too.
San Diego Book Review gave “Secrets & Lies in El Salvador” 5’s.
An article about her debut novel. Click here.
An article about the writer’s group Sherri Miranda started. Click here.
An interview by Fiona McVie on her Authors Interviews WordPress blog can be found here.
The San Diego Public Library’s 50th Annual Local Authors Exhibit featured Sherrie’s novel. Read the article here.
You may find Sherrie here:
GoodReads Author page
Sherrie’s WordPress blog
Interview conducted by Fabricio Correa
Fabricio Correa is a Brazilian-born writer and blogger based in Los Angeles. He holds a BA in Law from Universidade Salgado de Oliveira and is currently attending National University’s MFA Creative Writing program.