My name is Luz Mack and I am the proud author, brand creator, and a mother to three beautiful children: Andrea, Chloe, and Tony Santo. Being a wife and a mother to three little ones motivated me to write and bring forth all the beautiful things my creative soul can conjure up in easy to read books.
The beautiful illustrations from my book inspired me to start making t shirts, leggings, and even swim for everyday wear that share our story! It's comfortable, lively, and made for kids :)
When I get to do story time or display my work, I bring my kids to almost all the events so they too can enjoy this moment with me.
When people ask me why I am doing this, this is my Why...
Immigrant families first encounter the U.S educational system when their children enter preschool or kindergarten. The experiences these children have in their classrooms are fundamental to how they think about themselves as learners, students, and members of the communities around them.
Based on a report released in July 2018 (Report 4-2019) from Office of the New York State Comptroller’s Office titled, An Economic Snapshot of the Bronx, say’s “Immigrant population has more than doubled, increasing from 18 percent in 1980 to 37 percent in 2016 (the same as the citywide share). Three-quarters of all immigrants in the Bronx are from Latin America. The number rose nearly five-fold since 1980 to 412,500 in 2016.
I believe that these families and children that are coming from different cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds face tremendous hardship. Some of the realities these family faces are realizing the educational system might lack resources to help families and the educational system may lack tools to help families acclimate to their new home while preserving cultural customs.
Bilingual Children's Book Little María/ Pequeña María is a tool that is helping families and children connect in a significant way. For parents, they can share similar stories of their childhood experiences growing up in their country, customs, and at the same time help children to make connections to their cultural background.
For children, they can identify with a child that looks like them and put into context some of the traditions or experiences of stories their families have shared, and it motivates them to learn of other children and families’ experiences.
1.What inspires you most to write?
I really enjoyed reading books to my kids before going to bed and I noticed the books that we were reading didn’t capture families of color, children of color, or children from different countries. While that was heavy on my mind, I came across a quote from Beverly Cleary that said, “If you don't see the book you want on the shelf, write it.” I decided to challenge myself and created my first bilingual children’s book and to my surprise this is what really made me fall in love with the world of writing.
2. What is your favorite genre?
I love working with young children.
3. Who is one author you admire if any and why?
I love Paulo Coehlo and one of my favorite books that he wrote is, The Alchemist. He really inspired me to believe and dig deep within myself to keep pushing myself to be a better mother, wife, person, and writer!
4. How do you overcome blank writing spells?
This happens to all of us! I usually don’t force myself to write when I feel truly at a blank. I take time to recharge, re-energize, and just be content with whatever is going on in the present. I notice when I am having a writing spell or writers block, I will focus a little bit more on myself or spend the time connecting with other writers. I will try to use that time to just soak up everything around me and continue learning this gives me more fuel and usually inspires me for my next project.
5. What legal publishing advice can you give?
I am still learning a lot on the legal aspect and I think the best advice I can give, is that you have a friend that is lawyer ask them a lot of questions regarding creative rights. I use legal zoom and recently met a lawyer that is willing to help me.
6. How many books have you written, are any a bestseller yet?
I have written 7 books (soon to be 8) and by luck my second book which was my first children’s book received an amazon best seller award.
7. If you had the opportunity to rewrite one movie script which would it be, why?
I am not really interested in rewriting any movie script because I met so many artists with great material out there. We need to give an opportunity for these stories to be told!
8. What are some difficulties you've experienced in your writing career; how do you handle book critiques/criticism?
I’ve had some pretty awful experiences that I rather not focus so much on that because it helped me learn that everyone is not for you! My book might not be for everyone and that is okay. I had experiences in which people put me down in a way that it was truly hurtful. I remember how the feeling made me feel, how embarrassed I felt, and it took me a long time to pick myself up. I started thinking about how those 3 people that had nasty comments are not doing anything to help make books highlighting children of color. I truly feel that this is my mission and I have a network of people cheering me on because they believe in me and my work.
9. What are your best experiences in your writing career?
One of my favorite moments is when I received a video from Dominican Republic of children acting out my book! They even wrote a song for it and I literally cried. It touched me so much to see these kids use their creativity and related to the book in such a beautiful way.
10. Do you prefer to write in silence and or have some sort sound in the background?
I have learned to work just about anywhere but I do prefer working in silence. I have worked on projects during my commute on the train, while my kids are running around the house, and late at night when everyone is asleep.
11. What are some encouraging words you'd give to another author/writer?
We need you! We need your story and your unique perspective! If you don’t believe me, just take a look at the small number of women of color that are writing books and creating content. Not many of us make it to be represented by major publishers and that’s okay. The way we get our content to be taking seriously is through your hard work to continue pushing on and our communities will support us.
12. How did you decide the pricing of your material; how did you go about promotion/advertising and distribution of your work?
I decided to price my products based on what I see is the going rate in the space and considering how much money I invested. Once the product is available for sale, I promote my books and clothing via social media and my website.
13. Why should anyone read your book?
Little María is reminiscent of my childhood. It is a one-of-a-kind bilingual children's book, but I’ve come to learn that it has an international reach because so many children in immigrant families can relate to my experiences. This will really inspire children to learn from each other and will even motivate them to learn about their own family’s upbringings/culture.
My latest book is Nathaly the Brave. This short story is also based on a childhood experience from when I was little and scared of the dark and monsters that lurked under my bed. My little sister Nathaly Agosto Filión has always come to my rescue. In the book our heroine rocks a hearing aid and knows American Sign Language!
14. Did you have a book coach?
15. What was your favorite subject in school?
Art. I love getting messy with paint and slapping color to a blank canvas.
16. Are you self-published or have an established publishing contract elsewhere?
I am a self-published author.