Thursday, January 21, 2010

Misa Ramirez Guest Blogging

As a special treat, today I have a guest blogger. This is the first time I've done this so I'm looking forward to sitting back with all of you and reading Author Misa Ramirez's interesting background on the character of her Latina Mystery series, Lola Cruz.

The first book in the series was Livin' La Vida Lola and now Misa has followed this book up with Hasta La Vista, Lola which will be released on February 2, 2010. So, let's hear all about Lola!

Thanks for hosting me today, Julia. The support for Hasta la Vista, Lola! has been fantastic, and I’m thrilled to be on this blog tour! I’ve debated what to write about, but thought I’d launch right into how Lola Cruz came to be. I hope you end up loving her as much as I do!

There’s one thing that I’m asked (and sometimes not asked verbally, but with raised eyebrows) as a writer of a Latina mystery series. Bet you can’t guess what the question is. I’ll give you a hint. I’m not Latina. In fact, I say in my bio that I’m proud to be Latina-by-marriage.

So, the question is... drum roll...

“Why do you write a Latina character, and how did you manage to make her so authentic?”

The short answer is: “I’m a writer, of course, so it all comes so easily! Why not a Latina?”

That’s a complete lie (the part about it coming easy, not the part about me being a writer). Writing is hard work, and it’s true that you have to write about what you know. But, as I’ve already stated, I’m not Latina. I’m a white girl from California now living in Texas. But I married a smokin’ Latino man (almost 20 years married now) and I’ve learned so much about his culture through the years of our relationship so I do know Lola. I know her from the outside looking in. I know her though my children’s eyes. I know her through my husband and his family. His parents lived with us for several years, his sister is one of my best friends and is the sister I never had, and so many elements of the Mexican culture speak to me. So I write this series and write Lola because there is so much beauty in the Mexican culture and it truly speaks to me.

When we had children, it became even more important that we find ways to bring that culture into our American lives, to show the kids the culture that is part of their history, and for them to embrace that part of them. When the character of Lola Cruz (given name Dolores) came to me, it felt right because in so many ways I felt that this family that I’d created in my mind represented so many things I wanted to emphasize about the Mexican culture for my kids. The family, the faith, the language, the food... But I also wanted to show how these elements can be balanced within an American life.

Lola balances (or struggles to balance) life with the cultural and familial expectations placed on her with the her own passions and desires which stem from living as an American. I was particularly careful and conscious not to slip into stereotypes, and when people comment that my characters are so authentic and non-stereotypical, I take great pride in that!

So, who is Lola Cruz? Here she is in a nutshell:

Dolores “Lola” Cruz: Part Crusader, Part Swashbuckler, Part Sage


Lola’s single, a good Catholic girl (usually), but willing to do a lot to live her dream of being a detective. She works for muy misterioso Manny Camacho, has always loved old high school crush Jack Callaghan, and has a modern day rogue for a brother. The long and the short of it is that Lola can definitely hold her own in any situation, even when her mother’s berating her for having a career instead of marriage and children, when her mafioso grandfather has her doing ‘family’ work, and when her grandmother thinks she’s a ghost.

The Look:

Long auburn hair with copper highlights, hips and boobs and curves to spare, stripper shoes (to go with her strip list), and a wardrobe full of clothes that Jack Callaghan can’t resist her in. A belly button ring…maybe. A black belt in kung fu and a love of yoga make her fit and strong.

Leading Man:

Jack Callaghan, newspaper columnist with a past and some baggage that prevents him and Lola from moving forward. Who is Sarah, anyway?

The Bottom Line:

Lola Cruz is a feisty heroine. She’s smart, sexy, and sassy. She’s a great friend, loyal, and kick ass. I like to say she’s my alter ego (if I were a super hot, sexy, Latina detective).

Lola’s next adventure has her investigating her own death–and Jack’s mysterious ex-girlfriend. There’s never a dull moment in her life!

So, that’s Lola’s story. What do you think? I’d love to hear!

Hasta la Vista, Lola! comes out February 2, 2010. Here’s the teaser:

What’s a girl to do when she finds out she’s been killed? Pinch herself to make sure she’s not a ghost, for starters. When Dolores Cruz comes home to her parents’ house to find every relative she has mourning her death, all hell breaks loose. With the help of on-again/off-again love Jack Callaghan, and juggling a new case thrown at her by muy misterioso boss Manny Camacho, it’s up to fledgling detective Lola to find out who’s behind the identity theft and suddenly wants her dead.

here to read an excerpt from the second installment in the Lola Cruz Mystery Series.

Living the Vida Lola, book one in the Lola Cruz Mystery Series

Dolores Cruz (Lola for short) loves shoes, chicken mole, kung fu (she’s a black belt) and her close-knit family. When her brother’s hunky old high school friend Jack Callaghan moves back to town, Lola falls hard. Now, after a year and a half as an underling at Camacho and Associates, a local private investigation firm, her oh-so-sexy and mysterious boss, Manny Camacho, assigns Lola her first big case: solving the mysterious disappearance of Emily Diggs. Can Lola juggle two men, her loving but demanding family, her PI exams, solve her all-important first case, and shop for fabulous shoes?


Meet the characters! Read Lola and her crew’s On-Line Dating profiles.

To learn more about Misa be sure to follow her other stops on the Bronze Latino Book Tour.

Tues Jan 19 Book-Lover Carol

Thur Jan 21 Julia Amante

Fri Jan 22 Lori Calabrese

Mon Jan 25 Murder By 4

Tues Jan 26 Book Journey

Wed Jan 27 Mama Latina Tips

Thur Jan 28 Caridad PiƱeiro

Fri Jan 29 Literary Feline

Please leave your comments for Misa below to be entered into a drawing for a copy of her book.



  1. Fabulous post Misa! I loved Lola in Living the Vida Lola and can't wait read the second in the series. She's my kind of kick-ass (in great shoes!) heroine
    Cathy P

  2. Again, thanks for hosting me today, Julia!

    CP, I agree, Lola is kick-ass, has a few pairs of great shoes, and is my kind of heroine, too! SO glad you loved Living the Vida Lola. Shhh, don't tell, but I like Hasta la Vista Lola! better!

  3. Another new author for me to read. Your books sound great!

  4. I'm so ready for the next Lola book! I loved the first one and will be at the front of the line to buy the next. Thanks for letting us learn more about you and your terrific characters, Misa!


  5. I loved the first Lola, too!! I didn't even realize your book tour had started!!! But this blog post is awesome and I can't wait to get the 2nd Lola book. I've already ordered my copies on Amazon!!!! Love LOLA!!

  6. I love that you aren't Latina yet you write Latina characters. It's such a rich culture, and there are not enough books out there with the Latino flavor, so I'm extremely excited about this series. I can't wait to see what comes next!

  7. Great job, Misa. I love getting to know you and your characters through your blog tour.


  8. I love the Latina culture, the food, the drinks (esp the drinks) the music, the flare and I so loved Lola. Can't wait to get the 2nd installment in my hot little hands!


  9. Love, love, love Lola! Such wonderful, funny books (just like their author!).

  10. Hi Misa,

    Good luck with your new Lola book!

    aka The Southern Half of Evelyn David

  11. Okay, I've had your book on my TBR list for a while. Now I'm going to have to go get it. I was reported to one of my credit reports as dead but I think that was just wishful thinking on my ex-husbands part...


  12. It's wonderful to learn what brings an author to her character and how much of the author appears within that character. Lola sounds like someone who'd be fun to drink margaritas with.

  13. I love Misa! Can't wait to receive HASTA LA VISTA (it's on order, so don't enter me into the drawing). Guess I'll have to do a whole 'nother talk on diverse detectives so I can highlight her. Good luck!


  14. I too wish my alter ego were a super hot Latina detective! Your book sounds great. I'll look forward to reading it.

  15. Misa, I loved LIVING LA VIDA LOLA and can't wait for the next installment. Lola is easy to identify with, regardless of ethnicity. we all have those relatives, although you put all hers in her immediate family, poor girl. LOL I also thought Jack Callaghan was a terrific hero. Continued good luck with the series.

  16. Susan, I think we all have a little Lola in us! I like to think so anyway. =)

  17. Can I just say...Lit Girls RULE!!!

  18. Hi Misa. I think it's great that you created a Latina protag. Sometimes an educated outsider is better at seeing the essence of another culture and can transmit that experience. I married into another culture, and through a quarter century of living it, I'm now totally bi-cultural, so I can easily see how you would be successful in your book. Continued good luck to you.
    Llyn K.

  19. I loved lola - my mother loved lola- my daughter loved lola- she's a multi generational character!! and so much fun.

    We're probably all going to fight over who gets to read the next book first!!

    I had to laugh more than once at how perfectly you nailed the culture - it was just enough blend for a truly entertaining story -

    How many more lola books do you have plans for?

  20. Ah, Chris, thank you! I have definite plans for books 3 and 4. Book 3 is Bare Naked Lola. Isn't that fun?! Can you say nudist resort?

    I'll keep everyone posted via my newsletter, so sign up on my web site!!

  21. LOL-

    Oh that should get lots of attention from passers by in the book store - : )

    I actually know someone who owns a nudist resort - except I think he calls it naturists - or is it naturalists - LOL.

  22. Your books sound lots of fun and Lola a memorable character. Now added to my TBR list!

  23. After reading this blog -- I think I will have to search for book. I did read the "Blog Tour" announcement on SinC. See these sorts of things just add more titles to an already very long list! Too many books, not enough time!

  24. Misa, your passion for Lola and the world she lives in is evident! And that's the main ingredient for a great book!

  25. Thank you all for participating. I'm currently on a book tour in Florida, so finding it hard to get to a computer. Thank you, Misa and I hope your second book is as successful as your first!
    All right, now for the drawing . . . shaking up those numbers . . . the winner is . . . Susan Breen!!
    Susan, please send me your email and mailing information.
    Thanks everyone!

  26. Wow! I absolutely loved this post and could really connect to it. I loved the first book and can't wait to get a copy of the 2nd! I am excited that I came across this post. I will have to follow the rest of the tour for sure! Congratulations on your release Misa.

  27. I loved the first book, and I can't believe there's a possibility I can win the second. Well, my fingers are crossed. I can't wiat to read this book.


  28. I haven't read any of your books yet; I'm intriqued after reading this.


  29. I like reading about the Latina character Lola and how she came to be.... thanks Misa - another great interview!

  30. It's so fun to see so many familiar names along the way on this blog tour! Julia, thanks again for hosting me. Let me know Susan's info and which book she'd like and I'll send it out!