Little Angelina always dreamt about adventures in a faraway land. What she never imagined was that those dreams would take her to the past… her past.
After being inexplicably removed from her family in a small fishing town in Argentina, six year-old Angelina is sent to a Catholic convent, where she spends her next twelve years. During her lonely days at the convent, she finds solace in the company of a mysterious presence, by the name of Sara Fernandez, which gradually reels her into the life of a Marrano family living at the end of the Fifteenth Century in Cordoba, Spain. As Angelina embeds herself in the life of the Fernandez family, she understands that the presence is not a product of her imagination. Rather, Sara is the link to her secret past and her only hope for survival.
Set amid the notorious Spanish Inquisition and the murderous Dirty War in Argentina of the late 1970s, two women, more than four centuries apart, transcend the barriers of time and fight political and religious persecution to ensure the survival of their lineage.
The Last Fernandez, a historical fiction novel, is a story about courage, passionate love, unspeakable betrayal, and hope.
Sandra was kind enough to answer a few interview questions so you can get to know her.
1. Which books/authors have most influenced you as an author and why?
I can’t single out a specific author or authors that had influenced me the most. I read a lot and have eclectic tastes in books. For me it is about stories. They could be either written or told. I do have a handful of authors I admire. Among them: Carlos Ruiz Zafon, Marcos Aguinis, Isabel Allende, Elizabeth Chadwick, Marian Keyes, Anya Seton.
2. If you could meet one of your favorite fictional characters, who would you choose and why?
Definitely Leon Fernandez, but please don’t tell my husband. Besides being drop dead gorgeous, he is an all around passionate man, true to his beliefs until his last breath.
3. What fictional world would you most like to visit?
I don’t know about a fictional world, but as a lover of history and historical fiction author it would certainly be anywhere between the biblical times and the eighteenth century. I would spare myself of any of the earlier eras, especially the Mesozoic era; I don’t do well with dinosaurs.
4. What advice would you give your pre-published self, knowing what you know now?
I don’t think I would change a thing of what I’ve done before. Being English my second language(I was born and raised in Argentina) and the language that I write in, it takes a lot of chutzpah and determination to do what I do, especially in the genre I love to write. So, I stick to my mantra : Just Write!
5. We apparently dodged a bullet and avoided the Mayan apocalypse in 2012. But as they say, “winter is coming.” What three things do you want to have on hand when the Others come down from beyond the Wall?
Chocolate, picture album of my family, a box of matches.
I was born and raised in Argentina. My mother, born in a refugee camp in Italy, my grandparents Romanians Jews, and World War Two survivors. From my father’s side the flavor of the Middle East. A mixture of the legendary traditions and art of Safed, Israel and Lebanon.
Different languages, colors and food were my everyday. So, was silence and fear. My childhood happened during the years of the dirty war, the military regime. I was extremely fortunate to have the best teachers, who would risk their lives by closing the classrooms doors and hush to us the truth of what was happening out there.
While my academic background is in psychoanalysis (a Freudian girl, gotta love the divan!), anthropology, Judaic studies, and Hebrew teaching, my interest turned to writing. I have written six feature screenplays, one original T.V pilot, and a couple of reality show concepts. My thriller “Voices From The Tomato Fields,” placed as a semifinalist in the Write Movies International Screenplay Contest in 2004, and placed in the top one hundred in Project Greenlight the same year.
For three consecutive years, I served as a Judge for the Brass Brad Screenwriting Mentorship Award and in 2012 I was honored to be part of the judging panel for the U.C.S.B. Student Screenwriting Competition.
A couple of years before writing my first novel The Last Fernandez, I kept busy as a freelance writer and script consultant.