Welcome, Tanya! I’m so excited to be part of the cover reveal for your upcoming middle grade book ALL YOU KNEAD IS LOVE. Can you tell our readers a little bit about it?
Hi Kathie! I’m thrilled to be here at MG Book Village a second time around. Thanks for having me. I’m really excited to be sharing more about my next book, ALL YOU KNEAD IS LOVE, scheduled to be released, March, 2021. As you can tell from the title, which of course includes a fun bread pun and a musical reference, there will be lots of bread baking and music weaved into the plot. My main character, Alba is sent off to Barcelona, Spain to live with her estranged grandmother, in order to escape an abusive home situation in New York City. At first, she finds the transition jarring, but as she begins to settle in, she meets her mother’s childhood best friend, Toni, who owns the neighborhood bread bakery. He takes her under his wing as a sort of father figure, and teaches her the art of sourdough bread baking. As she gets to know her estranged grandmother, Abuela Lola, and makes new friends and a found family, she’ll start to heal, and find her true self. Below you’ll find the official teaser:
Twelve-year-old Alba doesn’t want to live with her estranged grandmother in Barcelona.
But her mother needs her to be far, far away from their home in New York City. Because this is the year that her mother is going to leave Alba’s abusive father. Hopefully. If she’s strong enough to finally, finally do it.
Alba is surprised to find that she loves Barcelona, forming a close relationship with her grandmother, meeting a supportive father figure, and making new friends. Most of all, she discovers a passion and talent for bread baking. When her beloved bakery is threatened with closure, Alba is determined to find a way to save it—and at the same time, she may just come up with a plan to make their family whole again.
From the author of How to Make Friends with the Sea comes a heartfelt story of finding one’s chosen family, healing, and baking.
I can’t wait to read it, I love your writing and it sounds fantastic!!! How did writing this book compare to writing your debut novel, HOW TO MAKE FRIENDS WITH THE SEA, which just came out a few weeks ago?
Both books were similar to write since they were partially inspired by my own childhood experiences. Because I was using a lot of my own memories to form the plot, setting and character arcs, I was able to draft relatively quickly, in 3-4 months. I would say that the big difference between writing my debut novel, and this second book, is that I had so much more on my plate that I had to juggle while drafting this second time around. I think what was key to the success of a debut author’s juggling act is being able to identify those moments when you have down time, and use those opportunities to write the next book. For me, the best time seems to be while I wait for notes from my editor, or while I wait for copy-edits.
Are you a bread baker, and where did the idea for this story come from?
I am a bread baker, more specifically a sourdough bread baker. I took it up a couple of years ago, and found it to be a hobby that worked really well with my writing, since there are long waits during fermentation. The average loaf can take 6-8 hours to ferment, so I can get a lot of writing done, as well as do my daily chores and errands. As someone with anxiety, I also found sourdough bread baking to be really meditative; it’s helped my mental health tremendously, so I thought it would be the perfect passion to give to my protagonist, Alba.
As I stated above, part of this story was inspired by my own childhood experiences. When I was seven, I moved to Barcelona to live with my grandparents, while my parents were going through their divorce. I combined that, with my love of sourdough bread baking. Additionally, I also decided to make Alba, non-gender conforming like my own daughter, because I felt there was a void in MG literature when it comes to representation like hers. Both my daughter and Alba, identify as she/her, but they do not conform to the traditional mold of what a girl is supposed to be. Like my daughter, Alba chooses to wear clothes she finds in the “boy” section of stores, and wears her hair short.
My daughter asked me why none of the girls in the books she was reading were like her, so as a mom and an author, I decided to do something about it myself!
I’m so glad you did this, I’d love to see more non-gender conforming characters in middle grade stories. Did you have any input on the cover, and who is the illustrator?
I did have a bit of input on this cover, but it was mostly in the minor details, such as choosing the kinds of breads and pastries for the display and cake stand. Early on, my editor sent me samples of Zhen Liu’s work, and I was so impressed by how she depicted all sorts of people, and how she used color and architectural elements to create such gorgeous scenes. I’m also extremely fortunate to be working with Cassie Gonzales, who is an amazing book designer at Macmillan. She really brought everything together, including the title font, which I adore. But what I love the most about this cover, (besides all the delicious breads and pastries), is how Zhen really captured Alba, physically and mentally. The way she looks is exactly how I envisioned her, and the expression on her face and body language is just perfect.
OK, it’s time for the moment we’ve all been waiting for….
What a wonderful cover! I love the bright colors, and its got such kid appeal.
Thanks so much! I really, truly love this cover so much and I couldn’t be more thrilled with how it came out. I hope others will love it as much as I do.
Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know about your book?
Yes, I definitely want to highlight the fact that Barcelona as a setting is very much a character in its own right. While the story mostly takes place in the Gothic Quarter, where Alba’s grandmother lives, there are many scenes that take place in neighboring areas such as El Raval (where a lot of Filipino immigrants live), Barceloneta and El Tibidabo. I hope to inspire readers to travel to Spain someday, and discover some of the places I feature in the story.
What is the release date for ALL YOU KNEAD IS LOVE, and where can people go to find out more about you and your writing?
Right now the release date is set for March 30, 2021, almost an exact year since my debut, HOW TO MAKE FRIENDS WITH THE SEA, came out. Hopefully that won’t change, but I’ll make sure to update everyone if it does. Please visit my website, and make sure to add, ALL YOU KNEAD IS LOVE to your Goodreads TBR lists!
Thanks again for letting us be part of your cover release, Tanya. I look forward to reading it.
Thanks again, Kathie! As usual, it’s a joy to work with everyone here at MG Book Village!
Tanya Guerrero is Filipino and Spanish by birth, but has been fortunate enough to call three countries home–the Philippines, Spain, and the United States. Currently, she lives in a shipping container home in the suburbs of Manila with her husband, daughter, and a menagerie of rescued cats and dogs. In her free time, she grows her own food, bakes bread, and reads.