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The People Who Write Questionnaire: Torrey Maldonado

Torrey Maldonado, author of Secret Saturdays_PeopleWhoWrite

Torrey Maldonado‘s acclaimed debut Secret Saturdays was a 2011 ALA Quick Pick.

If your life (so far) were a book, what would the title be?
Boy Meets World.

What is the greatest story ever told?
I joked with a packed house, “My character is at risk of becoming a real-life Darth Vader.” Everyone laughed and got it. So STAR WARS…

Who is the greatest literary character ever created?
An unimaginable number of jobs have been created by Disney. It all began with Mickey Mouse so he may be the greatest character invented.

Which living or dead writer would you most like to share a meal with?
Any schoolteacher-author-parent publishing two books-a-year. He/she has the Holy Grail. I’m “Tim Robbins-ing” out of Shawshank just to do one.

What is your favorite word right now?
Vacation. It’s when I write. Most of the year, I’m in my Clark Kent suit. On vacations, I show my “S” and do what I do. Write, feel super.

What word has always looked or sounded strange to you?
Balderdash. It means “nonsense”. It weirded out my 3rd grade teacher too. Instead of looking it up, she gave me detention for using it.

How many words have you written today?
The great news is I’m in Disney World and haven’t written a word today. The bad news is my writer’s brain is “GUILTing” me for that.

Where have you had your most exhilarating writing experience?
Hot spot to write = spot with hot music. [My characters] Sean’s and Justin’s playlist, that I list in Secret Saturdays, rocketed me through writing the book.

What is the thing about writing that you most deplore?
That I can’t wave wands and things happen. Like pen a book a week. Or reply to folks’ asking my first be a film with a “POOF” and SO IT IS!

What is the thing about writing that you most love?
I loved visiting a school of 2,000 youth plus parents who read and loved my book. Note to self: “Try taking a selfie with them next time.”

What stereotype about writers have you found to be true?
Each writer has their own process.

What’s the biggest misconception about writers/writing?
If your book hooks readers like Hunger Games and Harry Potter, yours will be BIG. Critics say mine and some of my friends’ do but…

What’s the one thing no one would ever guess about you from reading your writing?
My writing is what I needed as a reluctant reader — fun reads with meaty issues to transform me.


Voted a “Top 10 Latino Author” and best Middle Grade and Young Adult novelist for African Americans, Maldonado was recently honored as a top teacher by NYC’s schools Chancellor. His work builds boys into multidimensional males and youth into global, caring citizens. Before teaching, he trained schools to implement Conflict Resolution programs through the U.S.’s largest victim-services agency. Praised for its timeless feel, his acclaimed novel, Secret Saturdays, made states’ reading lists and is assigned alongside classics and in anti-bullying initiatives. His forthcoming works also are inspired by his and his students’ lives.

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