Author Interview (and a Giveaway!): Johanna Rojas Vann & An American Immigrant

Posted August 10, 2023 by meezcarrie in Author Interview, Christian, contemporary, giveaway, Johanna Rojas Vann / 18 Comments


Johanna Rojas Vann interview

Please join me in welcoming author Johanna Rojas Vann to the blog today to chat about her debut novel, An American Immigrant – a book I am very much looking forward to reading!

Johanna Rojas Vann

Johanna Rojas Vann is a professional writer whose work can be found online and within numerous publications. She is a second-generation Colombian American, with dual citizenship, and lives with her husband and children in Nashville, Tennessee. Her writing has appeared in Good Grit Magazine, Grit and Grace Life, and on her own blog, where you can read about her personal experience as “An Immigrant’s Daughter.” For more information, visit www.johannavann.com.


An American Immigrant by Johanna Rojas VannAN AMERICAN IMMIGRANT by Johanna Rojas Vann
GENRE: Women’s Fiction (Christian)
PUBLISHER: WaterBrook
RELEASE DATE: August 15, 2023
PAGES: 343

A Colombian American journalist tries to save her career by taking an assignment somewhere she never thought she’d go—Colombia—in this heartwarming debut novel about rediscovering our family stories.

“A beautiful homage to a mother’s bravery and to the grace and grit that is our inheritance.”—Alicia Menendez, MSNBC anchor and creator and host of the Latina to Latina podcast

Twenty-five-year-old Melanie Carvajal, a hardworking but struggling journalist for a Miami newspaper, loves her Colombian mother but regularly ignores her phone calls, frustrated that she never quite takes the time to understand Melanie’s life. When the opportunity arises for a big assignment that might save her flagging career, Melanie follows the story to the land of her mother’s birth. She soon realizes Colombia has the potential to connect her, after all these years, to something she’s long ignored: her heritage, the love of her mother, her family, and the richest parts of herself.

Colombia offers more than a chance to make a name for herself as a writer. It is a place of untold stories.

Inspired by real-life events, An American Immigrant is a story of culture and community, of abiding commitment to family, and of embracing our culture and the generations that have come before.

 

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Hi Johanna! Welcome to the blog!

Q: Physical books or audio books?

Johanna: BOTH! Can I say that?? Physical books will always be my first choice, but with two littles, audio books help me SO much!

Carrie: When it comes to books, ‘both’ is always an acceptable answer 🙂

Q: Coffee or Tea?

Johanna: Coffee. Forever and always.

Carrie: duly noted 🙂

Q: Fiction or nonfiction?

Johanna: Fiction.

Carrie: yes please!

Q: Miami or Nashville?

Johanna: Miami. Love my home, but Miami has the beach… 

Carrie: fair point lol

Q: Around here I like to say that reading is my superpower. If YOU had a superpower, what would it be?

Johanna: Settling a cranky toddler. Okay, that doesn’t sound very impressive or exciting, but if you live with a toddler, I bet you’d agree with me. Having the ability to instantly help a toddler go from stomping and yelling and throwing toys to being calm and happy could change your whole life! Imagine how much more you could accomplish, or how much more smoothly your days could go. Imagine all the mothers I could help at the grocery store who are just trying to get a simple task done . . . I think I would quickly become every mother’s superhero and that would be pretty cool.

Carrie: As the aunt for many a cranky toddler over the years, I think it sounds very impressive 😉

Q: What character from a book inspired you as a child?

Johanna: I vividly remember my mother reading the Amelia Bedelia book series to my sister and me when we were young. We would laugh and laugh together each night at all the ridiculous things Amelia would do. Those are such sweet memories, and they inspired me to keep reading and to enjoy life to the fullest—even if I got tangled up in a ridiculous situation.

Carrie: oh my goodness! Yes! I loved Amelia Bedelia!

Q: What’s a recent read that you loved? Why did you love it?

Johanna: The Secret Book of Flora Lea by Patti Callahan Henry. When I picked this book up at Parnassus here in Nashville, I knew I’d buy it after reading the back cover copy. The premise was unlike anything I’d read in a long time. And it did not disappoint. From the moment I started reading, I couldn’t put it down! It was sweet, but also had an exciting murder-mystery element to it. I really enjoyed the dialogue throughout the book as well—it was captivating. Highly recommend!

Carrie: that one is on my TBR list – it sounds amazing! Glad to know it is!

Q: What was your writing routine for An American Immigrant? Any favorite writing snacks? What about music?

Johanna: When I was writing the book, I only had one baby and he was taking two naps a day. So whenever I laid the baby down for a nap, I sped walked to my office and sat down to write as much as I could. I also utilized my local YMCA. As a member, my baby could hang out at Y Play for up to 2 hours a day! We were there almost every morning for the full 2 hours—he played and I found a quiet corner to write. I truly was—and still am—a mother who writes in the margins.

That was really it, to be honest. I almost always wrote with a cup of water or coffee nearby, but no snacks because I knew my typing would significantly slow down if I stopped to munch too much LOL and I also needed it to be as quiet as possible, so the only time I listened to music was when I was writing the scene where my protagonist spends a long evening in a salsa club.

Carrie: well how could you NOT write with music during that scene? lol

Q: I love reading books written from a different cultural perspective than my own. What are a few of your favorite books that feature Hispanic heritage?

Johanna: One of my favorite authors is Isabel Allende, and almost all of her books feature Hispanic Heritage, which is a huge plus! The first one I read was The House of the Spirits, which actually inspired me to want to create a multigenerational lens in my debut novel. I also really enjoyed Violeta. Other favorites are Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton and American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins. 

Carrie: I’ve had my eye on Isabel Allende’s books – will need to bump them up my TBR list now 🙂

Q: What is one of your favorite quotes from An American Immigrant and why do you love it?

Johanna: My favorite quote from my book is, “But just because you’re good at something doesn’t mean it’s going to come easy. And that’s okay because hard work makes victories that much sweeter.” This quote embodies my mother’s entire life, and mine too. From my mother, I’ve learned how much more purpose and fulfillment you have in life when you sacrifice and work hard for what you want. I love that readers will get to see this happen in real time when they read An American Immigrant and I hope it encourages them to push through whatever obstacles they come up against as they chase God’s calling on their life. This quote also inspired my book’s dedication, but you’ll have to pick it up to see exactly what it says!

Carrie: i love that!

Thank you so much for taking time to talk with me! 🙂 Before we say goodbye for today, tell us what‘s coming up next for you.

Johanna: I’m hoping lots more books! I’m a writer through and through, so I’m looking forward to getting back into a rhythm of writing so that I can put together another novel. It’s going to be a lot more difficult this time around because now I have two babies who are on completely different schedules, which means I’m never without any children. BUT, like the quote above, I will push through and find a way. Wish me luck!


An American Immigrant giveaway

WaterBrook is offering a print copy of An American Immigrant by Johanna Rojas Vann to one of my readers! (US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.) This giveaway is subject to Reading Is My SuperPower’s giveaway policies which can be found here. Enter via the Rafflecopter form below.

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What about you? What makes you want to read An American Immigrant by Johanna Rojas Vann?

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18 responses to “Author Interview (and a Giveaway!): Johanna Rojas Vann & An American Immigrant

  1. Edna Williams

    I would read this book because I would like to see the immigrant’s experience from an immigrant’s point of view.

  2. Denise Turner

    I want to read this book because I love family stories with an emphasis on the family heritage.

  3. Patty

    I think, as an American, our families were all immigrants at some point, it’s always fun to hear those stories.

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