My letter to Carolina Garcia Aguilera

Hola Carolina,

My name is Icess Fernandez and I LOVE your books, more specifically the Lupe Solano mysteries. They are awesome. Beyond awesome. So far beyond that the dictionary doesn’t even deliver to that area.

For me, Lupe was the older sister I have but don’t talk to because she lives in Cuba. If my sister, Viviana is her name, were Cuban American, living in Miami, with a jones for cafe con leche, and could speak English, she would be Lupe. Which would make me her gay cousin or her nun sister but let’s not get into that.

Growing up in suburbia hell, err North Shore in the 1980s/early 90s there weren’t very many people who looked like me — gorgeous, Afro-Latina with a voice like an angel. There were even less that looked like me and spoke the Reyna’s Spanish. The nearest Cuban? In Jacinto City about 15 minutes away but those folks and my folks, well, you know how Cubans do.

Anyway, I don’t remember when I picked up the Lupe Solano mysteries. It might have been at Sam’s Club or somewhere where they sell books, but not a bookstore because hell, err, North Shore, doesn’t have any bookstores. Hey, we just got a Starbucks like a year ago and we’re STILL super excited about it. Regardless of where or how I came to know Lupe Solano, I fell in love with her. But the healthy non-obsessive love. I saved that for Joey from NKOTB. (Hey, boo!)

She was my guide in a tunnel filled with sameness. She taught me that to be part Cuban was okay and that cafe con leche was good on any day or time. Lupe’s world was my vacation. I knew that a place like Miami existed but I wanted Lupe’s Miami and I wouldn’t accept imitations.

When it comes to writing influences at a young age, it was you, Lupe, err, I mean Carolina, that I wanted to be like. I wanted to write mysteries longer that I wanted to write anything. Even poetry, which is where I got my start. You, Joan Lowery Nixon, Nancy Pickard, hell even the Nancy Drew authors and those damn Box Car Children lead me down the road to wanting to be mystery writer. (Add Encyclopedia Brown in that and we’re in business.)

But in the past couple of years, (since 2001) there hasn’t been a new Lupe story. Instead there have been some chick lit books. And, even though that was the genre that was making money at the time, a part of me died when there was no Lupe in sight.

But then, in a 2006 interview from Ft. Lauderdale during the National Association of Hispanic Journalist convention, which I attended but didn’t know your were there because I SOOOOO would have been there with books to sign, you said that there would be a new Lupe story in a year or so. Carolina, it’s been two. Where is the story?

I know you have a lot to do and a book takes time, (Hello! Five years here.) but I NEED me some Lupe Solano. I crave Lupe Solano. Lupe and me need to have a catch up session, over cafe con leche.

If you could find it in your heart to make this happen for me and the countless other Lupe Solano fans, I would be in your debt and my first born or next pet, which ever is first, will be named Carolina (with the “r” roll and everything.)

PLEASE! PLEASE! PLEASE!

Just like the return of Jay-Z to hip hop (retirement? please!) come back and set the world right again.

Your humble reader and fan,

Icess Fernandez Rojas

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