TBF Author Q&A with Celia C. Pérez

Celia C. Pérez is the author of the novel TUMBLE.

TBF: Why did you write your new book? What was your inspiration? Where did the idea start?

CCP: It started with my junior high obsession with professional wrestling! Tumble is a story about wrestling, about family, about identity, about learning to make big decisions and about having the ability to choose. Like all of my books, it is a collage of things I love and am intrigued by. In this case: mythology, small towns, telenovelas, wrestling families, history, archives, traditions, mysteries, and family secrets. What makes a family? How does family influence who you are and how you see yourself? It’s about how family can lift us up, but also about how family can hurt us, and how we deal with that hurt. These are the things that were tumbling (see how I did that?) around in my brain when I was thinking about this story.

TBF: What’s the last book you read, loved, and can’t stop recommending? Why is it so good?

CCP: For adults: We Ride Upon Sticks by Quan Barry. It has so many things I love: 1980s pop culture references (I am a child of the 80s), witches, history, teen girls harnessing their power and finding their way in this world, mystery, and humor. The colors for both the hardback and the paperback scream 80s, and I love it.

For kids: Octopus Stew by Eric Velasquez. Eric was at the Texas Book Festival in 2019, and I caught the end of his reading of this book. He was fantastic. I got the chance to read this in Spanish and in English to a group of elementary school students and everyone loved it. It’s funny, suspenseful, and a great tribute to storytelling, and the illustrations are gorgeous.

TBF: What’s the first book you remember reading? Who gave it to you?

CCP: The earliest memory I have of reading a book, memorable in that it was a book that was mine — of my choosing and that I loved — was Phyllis Reynolds Naylor’s Witch’s Sister. It was the first book I remember owning. I was in Ms. Flanagan’s 3rd grade class at Comstock Elementary in Miami, Florida, and I purchased it from a Troll book order form. Forty years later, I still have this book in my possession. The original cover is missing, the pages are yellowed and smudged with years of handling and moving around with me, and there’s a literal book worm hole that goes from the beginning to the end of the book. I have read it many times in those forty years, and it still holds up.

Catch Celia C. Pérez on Saturday, November 5 at the Next Chapter Tent from 2:45 – 3:30 at the 2022 Texas Book Festival!