Author Interview with author of Lies That Bind,Diana Rodriguez Wallach!

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Denise Alicea

This blog was created by Denise in September 2008 to blog about writing, book reviews, and technology. Slowly, but surely this blog expanded to what it has become now, a central for book reviews of all kinds interviews, contests, and of course promotional venue for authors, etc



Release Date: March 6 2018

Genre: Young Adult

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Author Bio

Diana Rodriguez Wallach is the author of the Anastasia Phoenix Series, three young adult spy thrillers (Entangled Publishing, 2017, ’18, ‘19). The first book in the trilogy, Proof of Lies, was named by Paste Magazine as one of the “Top 10 Best Young Adult Books for March 2017.” Bustle also listed her as one of the “Top Nine Latinx Authors to Read for Women’s History Month 2017.” Additionally, she is the author of three award-winning young adult novels: Amor and Summer Secrets, Amigas and School Scandals, and Adios to All The Drama (Kensington Books); as well as a YA short-story collection entitled Mirror, Mirror (Buzz Books, 2013).


In 2011, she published a highly regarded essay in Dear Bully: 70 Authors Tell Their Stories (HarperCollins). It was the only essay chosen from the anthology by Scholastic to be used in its classroom materials. Diana is featured in the anthology, Latina Authors and Their Muses (Twilight Times Books, 2015), and she currently blogs for Quirk Books. In 2010 Diana was named one of the Top Ten New Latino Authors to Watch by, and she placed second in the International Latino Book Awards.


She is an advisory board member for the Philly Spells Writing Center, a school-based Workshop Instructor for Mighty Writers in Philadelphia, and has been a Writing Instructor for Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Talented Youth since 2015. She holds a B.S. in Journalism from Boston University, and currently lives in Philadelphia.


For more about Diana, check out The Whole Story,


To learn about her journey to publication, which includes a visit to a Salem, MA psychic, check out How I Became A Writer,


Back Cover copy

What would you risk to learn the truth?

 Reeling from the truths uncovered while searching for her sister in Italy, Anastasia Phoenix is ready to call it quits with spies. The only way to stop being a pawn in their game is to remove herself from the board. But before she can leave her parents’ crimes behind her, tragedy strikes. No one is safe, not while Department D still exists.


Now, with help from her friends, Anastasia embarks on a dangerous plan to bring down an entire criminal empire. From a fire-filled festival in England to a lavish wedding in Rio de Janeiro, Anastasia is determined to confront the enemies who want to destroy her family. But even Marcus, the handsome bad boy who’s been there for her at every step, is connected to the deadly spy network. And the more she learns about Department D, the more she realizes the true danger might be coming from someone closer than she expects…


Excerpt, starting from Chapter 1, page 14


Marcus leaned toward me, his dimples aimed like a weapon. There was smoke and literal fire encircling us, firecrackers sizzling in every direction, and hordes of bodies shoving us together. All I could see was his smile; I didn’t get to enjoy it often enough. We met the day before my sister disappeared from a claw-foot tub of blood, then we fought side by side in Italy, and even when I did get Keira back, I was confronted with the fact that my parents might be alive, my dad might not really be my dad, and Marcus’s brother might be in mortal danger. It was a rather extreme way to start a relationship.

Marcus reached for my waist, gently resting his hands and sending a warm tingle through my body. “Thank you for coming here, for helping me look for my brother.”

“Dresden Kids stick together.” I repeated his infamous line. Though I wasn’t the only Dresden Kid who wanted to help. Keira fought to join us. She wanted to somehow repay everyone for what they sacrificed to find her, and while I understood, I’d begged her to stay with Charlotte and Julian. I’d already lost her once, and I’d sunken into a funk so deep it left me bedridden and nearly institutionalized by Charlotte’s parents.

So while I was the little sister in our tiny family, and while I realized she took care of me and protected me from social services for years, I felt our power dynamic shifted the moment I found her in Venice. It was now my job to protect us, and I needed her safe in London.

“Once we find Antonio, it’ll be okay. We’ll all be okay,” Marcus said, his voice so monotone it was clear he didn’t believe his words. Keira and I were living under assumed names. Marcus and I were taking online classes, because high school was a dream sequence we couldn’t actually live out. Charlotte was hacking databases against a criminal empire. And Julian was funding the entire anarchist operation. We were all so far from okay that normal was a fantasy that kept me up at night.

“Antonio is fine,” I assured him, my voice as flat as his.

Marcus nodded, trying to force himself to believe. Then he pressed his forehead to mine and sighed, his whole weight leaning into me. I closed my eyes, my cheekbones feeling the flutter of his hair. He needed a trim. We all did. We didn’t exactly have time for stuff like that anymore.

“I have to find him,” he whispered.

“I know.”

He exhaled against me, the heat of his breath warming my chapped, red cheeks.

“This has to end eventually, no?”

We both knew there was no answer to that question, and he really wasn’t looking for one. He needed something else right now. So I shifted my lips toward his, barely a flutter, and we kissed in a way so sad and desperate that the sensation was instantly familiar—only now I was on the other side. Marcus moved his fingers to my hair, and I could feel him trying to forget the world, forget his fears, forget where he was. I knew what he wanted. I had been there myself not too long ago.

I grabbed at his neck and pressed hard against his mouth, moving my tongue until I felt a change within him, the strike of a match. He pushed me against the boarded-up window of a village shop, the splintered raw wood sticking to the wool of my coat as his mouth moved with a new excitement. I moaned slightly, and he slid his hand behind my head, gripping my hair, protecting my scalp from the hard wood, and pulling me closer.

Around us, crowds continued to push past, and I could feel torches glowing brighter, hotter, closer.

Much closer.

I cracked open my eyes and was startled by a man standing inches away, a fiery stick in his hand and a creepy grin on his bearded face. I jolted, pushing Marcus—visions of Department D, deadly spies, and endless threats of set-ups flashed in my head. Panic spread across Marcus’s flushed face as he noticed my reaction.

Then he turned toward the stranger.

Only then did the man move the torch closer, illuminating his face.

That was when I recognized his familiar features—the dark hair, the double dimples, and the near-black eyes that ran in their bloodline.

“Hola, hermano.”


Where are you from? Tell us a little about yourself!

I’m a Philly girl. I live in Center City now, but I grew up in Delco (blue-collar suburb). I’m literally writing this the day before the Super Bowl, so by the time everyone reads it, they’ll know whether the Eagles won their first Super Bowl ever. (If so, just pretend it wasn’t me you saw o the news screaming on Broad Street.) I published my first novel when I was 30, back when I had tons of time to write as much as I wanted. Now, I’m a mom of two small kids. So writing is something I need to schedule into to my day. But it never feels like work. I love plotting new stories, doing research, creating outlines, and imagining my characters. Also, I love editing! Strange, I know. I teach Creative Writing online for Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Talented Youth, and I have to badger my students into edit their work. But for me, it’s my favorite part.


Tell us about your book? How did it get started?

Anastasia is Nancy Drew meets Buffy Summers in the world of Spy Kids. Essentially she’s a combination of the kick-butt heroines I love from the mysteries and thrillers that have impacted me. The series also indulges my love of travel. Proof of Lies is set in Boston (where I went to college) and Italy. I take readers through the streets Rome, the vineyards of Tuscany, and the canals of Venice. Lies that Bind continues with more scenes in Boston, then whisks the reader to Bonfire Night in Lewes, England; a covert meeting on the London Ferris wheel; and finally death threats and confrontations in Rio de Janeiro. I went to a wedding recently in Rio, and the location features prominently in the book. Honestly, I don’t know how the novel would end if it weren’t for that trip! I feel like with a spy novel, you need a touch of the exotic—how interesting would James Bond be if every movie were set in Des Moines?


What inspires and what got your started in writing?

I’ll warn you, this story is kind of strange. I started writing my first novel because I had a dream one night that I was a young adult author, and I dreamt the concept for an entire series of books. Seriously. When I woke up and told my husband, he reminded me of a vacation we took five years earlier through New England.


We had stopped in Salem, MA to see the witches’ houses. While there, I decided to visit a psychic (when in Rome, right?). So I sat down and the psychic immediately said, “You’re a writer.” And I was; at the time, I was a reporter. I told her this, and she asked what I wrote about. Intentionally trying to be cryptic (I mean, she is a psychic, shouldn’t she already know?), I told her that I wrote about “business.” She swiftly said, “No. I see you writing books, little books, like children’s books.”


I had never considered writing a book before. But after the dream, and my recollection of the psychic, I figured it was “a sign.” So I sat down and started my first novel.


How do you get your ideas for writing?

Ideas come at random times—while watching TV, brushing my teeth, driving my car, etc. But usually the ones I act upon, the ones I start writing, are based on something true that happened to me at one point in my life. The first novel I ever wrote, still unpublished, was based on my bullying experience in middle school. The first novel I ever published, Amor and Summer Secrets, is based on my ethnic background and what it was like visiting family in Puerto Rico. And the first spark of inspiration that ultimately led to the creation of Anastasia Phoenix came when I was in high school. I was attending a college fair in Philadelphia, and I was listening to students talk about Boston University. One kid was glowing about the professors—Pulitzer-prize winners from the Boston Globe, The Washington Post and The NY Times. Then he spoke about a very unusual professor, one who was a former communist spy for Czechoslovakia during the Cold War and who now taught budding journalists how to tell if they were being fed false information or “fake news.” The tale of that rouge spy stuck with me.


But by the time I ultimately got to BU, Lawrence Martin Bittman, the spy-turned-journalism professor, had retired. I never got to take his course. However, years later when I decided to attempt an international thriller packed with super spies, that story came back to me as if it had always been waiting. I wanted my world of espionage to be focused on a unique specialty that offered me some creative freedom, and disinformation fit the bill.


I eventually meet the spy who inspired me, and we had a fascinating conversation in his home that led to many of the espionage elements in PROOF OF LIES and LIES THAT BIND, as well as the name of the CIA agent that appears in the novel, Martin Bittman.


What would your advice to be for authors or aspiring in regards to writing?

The road to publication is a long one. When I started out, things happened very quickly. I got my first agent after querying for only two weeks. But things didn’t go smoothly after that. It took me years to sell my first novel to a publisher. So if you want to be an author—I mean, really want it—then you need to be prepared to settle in for the long haul. Everyone gets rejected—some spend years trying to find an agent, others years trying to find an editor, other years trying to create a fan base. Love the acting of writing so much that it makes everything else worth it.







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