DiversifYA: Susan Bradley

SusanXToday, Susan X Bradley joins us on DiversifYA! Susan is a YA author, former regional advisor of the Central Ohio SCBWI chapter, and tweets here.

Susan is also the author of YA mystery novel, Unraveled, wherein a sixteen year old FBI profiler wanna-be conducts her own investigation when her older sister is murdered. And in case you were wondering… Unraveled is a great read!

1. How do you identify yourself?

I mostly identify myself as a woman and all that entails. I am a mother which fulfills me in so many ways. I’m a working professional, an MFA student, and a writer. I always think of women as powerful, go-getters, and able to multi-task. We take care of our family, home and career while pursuing our own goals & dreams. We are capable of so many things and do it with so much heart.

[I also identify as Hispanic.] My parents are Hispanic and my Mexican grandmother still focuses on family & marriage vs. career.

2. What did it feel like growing up Hispanic?

I grew up in South Texas, just miles from the Texas-Mexico border so my community was largely Hispanic. My parents were born in Mexico so we traveled to visit my grandparents every summer. I loved it there, but you definitely saw poverty and other situations that we don’t see on a daily basis in my current community. We spoke Spanish a lot in my home and our meals were mainly food that my parents had growing up. It didn’t really seem any different from my friend’s. My neighbors were from Cuba, Germany & Argentina and each one had their traditions. It wasn’t until I left for college that I got immersed into a largely non-Hispanic culture. I had some growing pains but I think my early exposure to multiple nationalities helped me acclimate.

3. What are the biggest challenges? Conversely, what are the quirks/perks?

The biggest challenge was and still is, challenging people’s preconceived notions about what it means to be Hispanic. Funny, I even got that as child because I was from Texas. People assumed I rode a horse everywhere or lived on a ranch. The perks are definitely the family. I literally have over a hundred cousins. My mom is one of eight kids and my grandmother was one of 7. Facebook has been amazing in terms of being able to keep in touch with my family in Mexico. The food is also a nice bonus.

4. What do you wish people knew about being Hispanic?

It’s not like you see on TV. There are a lot of stereotypes. They’re a loving group that is very devoted to family. Your child is their child. They love everyone like their own. The dinner table is a gathering place and everyone is invited. Food is a celebration. They’re well cultured, and my family is very well traveled. They have a lot of pride in their heritage.

5. What are the biggest clichés/stereotypes you’ve seen?

That there’s all blue collar workers or they work in the US illegally. Not all Hispanic are dirt poor or cross the border. For example, my aunt has a PhD and is a professor. She travels around the world speaking. One of my cousins is a Mexican ambassador.

BONUS: What is your advice for writers writing diverse characters?

Make them true to life and show all aspects of their ethnicity. It’s a chance to inform and educate others.

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