Please join me in welcoming Christina Diaz Gonzalez, whose fast paced, Moving Target, kept me turning pages well past bedtime! And good news: there’s a sequel coming!
I firmly believe that you should write the story you (or a you as a child) would love to read. That’s why I like to write about strong, resilient characters in dire, high-stakes situations—those were the books I loved to read as a child and I still love reading them. So it made sense that my first two novels, The Red Umbrella and A Thunderous Whisper, both featured girls facing critical moments when their entire world is turned upside-down by historical events outside their control. But as much as I love historical fiction, for my next project I wanted to write a story that was full of non-stop action, set in today’s world with a touch of mysticism, yet grounded in reality. The best part was that I already had an idea brewing.
It all started a few years ago while visiting Vatican City. Fate would have me meet a young American from Tennessee who was studying to be a priest in Rome. Brother Scott befriended my family and insisted on becoming our own personal tour guide of St. Peter’s Basilica—showing us everything from Michelangelo’s famous sculpture “La Pieta” to more obscure items like Bernini’s statue of Saint Longinus holding a large spear.
It was this memory of the statue of St. Longinus that would be triggered years later when I stumbled upon the fact that Adolf Hitler had been obsessed with acquiring the spear of St. Longinus. Just as depicted in the Indiana Jones movies, Hitler had really sent out expeditions to acquire biblical objects that were rumored to possess mystical qualities. I became completely intrigued with the legends surrounding the spear and the power it had to supposedly change destiny. I now had to write about it.
It took a few months for the main character of Cassie Arroyo to fully form in my mind, but once she arrived, she meant business. Here was an average American girl (or so she thinks) who is living in Rome and is thrust into the most extreme of situations—evading assassins, rescuing her father and saving the world. The added fact that she was Latina was perfect because I strongly believe that all kids deserve to see themselves as heroes. So now I had this powerful heroine who joins forces with a mysterious boy, a fantastic legend connected to real-life history, and heart-pounding action that would make Indiana Jones jealous…MOVING TARGET was born!
Christina Diaz Gonzalez is the award-winning author of The Red Umbrella, A Thunderous Whisper, and Moving Target. Her books have received numerous honors and recognitions including the American Library Association’s Best Fiction for Young Adults, the Florida Book Award, the Nebraska Book Award, a Notable Social Studies Book and the International Literacy Association’s Teacher’s Choice Award. She speaks to students across the country regarding writing, the importance of telling their stories, and the value of recognizing that they can each be the heroes of their own lives. Visit her website at www.christinagonzalez.com for further information.