Interview with Héctor Varela

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Interview with Héctor Varela

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Today we find ourselves getting to know the author of "Affinity for Trouble – A Puerto Rican Story", Héctor Varela.

Where are you originally from Héctor?

I was born in Santurce, Puerto Rico in a little clapboard house on Calle Los Pinos behind the Paramount Theatre which is located on Ponce de León Avenue at Bus stop number 19. I spent my most formative years in that humble neighborhood surrounded by boricuas like me who were as happy as could be notwithstanding our poverty. We always made do.

Why did you write this book?

As I meandered through life I realized that not to write about this boricua love and fierce pride in being part of the most significant epoch in Puerto Rico’s history would be treason to my duty as a boricua and an American. As an old man I realized that our tri-racial heritage and the Puerto Rican diaspora came from many directions. I felt a need to include our story for the future generations as I perceived it when a boy-child. Good and bad are part of American history and Puerto Rican history and they must be acknowledged. Besides, my cacique wife of 34 years told me to.

Are the characters based on real people?

They are indeed. The spirit of cooperation of the boricua soul under the calamitous adversity that existed at the time is still with us today. Boricua youth today sense their special qualities within and we must show them the way to employ them. To do this they need to know their history and the history of all Latino people. This will help them to cope and adjust towards their betterment. I wrote Affinity for Trouble with this in mind. An entertaining story injected with accurate historical points that illustrate why we are a special people. All of the characters existed. The good, the bad, and the indifferent are all busy in the book.

How long did it take you to write this book?

It took me a year to write "Affinity for Trouble – A Puerto Rican story" including several weeks in the barrios of Santurce, including Los Pinos, Villa Palmeras, and the Plaza del Mercado as well as the time spent at the National Guard Museum in San Juan.

Do you have plans for another book?

The manuscript is ready and is tentatively named Innocence Slain. It moves the family through New Orleans and onto the Sunset Express Pullman train headed for El Paso, Texas for the Fort Bliss army tour. It is the sequel to Affinity for Trouble. Imagine it. My rock who was my step-sister, Paula in her beautiful ebony skin arrives with her extended Puerto Rican family in pre-integration America, in New Orleans, no less, to shepherd her charges South and West in 1952 with her powers of hope, faith, and prayers as her only armament. Of course you have to read "Affinity for Trouble – A Puerto Rican Story" to understand the grace and magic of Paula. I sincerely hope that many of you do. Please visit my web-site at
Interviews: Interviews with people making a difference in the Latino/Hispanic community
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