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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Teen Author Tuesday Presents Bettina Restrepo and ILLEGAL!

March Madness Begins...don't forget to check in over at Shana Silver's Blog!!

But onto today's post! Today I'd like to welcome Bettina Restrepo, a debut author from the Class of 2k11. Bettina's first novel, ILLEGAL will be released March 11, 2011 from HarperCollins, a Katherine Tegen Book. It is contemporary YA for ages 12 and up.

Welcome Bettina! Can you tell me about your book in seven words or less?
Family, friendship, finding your voice, illegal immigration.

Sounds great! Other than your main character, who's a favorite character of yours in
your debut novel and why?

I dearly love Mr. Mann. He is homeless and rarely speaks in the novel. But, he sits on the corner with a sign asking for money. He has less than 100 words in the book – but he speaks volumes.

Please share a little bit about yourself with my readers.
I’m a mommy, twice a day dog walker and a wife (besides writer). I once knew how to cook, but now only make things that wish you had ordered take out. I generally tell bawdy jokes, have quite a spiritual quiet side, and have a compulsive cleaning habit. I also like Legos but hate video games.

Yes, I'll take Legos over video games too. What's been the most surprising thing about your path to publication so far?
That I like writing books much more than publicizing them.

What's one piece of writing advice you would give to aspiring authors?
Not everything you write should be for publication. Writing is art, publication is business. Be the artist first.

Great advice! Are you swept up with promotion for your debut book right now, Bettina, or can you
give us a sentence or two about something new you're working on?
Just finished my next book, Telenovela. Telenovelas are Latin soap operas that are crazy. So, just think – high school musical meets foreign exchange students on Telemundo. (It’s a comedy… I needed to laugh)

What did you write when you were a teen? Did you journal? Write poetry?
I only wrote assignments for school, and I believe my high school English teachers loathed me. I finally dropped out of honors English – only to find out the basketball coach who reinspired me to read. The reading led me back to writing.

What's the last book you read that you really loved?
Half Broke Horses by Jeanette Walls. A fictional memoir of her Grandmother who was really bad a#$, back when women weren’t that way.

Also, The Year We Were Famous, by Carole Estby Dagg (debuting in April) – 2 women WALKED from Spokane to NYC in 400 days back in the early 1900’s. I stayed up all night reading. Even though it was historical fiction – I found it so relevant! (it’s considered MG, but read so much better!)

If readers want to find out more about you and your writing, where should they look?

They can also see my crazy videos on I like to ‘hunt’ for our debut titles as they come out. I’ll be trying to do a video for each book at 2k11. 

Thanks so much for visiting, Bettina, and all the very best with your debut!


  1. Denise - that for having me on your blog!

  2. Thanks, this closes out the posts entries. Thanks for hostong Denise!