In a series grounded in Argentine folklore, Romina Garber’s Wolves of No World series is a timely commentary on the danger of labels and what can happen when we let society decide who does and does not have the right to be called “legal.” I’m thrilled to have Romina here to answer a few questions about this series and what else she has in store for readers.
Miss Print: Can you tell me a bit about your path as a writer? How did you get to this point?
Romina Garber: I was born in Buenos Aires, and I immigrated to the U.S. with my family when I was five; but it was in fourth grade that I truly heard the English language for the first time. My teacher used to read to us from Shel Silverstein’s masterpiece Where the Sidewalk Ends, and I fell in love with words.
I wrote my first poem that year, “Si yo fuera la luz,” and my Spanish teacher liked it so much that she submitted it to a writing contest at the local county fair, and I won first place. I went on to write for my school paper in high school, and I later interned at the Miami Herald, where I pitched a column to bring in more teen readers. “College She Wrote” came out every Sunday and was even nationally syndicated—that’s how I developed my voice and discovered that teens are my favorite audience.
Miss Print: What was the inspiration for Lobizona?
Romina Garber: The inspiration behind the worldbuilding of Lobizona is a curious Argentine law that is still in effect today: ley de padrinazgo presidencial 20.843. It declares the President of Argentina godparent to the seventh consecutive son or daughter in a family. When I researched the history of this law, I came across a superstition that claims seventh daughters will be born brujas and seventh sons will be lobizones. I knew I wanted to write about it, but rather than a straightforward fantasy, I opted to explore the mythologies we weave with our words every day.
Lobizona is a treatise on labels and a warning of what happens when we take language too literally. It’s also the book teen-me needed: A YA fantasy about Latinx brujas and lobizones who speak my languages, share my cultures, and make me swoon.
I wrote the story as an exploration of the immigrant identity. Manu’s dual identity as a human and a werewolf is a threat to both her worlds, and rather than having two homes, she’s left with none. As an immigrant, this sense of homelessness is one I’ve struggled with my whole life.
Miss Print: Your latest books, Lobizona and Cazadora, comprise the Wolves of No World duology. When you started writing Manu’s story did you always know it would be a series? Do you have more stories planned in this world?
Romina Garber: Once I started writing Lobizona, I quickly realized I’d inadvertently outlined two books in one. The midpoint was in fact the ending! So in that sense, the series feels like a natural duology. I have since outlined a third book, but at the moment there are no publication plans. Yet there is a Wolves of No World short story coming out in the Reclaim the Stars anthology in February 2022!
Miss Print: Like Manu, you are an Argentine immigrant. Do you and your protagonist have anything else in common? (I won’t tell anyone if you’re a Septima, promise!)
Romina Garber: Ha! I really connect with Manu because, even though I’ve been fortunate enough to have amazing friendships, I’m sort of existentially lonely. I can never quite figure out where I fit in. And in addition to English, Spanish, and Spanglish, Manu and I also share a literary language—we both use references to books we love to process the world.
Miss Print: Who was the hardest character to write in this series? Who was the easiest?
Romina Garber: Manu was easiest for the aforementioned reasons, and the hardest was probably Cata because she is so guarded that she proved a bit tough to get to know at the outset.
Miss Print: Do you have a favorite scene from this series–either a favorite to write or one you’re excited for readers to discover?
Romina Garber: I love the first time Manu sets foot on the Septibol field and shows off her skills for the school. It was such an empowering moment.
Miss Print: We’re living in a strange time with the pandemic as we all continue to wear masks, practice social distancing, and work together to stop the spread of Covid-19. How would Manu and her loved ones be handling the pandemic?
Romina Garber: I think Manu would sail through this pandemic because she’s been in quarantine her whole life! She’s probably better prepared for a pandemic than the rest of us!
Miss Print: What does a typical writing day look like for you? Has this changed in light of the pandemic?
Romina Garber: I typically wake up by 7:30am and go straight to my Nespresso to make myself an iced latte. Then I sit on the couch, ready to work, and proceed to pull up all my social media platforms. After about an hour, I finally open my WIP and get writing! Not much has changed since the pandemic, except that I don’t get to work from coffeeshops as much as before, which is something I sorely miss.
Miss Print: Can you tell me anything about what you’re currently working on?
Romina Garber: I am currently working on a new, dark YA that’s also for Wednesday Books—a gothic paranormal that I hope to be able to discuss in more detail soon . . .
Miss Print: Do you have any advice to offer aspiring authors?
Romina Garber: Never give up! In my 20s, I wrote five fantasy novels over the span of 8.5 years, and every single one of them was rejected—but if I’d given up after the fifth book, I never would have made it to ZODIAC! So if you’re feeling defeated by rejection, hang in there and hold on for your YES.
Thank you to Romina for taking the time to answer my questions. You can find out more about Romina and her books on her website: rominagarber.com
You can read my reviews of Lobizona and Cazadora here on the blog.