Friday, June 24, 2016

Interview with Juana M. Ortiz, author of I Made It!

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Inside the Book:

I Made It
Title: I Made It 
Author: Juana M. Ortiz 
Publisher: AuthorHouse 
Genre: Biography 
Format: Ebook/Paperback

Author Juana Ortiz was born with cerebral palsy in the Dominican Republic, a country where prejudice against people with disabilities is strong. In I Made It, Ortiz shares the story of her experiences and struggles throughout her life, particularly her difficulties within the educational system. Through her writing, she seeks to address common misunderstandings that persist with regard to people with disabilities and their enrollment in school and to raise awareness regarding the inclusion of students with disabilities in mainstream classes throughout college. A tale of achieving goals that seemed unreachable, her personal narrative offers hope and inspiration to those looking to live their dreams.

“While this book is both empowering and inspirational, it isn't about cerebral palsy. I Made It is meant to challenge the societal and cultural expectations that are placed on those living with disabilities. Through determination and an unyielding desire to live her life, the author offers a heartfelt glimpse into her life and how she overcame those barriers.” —Cathleen M. Capasso, Disability Advocate

“I Made It is … an eloquent and honest account of overcoming cultural and disability related barriers … As the author writes, ‘following your butterflies.' Full of heart and wisdom, it is a glimpse into the beauty of the human spirit and one woman's determination to live her dreams.” —Carole Tonks, Executive Director Alliance Center for Independence

Could you please tell us a little about your book?

I wanted to show the world that I made it despite the challenges that I was dealing with. I thought these three words together have a strong message. As humans many times we face obstacles that might seems unreachable. Along our journey we encounter people that assuming we will never make it. That happened to me. I chose this title because I feel the need to say I Made It!

Who or what is the inspiration behind this book?

My life experiences. All the obstacles that I had to deal since I was a little girl. Also all the goals that I had accomplish and seemed unreachable.

What cause are you most passionate about and why?

I am very passionate with issues that affect young adults in terms of lack of in their access to a good education in needed communities. The prejudice that stills exists when it comes to people with disability and fitting in our society. I also passionate about gender role. In many parts of the world women’s right are violating. A big percent of young girls don’t access to education and have a high rate of living in poverty and become victim of domestic violence.

Do you have any rituals you follow when you finish a piece of work?

Just try to relax and try to take away for everything that has to do with writing. It is a way to give my mind a brake and avoid to bun out.

Who has influenced you throughout your writing career?

My mentor English Professor and poet Mark Hilliringhouse. He encourage me to write during a time that I lost faith in myself. I didn’t know what I wanted. Through writing I found a purpose.

What are some of your long term goals?

One of my long terms goals is a documental base on my book I Made It. I want to reach the more people possible because the book has a lot potential and it can help out a large population. Run my own non-profit Rainbow of Talent and translate the book to different languages among those Spanish.

Meet the Author:

Juana M. Ortiz was born in the Dominican Republic and has had cerebral palsy since birth. She moved to the United States with her family when she was a teenager and received strong support from her parents, who worked hard to ensure she had a good quality of life. She currently lives in Hawthorne, New Jersey.

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