• Cristina Freeman Gómez. Two last names is the norm here in Spain. In fact, you can’t be a Spanish citizen without both of them. And it suits me perfectly because it reflects a whole made up of two halves. Strangely however, people often ask, “Do you feel more Spanish or American?” What I want to say is, “That’s like asking, ‘Do you love mom or dad better?’” but I am afraid it might be taken the wrong way, so I just say, “Both.”


    Over my 48 years, a few back-and-forths between the US and Spain, now raising three American-Spanish-Argentinian-Italian-Super Fun kids in Barcelona. I have been writing for a living for 12 years, freelance of all sorts, and lately telling career stories in resumes and LinkedIn profiles.


    A few years ago, children’s literature snuck up on me, just like how my calico, Simona, silently slithers under my arms as I am typing against the clock—School pick-up! Dinner! Laundry! hollering in the distance—and starts nudging me to pet her. She is relentless and will not be ignored. Ditto for the stories. I resisted at first because I thought you had to write about something out-of-the-ordinary.


    But the characters insisted, giving me a gentle bite when I tried to ignore them, then an encouraging whisper, pointing out that even an “ordinary” childhood is really quite extraordinary, especially when, as all writers know, the everyday in words and on paper, magically transforms into mirrors and windows for readers.