Author: Maria Nieto
Genre: Historical Thriller
On a sweltering summer day, the streets of Old Madrid that once resonated with the laughter of children playing are empty and silent. But inside the apartment buildings there is life as families faithfully wait for updates about an army uprising in Spanish Morocco. Before long, their greatest fears come true. As rebel troops storm Madrid and chaos fills the streets, six-year-old Mari wonders why she cannot go outside to play. Unfortunately, she has no idea she is about to be trapped inside the abyss of what is rapidly becoming a ruthless civil war. Already emotionally wounded by the absence of her mother, Mari attempts to go about her fear-filled days living with her father’s family, which includes a grandfather who lovingly teaches her about the history leading up to the conflict. As she embarks on a coming-of-age journey submerged in the darkness of war, Mari somehow stays alive despite the decisions of an intimidating, ruthless dictator, starvation, and brainwashing by the new Fascist regime. But when circumstances lead her to inadvertently commit the ultimate betrayal, Mari must face the horrifying consequences of her actions. Breaking the Silence shares the compelling tale of a little girl’s experiences as she attempts to survive amid the horror and death surrounding the Spanish Civil War.
Do you have a daily writing routine?
No, I just put together bits and pieces of what I want to say in my mind as I go on with my daily life and write it down on a piece of paper. Sometimes during the day or night, or the following week, I pull all of the pieces of paper together and enter the information in the computer. Maybe this is a routine after all...
Where do you do most of your writing?
Initially everywhere that I can lean on to a surface with a pen and paper. After, I have a sort of an office overlooking the mountains (I live in New Mexico) where I keep the computer. That is where the final writing is done.
Where did you grow up? Can you tell us a little about it?
I was born in New York City. I grew up in Spain from age one year old until my teen years all through the Spanish Civil War, and through some of the years after the war under a dictatorship, after which time I returned to New York. Reading my book will describe to people exactly how I grew up.
What is your motto in life/writing?
To be able to go to whoever or whatever is God after I die and say: "Here I am, not quite finished. I did most of what I was supposed to do, but I am not finished. I need to go back."
What inspired you to write the book?
The lives and deaths of my childhood friends when I was growing up in Spain during the Spanish Civil War, and the new laws in Spain erasing their lives and deaths from existence as if they never lived or died.
The author spent her childhood in Spain during the Spanish Civil War and the post war years that followed the war under a brutal dictatorship. As an adult, and after four years in the US Navy, Maria graduated from Temple University in Philadelphia with degrees in nursing and nursing education followed by graduate and post graduate degrees in mental health education and counseling psychology. After teaching psychiatric nursing in Philadelphia, the author moved to New Mexico where she worked in mental health services for the Indian Health Service, and later worked for the University of New Mexico in the department of Emergency Psychiatry. Now retired, Maria still lives in New Mexico with her horse.