Read me

Choose Me cover - small.jpg

“It’s four o’clock,” said Xenia Ruiz, glancing at her watch with a frown. Ruiz, a Chicagoan whose first novel, Choose Me (Walk Worthy Press), came out last month, was scheduled to do a reading and book signing at 4 p.m. this past Friday, but she waited half an hour for friends and family who were “stuck in traffic” to fill the little corner of the Ellis Avenue Barnes & Noble, where four brown couches and six folding chairs were set up. About a dozen audience members eventually trickled in, one bearing a bouquet of yellow roses and a bunch of balloons. Explaining that she had a sore throat and a cough, Ruiz read the prologue of her book in a soft, throaty voice.

During the question-and-answer period, Ruiz said, “I wanted to write an interracial love story.” Her novel follows Eva, a Latina who falls in love with Adam, an African American. In some ways, the book reflects her own life—Ruiz married an African American at 19 and had two college-age children by her 30s. Ruiz also drew inspiration for characters from people she knows. “I took tiny details,” she insisted. “The whole story was fiction.”

Ruiz’s second novel, In the Picture I Have Of You, which she completed years ago but was rejected by publishers, is due out next year as part of the two-book deal she received from Walk Worthy.

Hana Yoo, ’07

July 27, 2005