What-All I’ve Been Up To

Wow, everyone! It’s been quite a year. Here we are, again.

First of all, happy belated birthday to my debut novel, What’s Coming to Me, the OG story of my heart.

Recently, it occurred to me that, aside from my jokey lil one-offs across social media, I haven’t really been documenting the work that’s gone into promoting WCTM by me and a team of stellar book people. And there’s been a lot. So for the sake of knowledge management, a phrase I repeat to my  co-workers like a nonprofit-themed wind-up doll, here is where I’ll start to document most consistently.

Promotional activity for WCTM ramped up in June 2022 at the American Library Association (ALA)’s national conference*, where I had the pleasure of meeting hundreds of librarians and other book people and spoke on a panel alongside debut and established authors entitled “Fiction, Community, and Activism: How YA Depicts the Real Lives of Teens.” This panel was quite the turning point for me—I believe the audience that day witnessed in real time my own realization that Francesca is A Real Author(TM) now.

I also got to meet fellow badass Soho Press authors Ernesto Mestre-Reed, whose brilliant novel Sacrificio got a raving New York Times review, and Ramona Emerson, whose debut Shutter was just long-listed for a National Book Award. Like I said: Real Author(TM) Things.

I was interviewed on two AMAZING vlogs by and for readers of color: Brown Girl Book Lover and Paola M Guerrero which you should definitely check out. Plus this charming af, dog-filled TikTok interview with my friend Emily Hessney Lynch!

WCTM received starred reviews—a big deal, I’ll say it—from Kirkus, School Library Journal, and ALA Booklist. It was also covered by great outlets like Al Día News, BookRiot, 585 Magazine, Apartment Therapy, We Need Diverse Books, Teen Librarian Toolbox, Ms. Magazine, Publishers Weekly, Dominican Writer’s Association, and most recently Oprah Daily.

Somewhere in there was a 2-day New York City Book Launch Franstravaganza in August. This began with a “This Is Your Life-style” (my agent’s words, lol) reading from the book and Q&A at Greenlight Bookstore on Flatbush Avenue, near my old neighborhood and high school (technically: because if you know you know, that Flatbush Avenue is the longest street ever to exist. No, the latter probably isn’t factually true.). The second event, at Word Up Community Bookshop in Washington Heights, was an intimate, thought-provoking conversation with Angy Abreu of Dominican Writer’s Association.

My first Rochester author event took place at Writers & Books, moderated by Sejal Shah (This Is One Way to Dance, University of Georgia Press, 2020). Sejal is not only a brilliant writer & Very Nice Person, but also taught the class in which I learned just how challenging (and rewarding) memoir writing can be.

And then I attended my first ever book club meeting as an author, with the Serve Me the Sky book club. The icing on the cake of this truly lovely experience was that it raised money for a local organization, Baden Street Settlement in Rochester. More of this, please!!!!!!!

To see some of what’s coming up next (see what I did there) head over to Events, which I update at least once a week.


But also, I’m just getting started.

Francesca Padilla, Real Author(TM)

*The ALA conference took place in Washington DC, at the same exact time Roe V Wade was overturned. No, I didn’t see any protestors in Handmaid’s Tale costumes (though I’m sure some were around). Yes, it cast a shadow on an otherwise really wonderful event. To live in America is to have your heart broken and keep walking while it tries to heal.