Like most teens, it took a while for Angie Cruz to understand what she wanted to do with her life. “My mother said she didn’t care what I did with my future as long as I went to college and made enough money to take care of myself,” says Cruz on her website. Though she toyed with the idea of becoming an author, it just didn’t feel right.
“Up until I was twenty years old, I thought all writers were dead, white and male,” says Cruz. “One thing I did know early on is that I was a creative.”
After attending Fiorello La Guardia High School of Music and Art (a tough sell to her mother, who was sure Angie would do better at Cabrini Catholic High School, which was just blocks away from their home), Cruz attended F.I.T. to study fashion design.
“I was terrible at it,” she says.
However, it did help her to narrow her focus a bit. While working in retail, she decided to pursue an English Degree at SUNY Binghamton. There she founded WILL: Women In Literature & Letters and wrote her first book, Soledad, in 2001.
Soledad is about a young art student who moved away from home at an early age to work in a gallery but ends up returning home to care for her ill mother even though the two don’t get along. While living under her mother’s roof, the girl faces the demons of her and her mother’s past.
In 2005, Cruz released Let it Rain Coffee, about a young woman who leaves the Dominican Republic for the idyllic life she saw on the popular TV show at the time, Dallas, only to find herself disappointed.
Her website describes the book as “a novel about love, loss, family, and the elusive nature of memory and desire, set amid the crosscurrents of the history and culture that shape our past and govern our future.”
Today Angie is the founder and editor in chief of the art journal Aster(ix) and is an associate professor of English at the University of Pittsburgh.
Her latest book, Dominicana from Flatiron Books, has similar themes to her previous books. Set in the ’60s, the novel is about Ana Cancion, a young Dominican teen who dreams of moving to America just like many of her friends did.
A man twice her age sweeps her off her feet when he promises to take her to New York City if she marries him. Though she loves the idea of marriage, she doesn’t love him, but it does make way for her family to immigrate with her.
The much-anticipated book by fans and has been dubbed a “Good Morning America Cover to Cover Book Club Pick.” Cruz appears on the ABC morning show to talk about her book as well as her personal life on October 29.