Interview with Juana M. Ortiz, author of I Made It!

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Inside the Book:

I Made It
Title: I Made It
Author: Juana M. Ortiz
Publisher: AuthorHouse
Genre: Biography
Format: Ebook/Paperback
Author Juana Ortiz was born with cerebral palsy in the Dominican Republic, a country where prejudice against people with disabilities is strong. In I Made It, Ortiz shares the story of her experiences and struggles throughout her life, particularly her difficulties within the educational system. Through her writing, she seeks to address common misunderstandings that persist with regard to people with disabilities and their enrollment in school and to raise awareness regarding the inclusion of students with disabilities in mainstream classes throughout college. A tale of achieving goals that seemed unreachable, her personal narrative offers hope and inspiration to those looking to live their dreams. “While this book is both empowering and inspirational, it isn't about cerebral palsy. I Made It is meant to challenge the societal and cultural expectations that are placed on those living with disabilities. Through determination and an unyielding desire to live her life, the author offers a heartfelt glimpse into her life and how she overcame those barriers.” —Cathleen M. Capasso, Disability Advocate “I Made It is … an eloquent and honest account of overcoming cultural and disability related barriers … As the author writes, ‘following your butterflies.' Full of heart and wisdom, it is a glimpse into the beauty of the human spirit and one woman's determination to live her dreams.” —Carole Tonks, Executive Director Alliance Center for Independence

The Interview:

Can you please tell us about your book and why you wrote it?

I Made It is a memoir based on my life experiences since childhood. I wrote the book because since I was a little girl I had to deal with a prejudices due to my physical disability. Also I talked about all the goals that I had accomplish, which seemed to be unreachable at one point.

What were some of the biggest challenges you faced writing it?

One of the hardest part was editing the manuscript. Since I couldn’t afford to hire an editor to edit it I had to ask people for help. They took time out of their busy schedule. Also the process involved re-writing several time until the manuscript was ready to be submitted to the publisher for publication. Another challenge was pointing out smalls details that might seemed insignificant to me as a writer but for the reader it makes a big difference because it gives a different meaning.

Do you plan subsequent books?

Yes I might write subsequent book.

When and why did you begin writing?

I began writing when I was a teenager as a hobby even though I didn’t realized how therapeutic it was. How helpful it was emotionally and mentally. Years later, thanks to my mentor support. I became aware of my talent as a writer.

What is your greatest strength as an author?

My biggest strength is be able to connect with the reader. My writing style is simple and straightforward. Anyone can relate to the story because I write about different issues that people experiences in their lifetime.

Did writing this book teach you anything?

It has teach me a lot like the need that exist in our society to tell our lives stories. There are so many people out there that for some reason are unable to tell their story. When they read I Made It they feel familiar with my story because I talk about issues that affect many of us.

Meet the Author:

Juana M. Ortiz was born in the Dominican Republic and has had cerebral palsy since birth. She moved to the United States with her family when she was a teenager and received strong support from her parents, who worked hard to ensure she had a good quality of life. She currently lives in Hawthorne, New Jersey.

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