Our Friend is Here! is a guest feature at The Quiet Pond, where authors, creatives, and fellow readers, are invited to ‘visit’ the Pond! In Our Friend is Here! guest posts, our visitors (as their very own unique character!) have a friendly conversation about anything related to books or being a reader — and become friends with Xiaolong and friends.
Pride Month is a month-long event at The Quiet Pond, where during the month of June, queer authors and bookish content creators are invited to celebrate being queer, queer books, and their experiences of being a queer reader. Find the introduction post for Pride Month at The Quiet Pond here.
During our Pride Month posts at the Pond, you would have seen some of our guests talk about how their different identities intersect with one another, giving rise to varied and unique experiences with queer identity. I think for a lot of us who are queer and people of colour, sometimes queerness can feel fraught and tenuous – and that’s a valid experience and speaks a lot about the racism and xenophobia within queer spaces. But where there may be queer pain, there is also queer joy as well – so, so much queer joy that deserves so much love, support, and celebration. And sometimes, queer joy within communities where there may be a lot of anti-queer rhetoric can be such important acts of resistance.
We talk a lot about representation, but I think that’s why queer representation that depicts people of colour and disabled people experiencing and feeling joy – and the broad spectrum of emotion and experience – are so important. It can feel so revolutionary, to see someone who looks and feels like you be happy, be who they are, and be loved.
I am so incredibly delighted to have Cande visit us at the Pond today. Cande is not only an amazing friend, but they are also an amazing Latinx book blogger, the heart and soul behind Latinx Magic, and a co-host of the Latinx Book Club! Through them, I’ve found so many amazing Latinx books, like Don’t Date Rosa Santos by Nina Moreno! Cande visits us as a soft yellow wildcat, wearing Cande’s signature hairband and a flowery bracelet!
I’m so excited to have Cande visiting us, friends. But, before I share the interview I did with them, I want to tell you more about their blog, Latinx Magic, and the Latinx Book Club!
Cande’s Book Blog, Latinx Magic, Bookstagram, and Latinx Book Club
I love Cande’s blog, Latinx Magic, and I am thrilled that I can share their blog with you! Cande has book reviews (and I really love her review of We Set the Dark on Fire, which was one of the biggest reasons why I decided to pick up the book myself!), shares characters interviews as part of Cafe con bizcochos (I loved this interview with the characters from Ghost Squad by Claribel Ortega!), and even their wrap-up posts are a great way to find new reads.
Cande is also a bookstagrammer and I love, love, love their photos! I love all the books that they feature in their bookstagram, but I also love seeing their sunny, smiley, and lovely face. It’s always a blessing and it makes my day instantly better.
Cande is also a co-host of Latinx Book Club alongside Sofia, Alicia, Jocelyn, Dani, and Santana! If you have been wanting to expand your Latinx reads, I cannot recommend Latinx Book Club enough! They do monthly Latinx book picks where you can readalong and discuss as you read! June’s book is Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera, which is the perfect read for Pride. It’s not too late to join in, so don’t miss out!
Blogger Interview: Cande
Xiaolong: Hi Cande! We are so excited to have you visiting us at The Quiet Pond today. I’m a big fan of your blog and it’s an honour to have you here for Pride Month. For our friends out there who may be only meeting you for the first time, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Cande: Hi Xiaolong! I’m so happy to visit you and the Pond today, thank you so much for having me. My name is Cande (duh), she/they pronouns please. I’m a Latinx book blogger, bookstagrammer and also booktuber, maybe? I talk a lot about middle grade books and romance novels. Yes, I love everything!! If a book has Latinx and/or queer rep, I’m already a fan.
Xiaolong: Queer people and their journeys, and how they ‘arrive’ at their queer identity, is diverse in itself, sometimes fluid, and their stories varied. What was your experience of coming into your queer identity like?
Cande: Oh I love this question so much, Xiaolong! Especially because thinking about my sexuality in Pride brings tears to my eyes. Three? I think three or four years ago I came out as bisexual, I felt the label fit me so well. But as time passed, I realized I identified as bi because it was easier for me than exploring how it didn’t work for me. Last year, coming out as pansexual, I felt a rushed of joy, because it felt so right. I knew that sexuality (and gender) is fluid and that we’re allowed to look for what’s comfortable for us as long as we need to, but it’s so scary! I’m so grateful for how kind and supportive the community has always been with my journey.
Xiaolong: There are a lot of discussions about acknowledging and exploring the intersections of identity – how one part of our identities may shape or influence our experiences of another part of our identities. What are the intersections of your identity and how have they shaped your relationship with being queer?
Cande: Well, I’m Latinx, Argentinian to be more exact, an immigrant and also diabetic. I’m the biracial daughter of my biracial father, my family has a history of learning how to survive through assimilation and racism, creating safe spaces and our own community. And I really think that has deeply impacted my relationship with my queerness: I have learned to resist in the small and also big ways, keeping strong with what feels right to me. Sometimes it’s hard navigating the spaces of my identity; the Latinx community has so much homophobia, and queer spaces have so much racism and xenophobia. I’m going to be honest, Xiaolong, sometimes it’s exhausting, but all my intersections make me me and I wouldn’t change that for anything.
Xiaolong: We hear very often that the media plays a huge role in shaping how people view themselves and have sometimes helped people come out as well. How has media shaped your experience – and what was the media (whether it be a book, movie, or TV series) that made you realise that you may be queer?
Cande: When I read Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova and Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore, that I realized that I could be queer and Latinx. Definitely also watching One Day At A Time with this young lesbian, Latinx girl, who reminded me so much of young me.
Xiaolong: What is some media that you would like to see more of? What identities or experiences would you like to see represented and portrayed?
Cande: I would love to see more pansexual rep in Latinx books! But also the intersection of being Latinx, disabled AND queer. I would love to see more reluctant allies to lovers in any Latinx book, pretty please. And please, give more queer Latinx folks in high fantasy.
Xiaolong: You’re a Latinx book blogger – one that I really respect and I love all the work that you do! For readers out there who are looking to diversify their reading, what are some really great queer Latinx books that you would highly recommend?
Cande: Oh, Xiaolong, you’re too kind, thank you! Anna-Marie McLemore is a must read! I have loved every single book that I have read by them, they truly have a way with words. If you want a magical, lyrical book with complex Latinx girls, Anna-Marie is your author. Also, my babies Dani and Carmen, of course, from We Set the Dark On Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia. A sapphic, Latinx rivals to lovers of your dreams (or my dreams, maybe). For some adult romance, I highly recommended Adriana Herrera and her Dreamers series. Adriana really knows how to handle difficult themes and giving queer, Latinx folks the happy endings we deserve.
Xiaolong: If you could get everyone to read one book, what would it be?
Cande: Hardest question ever! I think I’m going to go with We Set the Dark On Fire by Thelor Kay Mejia. Not only this book has my favorite trope of rivals to lovers, but it’s such a powerful story of revolution, resistance and immigration. The story tackles classicism and patriarchy in the Latinx community, with politics and some wonderful sapphic yearning. Yes, this is an incredible book for everyone, but it’s also so unapologetic Latinx that makes me cry. If there’s one book I want everyone to read, it’s this wonderful sapphic masterpiece. Thank you for coming to my tedtalks.
About the Book Blogger
Cande is a Latinx, queer book blogger and bookstagrammer. You can always find her reading too many books at the same time, taking selfies to add to her meme collection and reorganizing her shelves for the 14954th time. Cande loves reading romance novels, gut-punching middle-grade books and all the YA fantasy. She’s also one of the cohosts of Latinx Book Club, a book club dedicated to boost YA and MG books by Latinx authors. If a story is Latinx and/or queer, Cande is already a fan.
I hope you all loved reading Cande’s interview answers as much as I did! I had so much fun having them, and it was such an honour and delight to have them visit the Pond for Pride Month. Thank you, Cande!
Don’t forget to visit Cande’s blog, Latinx Magic, and to also check out Latinx Book Club!