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Fantasy Film Casting for 'Summer Camp Is Cancelled'

BY: DARLENE CAMPOS

 

Belita Moreno as Grandma Raquel

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As a kid, I grew up watching George Lopez. I loved Belita’s character, even though she was actually much meaner than Grandma Raquel. Belita was always a sassy, no-nonsense person in her portrayal of George’s mother. But, she was also very harsh at times, so if she were to play Grandma Raquel, she’d have to turn down her harshness just a smidge.


Javier Bardem as Father González

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Who else could play Father González BUT Javier Bardem? Javier usually plays a villain and why wouldn’t he? He can speak death using only his eyes and face. He scared the hell out of me when he played Anton Chigurh in No Country for Old Men. Javier is 100% perfect to play Lyndon’s strict priest and I know he’d do a marvelous job.


Ardal O’Hanlon as Father O’Brien

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In the 90s, Hat Trick Productions made the show Father Ted, a hilarious comedy based in a fictional part of Ireland. The show surrounds the daily life of a Catholic priest, Father Ted, and his co-father, Father Dougal, who was played by Ardal. Ardal’s character was goofy, kind, and gentle, just like Father O’Brien. Since Ardal has experience portraying a funny priest, he would adapt to Father O’Brien’s role very easily.


Horatio Sanz as Uncle Manny

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I remember seeing Horatio on Saturday Night Live back when I was in junior high and thinking he was the funniest cast member of the lineup. He’s extremely talented at doing impersonations and exaggerating his facial features to get a laugh from his audience. If anyone can do an awesome job playing the most annoying character in SCIC, it’s definitely him.


Eva Longoria as Mrs. Donna Pérez

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Not only is Eva Longoria an excellent actress, but she’s also a huge philanthropist for children’s causes. Because of her generous history, I know she’d play a great mom to Lyndon. Additionally, she is also a Texan and since Summer Camp is Cancelled is rich in both Mexican and Texan culture, she would know exactly what to do for her role.


Jaime Camil as Mr. Edgar Pérez

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Jaime Camil has been in both Mexican and American productions. He was the voice actor for Miguel’s father in Coco and he’s also been on Jane the Virgin as well as other comedy shows. His background in making people laugh is perfect for playing Edgar.


Last, but not least – who would play Lyndon Baines Juan Pérez?

This is a hard question because I really don’t know! Lyndon is such a sweet boy and he has strong beliefs in friendship and how others should be treated. Whoever plays his character should have similar personal beliefs.


You can pre-order Summer Camp Is Cancelled by clicking here.

 
Our Voces Features Darlene Campos For Hispanic Heritage Month
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Through October 15, Our Voces will be featuring posts for Hispanic Heritage Month by highlighting Latinx and Hispanic kid lit authors. This past week they interviewed Darlene Campos to get her thoughts on various things. In the article, Campos spoke on the first time she saw herself represented in literature.


‘The House on Mango Street’ by Sandra Cisneros! I read it for the first time when I was 13 years old and I could relate to the characters and the story line so well... For the first time ever in my school assigned readings, the main character was a Latina, just like me.
— Darlene Campos

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Campos also spoke on her first novel, Behind Mount Rushmore, her next project, Summer Camp Is Cancelled, and also, her hopeful future for Latinx books.


I want today’s Latinx kiddos to see themselves in main characters and be inspired to write their own stories to share with the world. I’d especially like to see graphic novels starring Latinx characters.
— Darlene Campos

You read the full article here. Campos will also be giving donating 100% of her royalties to ongoing hurricane relief through October 15.

122 Rejections For 'Behind Mount Rushmore' Tells A Story of Perseverance for Darlene Campos

BY: GH

 

Every time our authors do an interview, we learn something interesting about them. Posted today at Tuscon Tales, a children's and young adult literature publication showcasing new and established writers, Darlene Campos revealed that 'Behind Mount Rushmore' was rejected 122 times.


Sometimes I was up until 2 or 3 a.m. just sending out queries. Fortunately, I had publishing credits to show off in my query letter, but I still received 122 rejections for Behind Mount Rushmore.
— Darlene Campos

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But she continued to submit her book for publication and encourages other writers to do the same.


Writing is not easy and publishing a novel is definitely not any easier. There will be times when you feel like you’re not a good writer and you shouldn’t even try anymore, but this is not true! Rejection letters show you’re trying. Wear them like a badge of honor. Keep on writing and keep on querying even when you don’t feel the drive to keep on. Even when everyone you know tells you that you can’t, show them you can.
— Darlene Campos

She also recognized the importance of pushing diverse stories involving diverse characters, which was a main driver that led to publishing with Vital Narrative.


The press I’m with focuses on diverse books by diverse writers which was definitely a big help because we turned out to have the same goals: more diverse books for readers.
— Darlene Campos

Campos also gave insight on the research she completed for the book, her inspirations for characters and revealed some information about her next novel, Summer Camp Is Cancelled.

Read the entire interview here. Darlene is donating 100% of royalties to Hurricane Harvey Relief in her hometown of Houston this month. You can support here.

 

Darlene Campos Shares Dedication from 'Behind Mount Rushmore'

BY: DARLENE CAMPOS

 

To my great grandfather, Jose Alcides Martinez Tobar (1903-1994), who would wake up in the middle of the night to write and drive my great grandmother, America Isidora Villamar Naranjo de Martinez (1920-1988), crazy every time he did so. Thank you for passing on your talents and determination. Thank you, great grandmother America, for always being his inspiration and making his written works possible.

To my mother, Tammy Yasmin Martinez, who has supported my writing journey since the day it began. Thank you for all the home-cooked meals, the prayers, the ridiculous jokes, and your nonsensical quirks which have appeared in every single story I have written. My love for you is so deep, there will never be a tool long enough to measure it.

To my boyfriend, David Noé Alcalá, who lets me write without any interruptions or distractions. Thank you for always boosting my mood, your hugs and kisses, and all the surprise “I Love You” text messages. I cannot wait until you are officially my husband. You make me feel emotions I did not know I had. I might be a writer, but I could have never written the love story you show me every single day. I love you, teddy bear.

To my good friend, Javier Andres Pritchard, who read the first (and terrible) drafts of Behind Mount Rushmore. I am so lucky to have had you as a reader during my early writing days. You always told me one day I would have a book published and now, here it is. Thank you for your suggestions, your encouragement, and your open ears whenever I need a friend to talk to.  

To all the creative writing/English professors and classmates I had over the years – this book would not be possible without you. Special gratitude goes out to Jessica Paige Wilson, Anthea Ara Rafique, Bertram Allan Mullin, Carla Erizbett Arellano, Donna Dennis Muñoz, Guadalupe Garcia McCall, Bruce James Martin, Laurie Clements Lambeth, and Aaron Reynolds. Go Coogs! Picks Up, Miners!

To all of the wonderful English teachers I had in public school, but especially to Carol Thielemann, my second grade reading and writing teacher, Terri Cyphers, my sixth grade English teacher, Laurie Wilmoth, my seventh grade English teacher, and Carolyn Giannantonio, my ninth grade English teacher. I owe the strength of my writing skills to you. Thank you for being my foundation. A big shout out goes to Meadow Wood Elementary, Spring Forest Middle School, and Stratford High School!

To every literary journal that has published my work – thank you kindly for giving me the opportunity to share my words with your readers.

Last, but certainly not least, to Jennifer Snider-Batula. Thank you for your homemade cookies, the coupon booklets, and your wise insight on this adventure called life. You are the best co-worker and neighbor anyone could ever imagine. When Fred Rogers talked about good neighbors, he was talking about you.

The following stories were previously published in slightly different form:

  • “The Friend” was previously published by The Gap Toothed Madness
  • “The Dance” was previously published by RiverBabble
  • “The Funeral” was previously published by Word Riot
  • “The Cigarette” was previously published by Alfie Dog Limited
  • “The Burst” was previously published by Connotation Press
  • “The Crush” was previously published by Forever! Onward
  • “Lost Angeles” was previously published by The Aletheia
  • “The Fork” was the 2013 prose winner of Glass Mountain’s poetry and prose contest, previously published by The Writing Disorder and featured in Plain China’s Best Undergraduate Fiction Writing of 2013 anthology
  • “The Return” was previously published by Bartleby Snopes
  • “The Wedding” was previously published by Red Fez
  • “The Bullet” was previously published by Elohi Gadugi and was the winner of the 2013 Sylvan N. Karchmer Fiction Prize, awarded by the University of Houston
 
Fantasy Film Casting for 'Behind Mount Rushmore'

BY: DARLENE CAMPOS

 

Charlie Hill as Jay Eagle Thunderclap

Unfortunately, Mr. Hill passed away in 2013. He was a fantastic Native American stand-up comedian and actor. In fact, he appears in the Roseanne episode “The Last Thursday in November” as D.J. Conner’s teacher. He was also a guest on The Richard Pryor Show as well as The Tonight Show with both Johnny Carson and Jay Leno and Late Night with David Letterman. His humor definitely fits the bill for Jay Eagle’s character.


Irene Bedard as Josephine Thunderclap

Ms. Bedard was phenomenal in the movie Smoke Signals. There is a scene in the movie when she tells Victor the real story of a house fire his father was involved in. Her delivery is spot-on and most of all, her acting makes you feel like you’re in the movie with her. She is outstanding on the big screen! I can’t imagine anyone else playing Josephine other than Irene Bedard.


Graham Greene as Mr. Wayne Graywolf

I’m a huge fan of Graham Greene. He plays Mogie in the movie Skins which is based on the novel of the same name by Adrian C. Louis. If you’ve read Skins, it’s impossible to imagine another actor playing Mogie. He’s charming, funny, and can adapt easily to any role he’s given. If anyone should play Mr. Graywolf, it’s him.


Sacheen Littlefeather as Sequoia Red Cloud

If you’ve heard of Marlon Brando, chances are you’ve heard of the time he refused to accept an Academy Award for Best Actor in The Godfather. Brando sent Littlefeather in his place to decline the award as a form of protest for the unjust misrepresentation of Native Americans in the film and television industry. I admire Littlefeather for her bravery in speaking up. If you look up her speech on YouTube, she was met with some applause, but also a lot of booing. Despite this, she kept on speaking. While Sequoia might not be the most likeable character among people, she holds her beliefs true to her heart, no matter what anyone thinks. Littlefeather would be perfect for this role.


Geri Keams as Yolanda Running Bear

Keams is an incredible storyteller, though she has appeared on several television movies and shows. I love how engaging she is when she tells a story. You can find her telling stories on YouTube if you just search her name. Ms. Running Bear is known for being a quirky science teacher, so I believe Geri Keams would fit this role just right.


Gary Farmer as Ray Firebird

This role is a big role. Gary Farmer stars alongside with Graham Greene in Skins as Mogie’s friend, Weasel Tail, which is where I first discovered his acting. He’s been in Smoke Signals and Powwow Highway where he is just as mesmerizing. Ray Firebird is a major character in Behind Mount Rushmore and only a major guy can play him. Gary Farmer is that major guy!


Eric Schweig as Gray Mountain Thunderclap

Like with Graham Greene, I’m a big fan of Mr. Schweig. He usually plays a tough guy, but a tough guy with a big heart. He plays Graham Greene’s brother in Skins and he does a fantastic job at this role. He’s flawed, but honestly, he’s an excellent brother in this film. He’s best known for being Uncas in The Last of the Mohicans, but this movie does him no justice. He is seriously underrated in the industry. He’s a perfect match for Gray Mountain Thunderclap.


Michael Peña as John David Gutierrez

Who knows where Nimo would be without John David? This role requires an outspoken nature, strength, friendship, and most of all, a smart mouth. John David doesn’t hold back and for this reason, I’d pick Michael Peña to take on this role. Peña played Cesar Chavez in the film of the same name and he was Sal Castro in Walkout. In these roles, Peña gave his all to stand up for what he believed in and never backed down. Peña has just what it takes to be John David.


Elaine Miles as Mrs. Rebecca Graywolf

Elaine Miles is probably best known for her work in the television series, Northern Exposure. She also starred in Smoke Signals and Skins as well. However, I first stumbled upon her acting in the mini-series The Rez in which she plays Mad Etta in the second season. She’s hilarious and unique not only as an actress but as a person, too. Mrs. Graywolf is a role she could master right away.


Last, but not least – who would play Nimo Thunderclap?

This is kind of a funny story. About a year ago, I went to my favorite Chinese restaurant here in Houston with my boyfriend. After dinner, we needed to get a few things from the grocery store down the road from the restaurant. Once we were inside, I noticed a young man, an employee specifically, who was the EXACT description of Nimo. I mean exact as in if I could make Nimo come alive from the novel, he’d look exactly like that employee. For privacy purposes, I won’t tell you the employee’s name, but I did ask him for helping locating an item I needed. He spoke just like Nimo and had his gestures. If there’s ever a movie or TV series based on Behind Mount Rushmore, I want to find this employee and ask him he’d like another job!


You can pre-order Behind Mount Rushmore by clicking here.

 
Resource List for 'Behind Mount Rushmore'

BY: STAFF

 

Darlene Campos spent six years researching while writing Behind Mount Rushmore. Listed below is just some of the resources she used to develop characters, create settings and build her story.


There are many more books I read – this is just a list of the books I can think of from the top of my head. I feel like I read a small library for this one novel.
— Darlene Campos
 


You can pre-order Behind Mount Rushmore by clicking here.

 
Full Cover Revealed For 'Behind Mount Rushmore'

BY: STAFF

The much-anticipated cover art for Darlene Campos' debut novel, Behind Mount Rushmore, was revealed today on Twitter.

Here's a better view:

Behind Mount Rushmore follows the story of Nimo Thunderclap as he lives life on Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and will be available for pre-order on April 14.

Full Cover Release Date For 'Behind Mount Rushmore'

BY: STAFF

 

Earlier this month, we revealed a sneak preview of the cover for Behind Mount Rushmore when Darlene Campos dropped her Spotify playlist, which featured that infamous blue-and-white truck (if you haven't had a chance to check out her amazing playlist, be sure to listen below).

Tomorrow, March 31st, we will finally reveal the full cover for her debut novel which is set to release on May 19th. A description for the novel is posted below:


‘Behind Mount Rushmore’ is a story of survival, family, love and humor on Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Nimo Thunderclap is a young boy living there where life is tough, but wonderful. No matter what life throws at him, he can take it - or can he?
 

Pre-orders will begin on April 14th.

Darlene Campos Reveals Why She Included The Roseanne Theme On Her Spotify Playlist

BY: DARLENE CAMPOS

On Monday, we shared the playlist for Darlene Campos' Behind Mount Rushmore, featuring 21 songs inspired by the book. Those songs were selected by Darlene herself, and below, we feature the reasons she selected those songs.

 
 

Keith Secola – NDN Kars

This is one of my favorite rock songs. It pertains to the story of an “NDN Kar,” which is an old clunker that’s falling apart but it still runs. The lyrics and melody are so catchy – you’ll be singing this song in your head for days!
 

Keith Secola – Say Your Name

Unlike “NDN Kars,” this song has a much sadder tone to its lyrics and rhythm and the reason is because it’s about the history of Native American boarding schools. Years ago, it was legal (yes, legal!) to take Native children from their homes and families and put them in boarding schools. These boarding schools were meant to kill off Native culture by forbidding the children to speak their native language, practice their religion, and practice their traditions. This is an ode to those children and their descendants. As Secola says, “preserve our children.”
 

Robbie Robertson – Peyote Healing

Sung in Lakota by Verdell Primeaux and Johnny Mike and produced by Robbie Robertson, this is a healing song as its title states. The lyrics call out to “Ate,” which is the Lakota word for “Father.” In this instance, “Father” is God and the song asks for health restoration. I first heard this song in the movie Skins, based off the novel of the same name by Adrian C. Louis. As soon as I heard it, I was inspired to write more in ‘Behind Mount Rushmore.’
 

The Cody Blackbird Band – Tribal Blues

I’ve been following Cody Blackbird and his band for the last couple of years. Blackbird is Eastern Band Cherokee and Roma descent. He’s fairly young, too, I believe in his late 20s. He won Flutist of the Year in 2011 at the Native American Music Awards (NAMA). This is my favorite track by him – you can really feel his talent for flute playing in this song.
 

Robert Tree Cody – Lakota Love Song

Cody is the adopted son of the actor Iron Eyes Cody. He is of Dakota Sioux and Maricopa descent. When writing ‘Behind Mount Rushmore,’ I wanted to make sure I focused on love, especially the love between Nimo’s parents. Love is a feeling all of us human beings crave and I feel that this song, even though it has no words, captures the emotion of love for another.
 

Lakota Thunder – Looking For My Friend

Lakota Thunder is an awesome, Grammy-nominated band. This song is especially important because of the friendship Nimo shares with John David. If you listen closely to the song, you will hear the word “kola.” The Lakota word for a man’s friend is “kola,” but kola means more than just friend. As defined by Lakota language teacher Sam High Crane (his lectures are on YouTube and totally worth checking out if you want to learn some Lakota!), the word kola means a friend you would be willing to give your life for to save his. John David is undoubtedly Nimo’s kola and Nimo is John David’s kola in return.
 
 

Robert Tree Cody – Lakota Lullaby

Back when ‘Behind Mount Rushmore’ was its earliest drafts, the point of view was an omniscient narrator and Nimo was only a six-month-old baby. His parents sang him their own version of this soothing lullaby. However, once the drafts changed, Nimo began telling the story and surely, he wouldn’t remember his baby life. Even though this lullaby isn’t mentioned in the book, it remains as a huge musical influence for ‘Behind Mount Rushmore.’
 

Judas Priest – Breaking the Law

One of Jay Eagle Thunderclap’s favorite bands is Judas Priest. In “The Clash,” he is observed grilling turkey meat while blasting Judas Priest on his personal radio. I don’t know which song he was blasting, but it was probably this one.
 

David Bowie – Ziggy Stardust

This is one of my favorite David Bowie songs because it tells a story from beginning to end in just over three minutes. In “The Fork,” Nimo and John David head to Rapid City to see a David Bowie tribute band called The Mars Spiders, a name which is taken from this song specifically.
 

David Bowie – Let’s Dance

This tune is the tune which comes on at George’s in the second to final chapter of the book. Since the full details contain spoilers, I won’t say much about its importance.
 

Madonna – Into the Groove

Nimo’s a big Madonna fan, but John David is not – in fact, this is probably the only interest they don’t share. Madonna plays a major role in the one of the chapters, but again, this is a spoiler alert. My lips are sealed on this one as well.
 

Sonny and Cher – I Got You Babe

I was introduced to this song by a former professor during my freshman year of college. We watched the movie Groundhog Day in class which infamously uses this song about a billion times. As I created Jay Eagle and Josephine’s characters, this song was endlessly stuck in my head thanks to that professor! I feel this song describes their marriage down to a T. There are times when the Thunderclaps don’t have much, but they have each other and they’re not letting go.
 

Lakota Thunder – Lakota Hoksila

This is another great song by Lakota Thunder. Its title means “Lakota Boy” which applies to Nimo throughout the entire novel. He might grow up in the novel, but he remains a Lakota boy at the core of his heart.
 

Sacred Spirit – Yeha Noha

This song is a rendition of a traditional song from the Navajo Shoe Game. This specific version is sung by the Navajo elder Kee Chee Jake. Even though it is a Navajo song, I listened to this song many times while writing Behind Mount Rushmore to some creative sparks on. The full story of the Navajo Shoe Game is told on YouTube by the user DayBreakWarrior.
 

Will Peters – Memorial Song

Death is a process we all must go through. Nimo experiences the death of a relative and he laments the deaths of other relatives he never got to meet. This song is for those relatives.
 

Buddy Red Bow – South Dakota Lady

Josephine Thunderclap, Nimo’s mother, is definitely a South Dakota Lady. She’s strong, she’s loving, she’s hardworking, and most of all, she doesn’t put up with nonsense. If Jay Eagle was a real person, I can imagine him singing this song to his South Dakota lady.
 

'All in the Family' Theme

All in the Family is a show the Thunderclaps watch a lot because I watched it (actually, I watched the series) while forming the early chapters. This isn’t the original theme sung by Carroll O’Connor and Jean Stapleton, but it’ll do. In fact, when ‘Behind Mount Rushmore ‘was only a few chapters long, I visited Los Angeles for the first time and I had the opportunity to visit Carroll O’Connor’s grave while I was there. If it wasn’t for Carroll O’Connor’s Archie Bunker character, ‘Behind Mount Rushmore’ would not be the same.
 

'Roseanne' Theme

Roseanne is a show I grew up watching, but I never fully understood its weight until adulthood. It’s a pivotal show for its portrayal of the working class and their struggles with money, but it also shows their deep love and humor. Jay Eagle and Josephine Thunderclap’s marriage was greatly inspired by Dan and Roseanne Conner’s marriage.
 

The Magnetic Fields – The Book of Love

This song is dedicated to John David’s character. He’s a tough guy when it comes to showing emotions, but he falls in love, too.
 

Northern Cree – Thank God I’m an Indian Boy

While this song is sung by members of the Cree tribe, it certainly applies to Nimo. No matter what happens to him on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, he’s proud of his heritage and his ancestors.
 

Robbie Robertson – Cherokee Morning Song

This is another Robbie Robertson production sung by Rita Coolidge. Coolidge is one of the founding members of Walela, which means hummingbird in Cherokee. I’m NOT a morning person at all. If I could hit my alarm’s snooze button more than once, I would, but I can’t be late for work! This song somehow awakens me with its peaceful tones. It does not only awaken my body, but it also awakens my mind for some more writing.

Behind Mount Rushmore will be available everywhere books are sold on May 19.