The Mango Bride

Oh, WOW! How exciting, Marivi has just stopped by for a quick visit with us and our readers……
Welcome Marivi!

Truth Well Told

People often ask if the events or  characters in my novel are drawn from real life. The short answer is, yes.  I’m constantly watching people, eavesdropping on conversations in cafés or on the street, listening to NPR for anything that might be useful one day in a story.  You might say that writing has made me hyper-aware — why make things up, when you can borrow them from real life, from actual people?

That Dingdong Hello buzzer in the novel’s prologue? I discovered my mother using it  in Manila several years ago, around the time I began  working on The Mango Bride. Before that, she used a buzzer embedded in the floor underneath the head of the table in the formal dining  room.  At dinner parties, my mother would tap on the floor button to  ring a bell in the kitchen. The kitchen’s door was closed, so none of the guests heard the chimes,  but like magic, a maid would emerge from the kitchen to see what needed to be served or cleared away.  When we were kids, we played with that buzzer till it finally broke down.

Yaya Esther, who appears in the prologue as nanny to Señora Concha’s grandchildren is also based on a real person.  Esther cared for me and my three siblings, enforcing afternoon siesta and keeping order in the house until my mother’s diplomat sister lured her away to care for my young cousins in Switzerland.  It’s been decades since she last worked for my family, but Esther still remembers all our birthdays and flew home to attend every one of our weddings.

Naming characters after my friends is a practice I began long before my first book was published:  While working as a copywriter in a large ad agency I  sometimes composed little narrative poems and named the protagonists after my friends, giving them the stories as cheap and cheerful presents.  In like manner,The Mango Bride is populated by friends and relatives  who make cameo appearances as  broadcast journalists, doctors, socialites, diplomats and World War II veterans. 

On very rare occasions,  I can insert real people acting as they do in real life.  This happened with Thoth and Lila Angelique, the singing/violin-playing duo that comprise Tribal Baroque.  I’d been wandering around Balboa Park, looking for a free bench on which to write when the most ethereally beautiful melodies drew me to a hallway at the Casa Del Prado.  I ended up sitting on stone steps trying to capture Tribal Baroque’s amazing performance in words. 

Years later, I bumped into them again and explained that I’d written them into a scene in my novel.  I  subsequently invited them the San Diego book  launch party: they not only showed up in full costume, but  actually performed a song!

The city of Manila plays a large part in The Mango Bride, for it encompasses what my immigrant characters think of as “home.” Because of this, I took extra pains to describe it as vividly as possible, to help non-Filipino readers understand what my characters were giving up when they moved to America.

I grew up in Manila, studied and taught at the University of the Philippines, Diliman, so creating the setting for the chapters that take place there entailed little more than pulling up memories of the classrooms, acacia trees and  the Christmas Lantern Parade. The Hotel Intercontinental was less familiar, but friends in Manila  helped by emailing photos and detailed descriptions of the hotel. Likewise, even though I’d lived eight years in Oakland, I still needed to refresh my memory by looking at  certain locations in the Bay Area via Googlemaps.

Last of all, there is one anecdote that I hung on to for nearly a decade.  It came in the form of an email forwarded to me by a friend in Manila and it was the hilarious account of a circus elephant’s escape from the Araneta Coliseum.  The elephant somehow broke away from his trainer, stepped through the loading dock  and wandered down a major city thoroughfare.  I laughed so hard over that story that I saved the email message, knowing it would come in useful one day. It now forms a major part of the chapter 20, “Elephant in the Room.”


About the Author

Like her main character, Marivi Soliven moved from the Philippines to California, where she now lives and works as an interpreter. Several of her short stories and essays from her 16 books have appeared in anthologies and she taught creative writing at the University of the Philippines, Diliman, the Ayala Museum and the University of California at San Diego. This is her first novel.

Visit her online at: Marivisoliven.blogspot.com,www.facebook.com/marivisolivenblanco, and twitter.com/marivisoliven


The Mango BrideThe Mango Bride

Marivi Soliven – Author

Paperback $15.00
ISBN 9780451239846 | 368 pages | 30 Apr 2013 | NAL | 8.26 x 5.23in | 18 – AND UP
Additional Formats:





Two women, two cultures, and the fight to find a new life in America, despite the secrets of the past…
Banished by her wealthy Filipino family in Manila, Amparo Guerrero travels to Oakland, California, to forge a new life.  Although her mother labels her life in exile a diminished one, Amparo believes her struggles are a small price to pay for freedom.
Like Amparo, Beverly Obejas—an impoverished Filipina waitress—forsakes Manila and comes to Oakland as a mail-order bride in search of a better life. Yet even in the land of plenty, Beverly fails to find the happiness and prosperity she envisioned.

As Amparo works to build the immigrant’s dream, she becomes entangled in the chaos of Beverly’s immigrant nightmare. Their unexpected collision forces them both to make terrible choices and confront a life-changing secret, but through it all they hold fast to family, in all its enduring and surprising transformations.









Genre: Women’s Fiction

Source: Received for an honest review from the publisher.


THE MANGO BRIDE by Marivi Soliven is an interesting debut novel in Women’s Fiction. Two women two cultures and their struggles to fit into American life. Told between the two main characters,Amparo Guerrero,a banished Filipino  and Beverly Obejas,a mail-order bride. With a murdered child,secrets,culture difference,betrayal,an unwanted pregnancy,a mail order bride,exile,immigration and a bit of romance, you can’t go wrong with “The Mango Bride”. A very complex story ranging from the Philippines to California, all is not what it seems in “The Mango Bride”. An enduring story,the storytelling was very in depth,the characters fascinating as well as engaging. Ms. Soliven is a great storyteller in the making. An author to watch for in the future. If you enjoy learning more on culture difference, immigration and all that entails you will enjoy “The Mango Bride”. Received for an honest review from the publisher.



REVIEWED BY: AprilR,Review courtesy of My Book Addiction and More




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Ann GimpelAbout the Author:

Ann Gimpel is a clinical psychologist, with a Jungian bent. Avocations include mountaineering, skiing, wilderness photography and, of course, writing. A lifelong aficionado of the unusual, she began writing speculative fiction a few years ago. Since then her short fiction has appeared in a number of webzines and anthologies. Several paranormal romance novellas are available in e-format. Three novels, Psyche’s Prophecy, Psyche’s Search, and Psyche’s Promise are small press publications available in e-format and paperback. Look for two more urban fantasy novels coming this summer and fall: Fortune’s Scion and Earth’s Requiem.

A husband, grown children, grandchildren and three wolf hybrids round out her family.

Her latest books are Magic’s Daughter & Dancing in the Flame.

Visit her website at www.anngimpel.com

Connect with Ann:








Magic's DaughterTitle of Book: MAGIC’S DAUGHTER

Genre: Spicy Paranormal Romance

Author: Ann Gimpel

Website: www.AnnGimpel.com

Publisher: Liquid Silver Books



Destined to be surrounded by magic yet have none of her own, Cassie walks a thin line between love and danger. Her mother is dying and her boyfriend has turned into something which terrifies her. By the time she wakes up to the danger she’s in, it’s nearly too late.

Cassie’s friend Jeremy warns her about her scumbag boyfriend, but she’s not listening. Deeply disturbing events unfold. Her life hangs in the balance. With few choices left, she and Jeremy join forces to battle the darkness threatening them. Meanwhile, Cassie warms to Jeremy in ways she never could have anticipated. Love was there all along if she’d just opened her eyes and looked.




Dancing in the FlameTitle of Book: DANCING IN THE FLAME

Genre: Spicy Paranormal Romance

Author: Ann Gimpel

Website: www.AnnGimpel.com

Publisher: Liquid Silver Books


Life in a were bordello is all Keira has ever known. Because of her mixed blood, none of the magicians’ guilds want her, or protested when the Weres bound her as an indentured hooker. Mired in the hopelessness of her dreams, Keira longs for more.

Barrett, one of the Daoine Sidhe, runs a magician supply shop in what’s left of Seattle. No one is more surprised than he when the Sidhe leader commands him to extricate Keira from the weres.

Magic and intrigue throw Keira and Barrett into one another’s arms. Convinced they have a job to do, they struggle against the heat of the passion between them. Until it gets way too hot to handle.



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MBA&M: Please give our readers some insight into the life and mind of Stella Cameron?
Born in England but more glad to be American than I can explain, this country means so much to me and I have never regretted the decision to make my home here.
Married to Jerry with three children, two biological and one adopted, and five grandchildren, one dog and one cat (at the moment!).  My family and friends are the glue that keep me together.  Writing is like breathing to me, I need to write.  I need to tell the stories that crowd my mind, sometimes to the annoyance of my poor family.  Conversations with Stella can turn out to be pretty one-sided…
But I love parties.  Parties are the best story fodder there is–just look around, and listen, and let your mind do it’s thing!
I’m passionate about justice, and simple kindness-don’t understand malice, and don’t tolerate nastiness.  We are all on a journey and part of our travels involve helping companions make the trip, too.
Animals should be given far more respect than they sometimes get.  I only wish I could have many more than is possible!
MBA&M: What do you feel is the allure of Paranormal Romance,shapeshifters in particular, with todays’ readers?
STELLA: Haven’t we moved into a grown up version of myths, legends, or just lovely fairytales?  And why wouldn’t we be fascinated by stories that take us away from a world that can be a bit grim?  Our paranormal heroes and heroines are often the good witches and warlocks of those early tales, with even more fantastic magic thrown in and the irresistible lure of enough strength to overcome evil.  Of course, love with a magnificent creature can’t be bad either, can it?

MBA&M: What was your inspiration in writing the “Chimney Rock” series?
STELLA: Whidbey is a beautiful island, mysterious, surrounded by clear waters that run over perfectly smooth stones and sandy beaches, and incredible forests where, naturally, amazing things happen.  For me Whidbey came together with the deep undersea activity that happens in the Pacific Northwest, to create the mystical source of power that makes the women of Chimney Rock so powerful, desirable–and in such danger.

MBA&M: In “Darkness Bred” we follow Elin who escaped to Whidbey Island, what made you decide to have her and werehound Sean Black connect? Was this a natural event or did you have to work to put them together in this story?
STELLA: We first saw Elin in the first book, Darkness Bound.  As shapeshifter cat and friend of Leigh, the heroine in that story, she became my natural choice for Darkness Bred, particularly since this slinky, sinuous cat, Skillywidden, was so enamored of Blue, the giant wolfhound who apparently belonged to Leigh’s love, Niles:)  Of course, in human form they are spectacular, just look at the cover of Darkness Bred to see Blue as he really is–that is our Sean.

MBA&M: “Darkness Bred” is the second in the “Chimney Rock” series,why this setting,why werehounds,and do you feel the reader should read “Darkness Bound” first, or can this series be read as stand alones?
STELLA: I’ve already explained the setting and would only add that I hope many of you will have a chance to see Whidbey for yourselves.  The books are complete and can stand alone, but (and I could be biased) I do think it’s fun, and the tension mounts even more, if they are read in order.

MBA&M: What was the most challenging part of writing “Darkness Bound”,and where do you find research on Paranormal events?
STELLA: I had already written The Court of Angels trilogy and my understanding of the paranormal was fairly wide.  Research should be my middle name.  Between my extensive library on the subject and my trust in the Internet (and my patience) I feel well grounded.  Some years ago I wrote a series called Mayfair Square.  These are historical books with a paranormal twist and that gave me an appetite originally.  Hm–still think I have a story or two in me from that series.

MBA&M: What is next in the “Chimney Rock” series, inquiring minds what to know? We will keep it a secret,I promise,although,some of us may not be able too*;) winking
STELLA: Ri-ight!  You obviously don’t believe in “have computer, will travel and talk.”  Right now I’m deep in a book called COLD, the first Alex Duggins Book set in England’s Cotswold Hills.  A very mysterious, very titillating story I shall soon finish.  As for Chimney Rock–does the name, Saul, sound familiar?  I don’t think I’ll say much more than that but when you have a chance, see if you can summon up a mental picture of Saul with  his black eyes and hair, his pale skin and the long, flowing coat he wears.  That’s where I’ll be going.

MBA&M: Now, Stella, please tell our readers where they may find you and where to purchase “Darkness Bred”?
STELLA: I hope your readers will come to see me at:

Thank you so much for such a tantalizing conversation. How could we not enjoy “Darkness Bred”!

Chimney Rock #2
Mass Market Paperback, 384 pp.
ISBN-10: 1455500143
ISBN-13: 978-1455500147
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing Forever
On Sale Date: June 2013 (05-28-13)
THE DARK SIDE OF THE MOONEver since shapeshifter Elin escaped to Whidbey Island, danger has stalked her every move. Her human traits, combined with her unique supernatural gifts, make her a prized being to be possessed . . . or destroyed. It is only the passionate attraction she shares with werehound Sean Black that gives her hope for her future—if she can elude the lethal predators who are hot on her scent.


Sean knows that Elin, with her delicate beauty and seductive powers, is his one perfect mate. The woman who can restore his humanity and make him stronger than ever. He’ll need that strength and more to protect her from those who wish to destroy him and everything he desires. For Sean carries a secret that binds him to an enemy from the past and to a darker, deadlier force—a malignant evil that is hunting the women of Whidbey Island . . .


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About Stella

Stella Cameron is the New York Times best selling author of the acclaimed Court of Angels Series, the Bayou Books and many others. There are fourteen million copies of her books in circulation worldwide. She is the recipient of the Pacific Northwest Achievement Award for distinguished professional achievement and for enhancing the stature of the Northwest Literary community. She lives in Washington State.




(Sponsored by the publisher)

Thanks to,Jessica,at Grand Central Publishing, we are offering 1 lucky commenter a print copy of “Darkness Bred” by Stella Cameron. Sorry,but this giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and NO P.O. Boxes,please. Giveaway will run from May 31 until June 8,2013.

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“My Thoughts” on “Darkness Bred” by Stella Cameron.


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