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About the author

Author Highlights:
- Best Novel Award Winner - International Latino Book Awards
- Violet Crown Awards Fiction Finalist, Writers League of Texas
- Books Into Movies Award Winner - presented by Edward James Olmos
- USA Today Summer Reads Author
- LATINA Magazine "10 Hottest Summer Reads" Author
- Named #1 among "2011 Top Ten Latino Authors" by LatinoStories.com
- Listed among "Best Hispanic Writers of the 21st century" by ChaCha.com
- Ohioana Book Festival Featured Author

Cuban-born Raul Ramos y Sanchez grew up in Miami’s cultural kaleidoscope before becoming a long-time resident of the U.S. Midwest. After a successful career in advertising that included founding an ad agency with offices in Ohio and California, Ramos turned to more personally significant work. This began with developing a documentary for public television, Two Americas: The Legacy of our Hemisphere and also creating MyIimmigrationStory.com — an online forum for the U.S. immigrant community.

Ramos began his debut novel America Libre in 2004 with the input of scholars from Latin America, Spain, and the United States. The novel was released by by Grand Central Publishing (formerly Warner Books) July 29, 2009. House Divided, the sequel to America Libre was released January 28, 2011. Pancho Land, the final installment of the Class H Trilogy was released as a Kindle edition November 19, 2012 with a print and other digital editions to follow in 2013. Ramos' work as a novelist has garnered numerous awards and recognition.

The author and his work have been featured on television, radio and print publications across the country along with a host of online media sources. For more details, see IN THE MEDIA.

Bio Images Raul Ramos y Sanchez

In his own words...

“January” is the first English word I ever learned. I read it on the calendar thumbtacked to the wall of our apartment in the Bronx. Han-noo-a-ree, I pronounced it. That was in the winter of 1957. My mother had just divorced my father and moved us from Havana to New York City. My father was busy trying to overthrow Batista and my mother thought her prospects for raising a seven-year-old son looked much better sewing sequins on evening gowns in the midtown garment district than in a Cuban prison. Thanks, mamá. You made the right call.

Since mastering that first English word, the power and joy of words have become my life. I not only love words, I’ve made a living from them. First, composing them into pages as a graphic designer, and later arranging them into sentences as an advertising writer. After twenty-four years of creating the fiction commonly known as advertising, I decided to start telling my own stories.

America Libre is my first novel. The idea came when the producer I was working with on a public television film said, “You should write a book about this.” The film was a comparative study of the political and racial landscapes of the U.S. and Latin America. Despite the project’s impressive collection of international scholars, we were struggling to find funding. Inspired by the producer’s idea, I began to write while waiting for the foundations to respond. Soon, the characters came to life and took the story far beyond the original scope of the film. The longer the foundations took, the more I wrote. Several months later, I realized this work of fiction had expressed the message of the film in a much more compelling way. While editing my manuscript, I realized my original story would work best as three separate stories. So the America Libre trilogy was born. (By the way, I’m still waiting for the funding on the film.)

Reflecting on my past, it’s not surprising I would write about a rebellion. I saw one unfold firsthand between 1957 and 1961 in Cuba. Staying with my father during summer breaks from U.S. schooling, I experienced the life of an insurgent. My father and uncle ran contraband supplies to Castro using a used tire business as a cover. Perhaps most sobering was learning how fragile a government can be. Fulgencio Batista fled the island in 1959. Overnight, the police and military no longer had the might to maintain public order.

Castro’s sudden rise to power transformed Cuba. During the anti-American rallies Castro fomented, I heard my relatives shout hateful slogans about people I knew and loved in Miami. Castro was preparing Cuba for war and I saw how some leaders use hate, fear, and patriotism for their own ends. As an eleven-year-old I received military weapons training. That’s how desperate Castro’s war preparations were.

Thanks to my mother, I managed to escape. She returned to Cuba and with her father's help arranged a trip for us to visit relatives in Madrid. When our flight made a stop in Bermuda, we got off the plane. Eventually, we were able to return to the United States. We lost contact with our Cuban relatives for the next 50 years. These experiences were the wellspring for many of the characters and scenes of America Libre, the first part of a trilogy.

House Divided, the second book in the Class H Trilogy, features the same characters and setting as America Libre and begins the day after its predecessor ends.

Pancho Land concludes the Class H Trilogy as the Suarez family saga reaches a third generation and the ethnic conflict brings the entire world to the brink of war. The Pancho Land Kindle edition released November 19, 2012 with other digital versions and a print edition to follow in 2013.

While developing the Class H Trilogy, I've also written another novel with a completely different flavor.

The Skinny Years is the kind of story anyone well past their teens can understand. It’s about that unforgettable period when one changes from boy to man or girl to woman. Like me, I’m sure you can remember with an uncanny clarity the people, the places, the music, the laughter, the passion, and the pain of those few years that today seem to take up the entire first half of one’s life.

The Skinny Years is loosely based on the story of a real-life Cuban family from my childhood in Miami. Writing the story turned into a small drama all its own. While searching the Internet for names from my past, I reconnected with friends I had been out of touch with for over thirty years. That alone made the book worthwhile.

 

 
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