About the Author – Cecilia Velastegui – The Fabulous Fableist. ™
As a child in Ecuador, Cecilia spent vacations on her family’s banana plantations in the cloud forest region of Santa Domingo de los Tsáchilas. These idyllic vacations, running carelessly with cousins among an overabundant natural landscape, full of toucans, monkeys, and a few dangerous snakes, left indelible memories.
When Cecilia read of the 2013 discovery of the new mammal species, the olinguito from the Andean cloud forest of Ecuador, she could not sleep for days trying to recall that, if as a child, she had ever seen the olinguito as it nibbled on large figs at dusk. Her novelistic mind took over, and she sat down to write this poignant tale about Olinguito and Tomás.
The character of Tomás, the ancient teller of tall tales, is based on her family’s 150-year-old Galápagos tortoise. The tortoise was a constant fixture in her family’s life––beloved and yet ignored–– much like elderly great-grandparents everywhere. It witnessed much family happiness and sadness, and it was said that if the tortoise could speak, it would tell a truly incredible tale. The whereabouts and destiny of Cecilia’s ancient tortoise remain a mystery––which gnaws Cecilia to this very day. By writing Olinguito Speaks Up, Cecilia wanted to pay tribute to her Arcadian childhood vacations and to her native Ecuador. The message of Olinguito Speaks Up is: honor our elders and cherish our wildlife.
Cecilia’s debut novel for adults, Gathering the Indigo Maidens won the Mariposa Award, Traces of Bliss and Missing in Machu Picchu won First Place at the International Latino Book Awards in New York City during Book Expo America. Her fourth novel for adults, Parisian Promises, will be published in 2014.