The Secret Side of Empty by Maria Andreu + $250 Amazon Gift Card AND a Kindle Fire Giveaway

mariaAuthor Maria Andreu

Maria’s writing has appeared in Newsweek, The Washington Post and the Star Ledger. ?Her debut novel, The Secret Side of Empty, is the story of an “illegal” high school senior. ?It was inspired by Maria’s own experiences as an undocumented teen. ?Since becoming a citizen, Maria has run her own business and has become a soccer mom. She lives with her 13-year-old daughter and 12-year-old son in northern New Jersey.

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If you were stranded on a desert island what 3 things would you want with you?

A loaded Kindle and plenty of tea (with lemon and stevia).? I guess my kids don’t count as “things?”? But I really hope they’d be there with me.? (But only if we get rescued in time for them to get back to school).


If you could have any superpower what would you choose?

I once heard this story about someone who could stop time for everyone else but himself.? I love the thought of that, just walking around the still, quiet world.? That probably comes from too many days in crazy, hectic days in midtown Manhattan.


What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?

Haagen Dazs Dulce de Leche.? I ate that so much while I was pregnant with my daughter that I swore she’d come out with a Haagen Dazs logo on her forehead.? Thankfully not.


If you could meet one person who has died who would you choose?

Isaac Asimov.? I always had this feeling that I would meet him.? I was crushed when he died.? I love his books.


Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book.

The Secret Side of Empty has a love story, adventure and dire danger… what’s not to love?? ??


Any other books in the works? Goals for future projects?

I am halfway through both a second YA novel and a memoir.? I also have a couple of ideas that are more “cinematic” so I’m excited to see how those develop.


If you could jump in to a book and live in that world, which would it be?
Harry Potter, hands down.? Hogwarts in the first book.? Not when things start to get hairy.? Just when they’re learning spells and sneaking out at night.? Fun stuff like that.


What was your favorite book when you were a child/teen?
I had many books I loved since books were a solace for me.? I remember being particularly impacted by Judy Blume’s Tiger Eyes. She was so alone and so pissed off at the world.? Being undocumented and feeling so marginalized, I really related to that character.? And of course, Blume’s Forever.? Really anything Judy Blume.? Genius.


What’s one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors?

The only thing that says whether you’re a “real writer” is your decision that you are.? Keep writing no matter what.


If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?

Right in the spot I live right now.? I adore my little house and my beautiful area of New Jersey.


What is your favorite Quote?

“The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice.”? The Rev. Martin Luther King.? I love the thought that we may live in a world with injustice but it’s getting better all the time.


When you were little, what did you want to be when you “grew up”?

I have this wonderful diary entry from when I was 12 or 13.? It says “most of all, I want to be a writer.”? Going back to that kept me going during times I was afraid I’d never get published.? It was like it was meant to be.


How did you celebrate the sale of your first book?

My mom and brother came over and surprised me with a bottle of champagne.? That was the best.? Also, when I got my “yes, we’ll take you on as a client” letter a friend framed it for me.? It’s still in my living room.? I love remembering that feeling of accomplishment and sheer joy.


What is your guilty pleasure?

Reality TV.? It’s a problem.


Finish the sentence- one book I wish I had written is….

World War Z.? That’s talent.
Favorite quote from a movie?

“I’ve crossed oceans of time to find you.”? Bram Stoker’s Dracula.? I am a total sap.
If you could take over the world, would you?

That sounds like a tremendous management problem.


Something your readers would never guess about you
If you look at me, I look just like any suburban soccer mom you know.? But I was undocumented like M.T., the main character in my book.? I lived here “illegally” until I was 18 and became a citizen through an amnesty that was granted back then.? I drew inspiration from that experience to create M.T. and her world.


The Secret Side of Empty – Coming in 2014
It’s the story of a teen girl that is American in every way except for in one very important way: on paper. She was brought to the U.S. as a baby without proper documentation, so she’s “illegal.” As the end of the safe haven of her high school days draw near, she faces an uncertain future. Full of humor and frustration and love, The Secret Side of Empty speaks to the part in all of us that has felt excluded or has had a secret too scary to share. What M.T., the main character, finally discovers is the strength of the human spirit and the power that’s unleashed when you finally live the truth.




Maria is giving away two separate prizes on her tour, a $250 Amazon Gift Card AND a Kindle Fire.

For a chance to win the $250 Amazon gift card OR the Kindle Fire leave a comment on this blog post. Winners will be randomly selected (from all comments posted on all blog posts participating in The Secret Side of Empty pre-publication tour) on September 30th.



  1. AMAZING giveaway!


  2. Thanks for the giveaway!

  3. Michele McLain says

    Amazing! I would love to read this book.

  4. Great giveaway thanks!!!!!

  5. wow.. what a generous giveaway.. and the book looks like a great read!

  6. Great advice and information. Thanks for the giveaway too!

  7. Great interview and giveaway ??

  8. Enjoyed the interview — have often wished to be able to stop time for everyone but me ??

  9. awesonme – so generous ??

  10. Wow what an awesome giveaway! Thank you Maria for the chance to win!

    Would love to read this book! It’s sounds interesting, I’m adding it to my goodreads ??

  11. Enjoyed the interview and thanks for the amazing opportunity to win such a great prize!! And thanks for writing!!

  12. Amazing giveaway!!!

  13. stacey dempsey says

    Wow what a great prize it would be like santa came early THANKS

  14. I really enjoyed the interview. I especially loved the first question as I love to read as well and I always have a glass of ice tea. Love my books and ice tea! I don’t have any kids of my own but I do have 2 wonderful step-sons though. Thanks for the awesome giveaway!

  15. Thank you for the giveaway! Good luck everyone that has entered!

  16. OMgosh! We want the same Super Power! Ever since I saw “Out of This World” (80’s TV show) I have dreamed and hoped and wished for this super power!!! I would take so many naps!!!! And I promise to try really really hard not to go full on Robin Hood and steal from the rich and pay off all my friend’s and families mortgages!!

  17. Great interview. Thank you for the giveaway

  18. Great interview!

    Thanks for the giveaway!!!


  19. Emmanuelle Gaucher says

    Loved your interview Q&A!


  20. simonet hodges says

    Haagen Dazs is my favorite ice cream brand they make the best flavors! Awesome interview. Thanks for the giveaway!!!

  21. Would love to win! Great interview!

  22. Great interview and thanks for such an amazing giveaway!

  23. Thanks for the giveaway – love this for my husband. It sounds like a good book

  24. Rose Milligan says

    I think ice cream must be a snack that every pregnant loves to eat. I couldn’t get enough of chocolate ice cream. Thanks for having such a fabulous giveaway.


  25. Jenny Jensen says

    Awesome interview! I like her answer to the question about taking over the world. I’ll have to keep my eye out for this book! Sounds interesting. Thank you for the giveaway!

  26. I loved the interview and blurb. This book sounds interesting and so true about the truth once the secret is revealed. Thanks for the chance at a wonderful giveaway. Koala571 at msn dot com

  27. Barbara Thompson says

    Loved your interview. Your book sounds fantastic. Please enter me in your giveaway.

  28. Thank you so much for the opportunity

  29. Wow! Great post! Thanks for it!

  30. Wonderful post , and thanks for the giveaway. Deb P

  31. Judy Blume was also one of my favorite childhood authors ??

  32. Anita Yancey says

    I really enjoyed the interview. Thanks for having this wonderful giveaway.

  33. Thank you for the great giveaway!

  34. Thanks! Sounds like a great book!

  35. Great interview! As a teen, I read EVERYTHING by Judy Blume! I loved Tiger’s Eyes too although Deenie was my favorite as well as Forever, of course! ??

    books4me67 at ymail dot com

  36. Leslie Rodriguez says


  37. TV is the ultimate guilty pleasure time-suck, isn’t it? (Reailty or otherwise!)

  38. I almost laugh hard when you said your guilty pleasure is Reality TV. And loved the idea of framing the YES letter. Congrats!
    Thank you so much for the giveaway. ??

  39. Cheryl Larson says

    What an exciting giveaway! Congratulations on your first book. It sounds very interesting. I can’t imagine what it must have been like for you to live undocumented. I love to see how you have overcome it and thrive in the US today.


  40. Congratulations on the publication of The Secret Side of Empty! It sounds like a fascinating book. Great interview. Thanks for sharing and thanks for the fantastic giveaway.

  41. Loved that her favorite ice cream is Haagen Dazs Dulce de Leche (and the reason behind it)! And I totally agree with going to Hogwarts if given the chance – but only if I went as a wizard – it’d just be giant tease to go there as a muggle. Great interview, loved the questions and her answers – the one about taking over the world being a huge management problem had me laughing out loud! Wishing Maria Andreu the best of luck on the Secret Side of Empty and the second YA novel she’s currently working on ??
    Thanks for the chance to win this amazing giveaway!

  42. I can’t see myself at Hogwarts but I’d love to send my son who is a fan. Thank you for the chance to win something really really amazing.

  43. I’d like to hear what she has to say on the subject of being undocumented in this country.

  44. Nice interview and thank you for the great giveaway!


  46. Sounds like an interesting book. I’m going to add it to my TBR shelf on Goodreads.

  47. Great post and giveaway! Thanks for the chance to win!

  48. omg this giveaway is amazing! thanks so much for chance to win it! the book sound interesting, looking forward to raeding it ??

  49. Great interview! Such an interesting personality!
    Thanks for the chance)

  50. I really enjoyed the interview and getting to know the author a bit better. Thank you for the amazing giveaway!

  51. Great and interesting interview!

  52. Thanks for the fantastic interview & giveaway!

  53. WOW!! Thanks for the goveaway!! I hope it is international

  54. thanks, great giveway!

  55. thanks for a great giveaway

  56. awesome giveaway and i loved the interview ?? never been to US but i watch when i have time some New Jersey girls reality show and it’s cracking me up ?? wish you all the luck ??

    i would love to enter to this giveaway ?? totally_only_me@hotmail.com

  57. Thank you for the chance to enter this wonderful giveaway. I would like to wish good luck to all the entries and to the author, Maria Andreu – May you have great success with your book and I hope it helps many in similar situations – a belated welcome to the USA to you!

  58. Loved the Interview. What country is the author originally from if she was an illegal for a while? I don’t know if I missed that somewhere in the interview. I was curious. The book sounds great…thanks for the interview and post, always a great way to find new reads. Congrats to the Author and thanks for the chance to win an amazing giveaway!

  59. Interesting interview. I think I might be the only person who hasn’t read a Judy Blume book, though.

  60. Wow, nice giveaway and sounds interesting!! ??

  61. Great interview! Thanks for the giveaway.

  62. Thanks for the chance to win!
    Sounds like a great read!!
    natasha_donohoo_8 at hotmail dot com

  63. lovely giveaway, although i’m from the uk and not sure if i’m eligible :/

  64. Great blog post and giveaway.

  65. Wow thanks so much for the giveaway! Can’t wait to hear more about the book! Illegal immigration seems like an interesting topic.

  66. forgot my email kamclauc AT gmail DOT com

  67. Such a great interview! Thank you for sharing and for the giveaway!

    Wanda Barefoot

  68. Nice interview

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

  69. Wendy Pogrant says

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  70. Thanks for this giveaway.I like this book and cover image!

  71. I want in on Harry’s world too! Up until Goblet of Fire only though, after that things got scarier on that side of the universe!

  72. Mary Preston says

    Pleased to meet you Maria.


  73. Thank you for the giveaway! *fingers crossed* ^_^

  74. Thanks for this amazing giveaway! *fingers crossed*

  75. Pat Lieberman says

    Thanks for the good interview and the fantastic giveaway.

  76. Pat Lieberman says

    my email is patoct@yahoo.com
    sorry I forgot.

  77. I’ve always dreamed of going to Hogwarts and learn spells, explore the castle, and just wear that awesome uniform with a cool wand!!! I have to agree with Ms Maria, I like Hogwarts sans the evil lurking around the campus.

  78. Reality Tv is my guilty pleasure too!

    Thanks for the chance to win!

  79. thanks for the great giveaway! – regnod(at)yahoo(d0t)com

  80. This looks great! Thanks for the giveaway!
    mestith at gmail dot com

  81. Thank you so much for the giveaway! It’s amazing and I hope to win ??

  82. Great interview. Thanks for sharing it and the awesome giveaway. evamillien at gmail dot com

  83. A similar thing happened to a friend of mine. She was born in Denmark and didn’t know until she was just about finished from high school that they didn’t exactly bring her into this country the legal way. I’m sure we’d both enjoy this book. Thanks for gthe giveaway!

  84. great giveaway! i want a kindle fire! Joined in all your giveaway but never won hope here i won.

  85. this has to be the biggest giveaway i have heard of thus far. SO FREAKING COOL.

  86. this is a great giveaway i hope i win , i really hope i win , omgggg ! thank you for this amazing opportunity.

  87. Your book sounds awesome! Thanks for the give-away.

  88. Fantastic giveaway!

  89. Thanks for the interview and giveaway!!!


  90. Thanks a lot for the interview and the awesome giveaway!!!

  91. Thanks for the interview, great Qs! ??


  92. Thanks for the interview!!

  93. wiil be happy if i won ??

  94. Thanks for the interview and giveaway!

  95. Thanks for the great interview and a great giveaway!
    krista_janelle 2 (AT) yahoo DOT com

  96. Isaac Asimov is also on my top 5 list of people I wish I could meet.

  97. The Secret Side of Empty will be an important read!

  98. This was a fun interview, I really like your favorite quote from a movie and I have to admit is one of my favorite too.

  99. Aline Tobing says

    Congrats for the upcoming release of The Secret Side of Empty, Maria ??
    Thanks for the awesome giveaway!

    savedbymercy (at) gmail (dot) com

  100. SOunds like a fascinating story

  101. Thank you for running the contest. I hope I win.

  102. Where is the winner posted? Can’t find it. Thanks

  103. Maria has great taste in ice cream – – Haagen Dazs Dulce de Leche <– My favorite tooo!