BY DEANN LUBELL
Photo Credit: Zyra Raguro
Looking to go on a vicarious adventure? Historical Fiction writer Eliana Tobias will take you on a thrilling historic to modern age saga journey through turbulent Latin American Countries with three unlikely companions seeking the truth and redemption of governmental injustices of the past and present.
I met Eliana last month at the Palm Springs Writers Guild Annual Book Expo. We were seatmates at a table for two displaying our historical novels. There was an immediate connection. I was fascinated by her background and storytelling abilities. This writer is the real deal.
Eliana was born in Santiago, Chile, to immigrant parents who escaped the Holocaust. She graduated from the University of Chile and later completed graduate degrees in the US and Canada. After working in the field of education in various capacities including teaching at the National University in Trujillo, Peru, she discovered her love of writing. Her personal experiences of political turmoil – listening to stories of the Holocaust when Jewish communities in Europe were shattered, losing family in Chile under military dictatorship, and living in Peru during a time of intense civil conflict, fueled her passions to write about the ways people caught in devastation find ways to rebuild their lives.
Her first novel In The Belly of the Horse received an award from the International Latino Book Awards in 2018 and was nominated for the Latino Book Into Movies Award. When We Return, published in May of 2022, has received awards of excellence from the Historical Fiction Company, Readers View, The Literary Titan and a gold award from Global Book Awards – given to authors with global appeal in the publishing industry.
When We Return follows two people healing from historical trauma struggling to find the courage to rebuild their lives and open to love and companionship. What inspired Eliana to write the story?
“I lived in Peru for several years during a time of turmoil, when most of the disturbances were taking place in remote locations and reported in most ambiguous ways. People wondered whether the perpetrators were members of the Shining Path guerilla movement or government armed forces. Years later, I discovered that thousands of people had disappeared, and thousands had been forced to flee. Then I began to wonder – how was the country confronting the violent events of the past? How were people recovering from traumatic experiences? How did people remake their lives? I’m inspired by a need to educate and share with others the ‘refugee experience’ and try to understand what it means to be forced to leave a country to escape war and persecution.”
Research informed her that countries after World War II were stepping up to finding truth and justice for those who suffered human rights violations. What shape did reparations take? The stories told in the novel are rooted in facts, to allow readers to obtain a real-world point of reference. Many are drawn from happenings within her family, others from those reported in the news.
Eliana will be a Palm Springs Writers Guild guest lecturer on May 6, 2023 at The Mizell Center in Palm Springs from 12:30 to 2:30. The topic for her insider workshop is Tasting Life Twice: The Key to Historical Fiction. For ticket information go to https://palmspringswritersguild.wildapricot.org or contact Eduardo Santiago at email@example.com. For more information about Eliana Tobias go to her website at https://elianatobias.com