Book Signing: Claudia Meléndez Salinas – author of Fighting Chance

CoverSunday 20 December 2015, 3-5pm: Local author Claudia Meléndez Salinas will be in the store to sign copies of her novel A Fighting Chance.

In A Fighting Chance, journalist Claudia Meléndez Salinas has crafted a vivid novel for young adults about the challenges of contemporary urban life, falling in love and dealing with the consequences of one’s actions.

Dealing with Life’s Hooks, Blows and Jabs

Teens confront real-life issues in this debut YA novel

About A Fighting Chance:

Seventeen-year-old Miguel Angel spends every minute after school at the Packing Shed, working out with the Alisal Boxing Club. He dreams of becoming a champion so he can get his mother and five siblings out of their cramped one-bedroom apartment in one of Salinas’ poorest barrios.

But suddenly his life gets more complicated. The city is threatening to take the Packing Shed away from Coach, and without a place to train he won’t be able to avoid the gangbangers in his neighborhood. His childhood friend, Beto, has succumbed to the wiles of easy money and expensive cars, and Miguel Angel wonders if he’ll be able to resist his friend. Meanwhile, beautiful blonde Britney from Pebble Beach has entered his life, and Miguel Angel has never felt this way before. She too feels an overwhelming attraction, and she’s willing to defy her hard-nosed father, who expects her to date someone from their social background of exclusive country clubs and Ivy League schools.

When Beto turns to him for help, Miguel Angel is torn between his commitment to friends and Coach’s warnings about gang life. With gang violence getting closer and closer, he and Britney are suddenly faced with the consequences of unprotected sex. Can their love for each other survive all of the problems swirling around them?

About the author:

Writer Claudia Melendez
Writer Claudia Melendez in Monterey on Monday January 5, 2015. Photo

In 2004, officials in Salinas, Calif., decided to tackle a major budget shortfall by closing the city’s libraries, a decision that made international news. Salinas, the birthplace of beloved Nobel Prize winner John Steinbeck, would be the largest city west of the Mississippi without libraries. Much less publicized was the fact that the city would close its community centers, a big blow to the mostly young population in the agricultural city. Watching the adults scramble for solutions, journalist Claudia Meléndez Salinas thought, what about the children? A Fighting Chance, her first novel, was an attempt to bring the youth’s perspective into the picture.

Claudia is an award-winning multi-media journalist now working for the Monterey Herald, a daily newspaper in California’s Central Coast. In her nearly two decades of experience covering politics, education and immigration both in Mexico and the United States, Meléndez has always strived to have community voices take center stage in her stories.

Her journalistic work has been published in Mexico’s El Financiero and La Jornada and in the United States’ Latina and El Andar magazines and numerous newspapers. She holds a master’s in specialized journalism from the University of Southern California, and a bachelor’s in Latin American and Latino Studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Claudia acquired her passion for community journalism at El Andar, a bilingual publication founded by Cabrillo College students in the early 1990s that espoused a strong commitment to social change. It was at El Andar where she developed a love for stories that build community and effect change. An immigrant from Mexico, Claudia believes in the power of the written word, but her communication skills go beyond print stories. In recent years, she’s honed her skills as a blogger, a storyteller and video and sound producer. Claudia has also worked as an educator, teaching journalism for the University of California, Santa Cruz. With the Community Information Center, a non-profit she co-founded to inspire immigrant parents to become more involved with their children’s education, she aims to improve educational attainment in the Latino community. Her work has been recognized with awards from New California Media, the California Chicano News Media Association, the California Teachers Association, the Association of California School Administrators and the Education Writers Association. In 2008 she was awarded the Annenberg Fellowship from the University of Southern California, and she has also been a Justice in Journalism fellow.

Claudia lives in California’s Central Coast region.

Visit her website here.

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