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  • Writer's pictureVoraka Magazine



Article Published on: 15 July 2023 |

Daughter of the Boricua, finalist of the 2022 Reader’s Favorite Award and the 2022 Literary Titan Silver Award, is book two of the epic trilogy, Songs of the Boricua. This sweeping saga continues the story of the award-winning book, Song of the Boricua, and the lives of three generations of women.

Daughter of the Boricua by Author Olivia Castillo in voraka magazine
Daughter of the Boricua by Author Olivia Castillo

Liani; A Taíno beauty torn between the love of a handsome Spanish officer Estefan, and her Taíno roots, its traditions, and her family's continuous fear of its conquerors, the powerful United States of America. She is facing a new world order, the changing of the Spanish guard in early 20th century Puerto Rico. Can she overcome her fears to find true love?

Isabella; A direct descendant of Aztec princess Isabella Moctezuma and Hernán Cortés, is caught up in the Puerto Rican diaspora, living in the mainland United States and the resulting aftermath of the Puerto Rican migration to the mainland state and the racism they face. Isabella survives an abusive marriage to find true love, but can she overcome her past and trust another man?

Josie; Scarred from her parents' dysfunctional divorce, and her mother’s escape, Josie is torn between her clairvoyant powers and her desire to be an independent woman, choosing between tradition and 21st-century love. Josie struggles with letting go, learning to love again, and showing her children a fully realized woman, proud of her Puerto Rican heritage.

These three generations of women must also contend with a centuries-old curse spoken by Moctezuma as he lay dying, cursing the descendants of Cortés, unknowingly dooming his own progeny. Centuries later the curse is strengthened by an old witch, a Puerto Rican jabao, who double hexes Moctezuma's original curse on the future descendants of Hernán Cortés—that true love would continue to elude these women and affect the daughters of each generation. They continue to struggle against the curse while navigating old-world traditions and fears trying to survive their country's continuous limitations for women and race. Daughter of the Boricua also tells the story of Puerto Rico and the political problems she faced at the end of the 19th century and the Spanish-American War of 1898, to modern-day Puerto Rico. It continues to examine the continuing conflict between Puerto Rico’s struggle to have a voice while existing as a commonwealth of the United States. Daughter of the Boricua looks at the lives of these women and ask the questions: Are these women forever cursed? Is Puerto Rico an island doomed to exist in a gilded cage? Will love and the island triumph, or will their lives and Puerto Rico converge and end with the storm of the century?



Olivia Castillo is a New York City native. After going to the prestigious Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts, she went on to study graphic design at Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles. Olivia Castillo has always enjoyed writing, journaling, and writing poetry. As a child, she was introduced to literature by her mother who loved books. Learning to read at an early age, Olivia Castillo’s favorite authors as a teenager were F. Scott Fitzgerald, John Steinbeck, Leo Tolstoy, and the Brontë Sisters. Olivia Castillo attended an online UCLA writing course and when she completed it began to come up with the idea of writing her own book. She contemplated writing a Western before deciding to write a historical fiction book loosely based on her Puerto Rican roots. Olivia Castillo wanted to understand her own Puerto Rican heritage and to bring to light some of the problems Puerto Rico faced in the historical fiction genre. She hoped to bring awareness to the plight that Puerto Ricans faced in the 21st century, especially after the devastating effects of Hurricane Maria on the island. She began writing the first of the trilogy Songs of the Boricua ten years before she completed her first novel, Song of the Boricua. After publishing her book, she appeared on the award-winning Atlanta-based “Kelly Show” and the San Diego radio show hosted by Marcus Noel, “The Soul Suite.” Song of the Boricua won the Reader’s Favorite Bronze Medal for historical fiction in 2019. Olivia Castillo began writing her second novel, Daughter of the Boricua, in 2020 and completed it in 2022. She appeared in an extensive interview with “The Kelly Show.” Daughter of the Boricua won the 2022 Literary Titan Silver Award for historical fiction, along with placing as a finalist for the 2022 Reader’s Favorite Award for historical fiction. Along with being an entrepreneur, she is the mother of three children and grandmother of two. In between dedicating time to writing and enjoying precious moments with her family, Olivia Castillo indulges in globetrotting escapades, exploring diverse cultures, and painting captivating landscapes. Amidst her creative pursuits, she diligently crafts her third novel, "Heart of the Boricua," with aspirations to bring it to completion by the year 2024, weaving a compelling tale that will captivate readers' hearts.


How did growing up in New York City shape your passion for writing?

Growing up in vibrant, multicultural New York City, the sights, sounds, and diversity served as an artist's inspiration. Encouraged by creative parents, the environment ignited a desire to tell stories reflecting the experiences around and within me. Being a first-generation Puerto Rican and hearing my parents' tales of childhood and facing racism fueled a passion for writing about social injustice.

How has your background in graphic design influenced your storytelling style?

I studied advertising and graphic design, and what was very important was the presentation and packaging and seeing the details along with the big picture. How it translates for storytelling is in how I visualize the scene, see the story to the end, envision the characters, and how to get inside of them and their emotions. I try to make logical sense of certain actions that would be true to them.

To continue reading the full interview, click here to download the July 2023 issue.


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