Local novelist wants readers to learn about Rio de Janeiro

In two years the World Cup will take place in Rio de Janeiro and two years later the Olympic Summer Games. Before then, Cassia Martins wants people to know her city so she wrote a novel called Born in Rio.

“I really wanted to show the world what makes Rio such a special place,” Martins said.

She said the novel is a story of personal growth that develops in Rio. “I think a lot of it has a lot to do that I lived most of my adult life out of Rio,”she said. “I wanted to write an engaging story and take people through this journey of my main character, Rita.”

Rita is a banker in New York who leads a hectic lifestyle. She’s lived in the Big Apple for 15 years when suddenly something happens to her mother.

“She had an estranged relationship (with her mom),” Martins said. “She was drawn to come back to Florida.”

Cassia Martins is pictured in front of the famous landmark
statue in Rio de Janeiro.

Unfortunately the events don’t turn out well. When Rita finds a box of letters about her mother, what she learns takes her back to Rio.

In writing Born in Rio, Martins wanted to take people to Brazil and through its customs. Although she has lived most of her adult life in the U.S., she loves her native Brazil and wants her readers to love it as well.

“I really worked very hard in showing the soul of Brazil,” Martins said. “This was one of the main reasons why I wrote the story. I wanted people to see Brazil. The main character was born there but left. She sees Brazil through foreign eyes.”

Martins returned to Rio to write the book. She graduated from Boston University and has an MBA in marketing. When she was working on her application for Wharton School of Economics at Penn, she said it made her think about where she was and what she wanted out of life. “That’s when I first started thinking about the story,” Martins said. “When I graduated, I had the story shaped. Then it was a matter of taking the time to write it and I wrote it in nine months.” Her process was to write 700 words a day.

“I was very structured. Sometimes the words were not good, but still I did it. I learned to respect myself in terms of how far I can go and how I can respect myself.”

It wasn’t always easy. The days she had writer’s block were tough but she tried to relax and focus on something else.

“But when I least expected it, the words would come to me,” she said.

Once Born in Rio was completed, she began the process of self-publishing. She chose to use Amazon’s service Create Space because it allowed her to have control over her book.

“I really like the process,” Martins said. “It was able to be out to the public pretty fast after I created the book.”

Martins lives in south Miami-Dade. She came to the U.S. as a teen and her family stayed in the Miami area while she went off to get her degrees. She came back to South Florida for her family. These days, she works in finance and spends her spare time promoting her book.

In fact, a signing was scheduled for late September at Books and Books and she will be at the Miami Book Fair International on Nov. 18.

For more information, go to her website at www.borninrio.com

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