My career as an author grew out of my career as a journalist in my native Colombia.
In Colombia there is a culture of oral history where stories and family histories are passed down through the generations by Cuenteros (story tellers) and Vallenateros y joropos (story tellers and singers)
The oral passing down of family and community history both helped me as a journalist in the articles I wrote on economic, social and cultural topics but also helped me in authoring my first book which was an industrial history of Colombia.
Writing articles and an industrial history in a country such as Colombia requires very close contact and interaction with the very diverse groups which make up the local population and this contact and interaction helped develop my great interest in ordinary people and their personal histories.
Whilst living and working as a journalist in London I edited the community section of Noticias which provided advice and information to Latin Americans living and working in the UK.
Many of them told me how valuable my column was to them in helping them overcome the problems and difficulties they had encountered in trying to build new lives in a foreign land to which many of them had traveled as refugees and economic migrants.
I found their stories and personal histories to be intensely moving and obtained funding from the Lottery Fund to write my first book of 'Story Lives'.
This book entitled 'Latin Americans Living in England' was written in 2002 and consisted of approximately 25 personal stories of a diverse group of Latin Americans.
The early chapters of this book were devoted to the life stories of refugees whilst the latter chapters related to the life stories of different types of immigrants including second generation immigrants.
Following on from this my second book "20 years On: Life Stories", was commissioned by the Latin American Elderly Project (LAEP)
This written text of this book is supplemented by audio visual content which has been produced in CD -ROM format.
The final printed version of the book (including the CD-ROM) has been made accessible to members of LAEP as well as being placed on LAEP's website.
Here you are some examples of the story lives included in those books