Even best-selling authors can become star-struck. When Caridad Piñeiro first heard that Hallmark was interested in collaborating with her on a project, she began fangirling big-time.
“My agent asked me if I was interested,” Piñeiro said during an appearance on the Hallmarkies Podcast. “I said, ‘I’m really, really interested.’”
Piñeiro wrote the novel South Beach Love, released by Hallmark Publishing in May 2021. The book has been adapted into a film that will air Saturday, October 9 as part of the network’s Fall Harvest event.
While the story includes the typical features of any Hallmark movie — romance, family-friendly content, a happy ending — South Beach Love is a little bit different.
“Hallmark has done a great job of increasing their diversity,” said Piñeiro, a native of Cuba. “So I said, ‘Why not set the story in Miami?’”
Not only was the location a change from the typical snowy backdrop of many Hallmark movies, but it also ensured that Latino culture would be woven into the plot, she said.
Love and rivalry
In the story, two rival teenage girls are holding their quinceañeras the same weekend. One enlists the help of her uncle, Tony Sanchez, a local who made it big as a chef in New York City, to cater her event.
The other hires Sara Kelly, who is hoping to promote her family’s restaurant. Sara turns to her sister-in-law for help making traditional Cuban food.
The two chefs begin competing for a chance to be featured in a magazine, but they can’t deny their attraction to each other.
In the film, Tony is played by William Levy and Sara is played by Taylor Cole. Ariel Yasmine and Giselle Torres play the birthday girls.
Trying different things
During the Hallmarkies interview, Piñeiro talked about writing her first book in fifth grade. The teacher assigned everyone the task of putting together a 20-page book. Piñeiro’s came in at 120 pages, typed with help from her mother.
“I was hooked,” she said.
Piñeiro continued to write during college and law school, and during her commutes to New York City where she worked as an attorney for many years.
In 1999, she published the first in a series of Latino romance novels. She then turned her attention to the world of the paranormal, helping Silhouette launch its successful Nocturne line with the first of her vampire romance series The Calling.
After conquering those genres, she turned her attention to cultural experiences, launching the Chicas series of books, published by Simon & Schuster’s Downtown Press.
Piñeiro, who has sold more than a million copies of her books worldwide, said she has also written another piece for Hallmark, A Christmas story, which she is still waiting to hear about.
The author will be interacting with fans on social media both before and during the premiere of South Beach Love.
South Beach Love will premiere Saturday, October 9 on Hallmark Channel at 9/8c.