Sunday, March 8, 2009

Interview with Barry, Raul Ramos y Sanchez's Goldfish

Hello, Pets and Humans,

Today I have the woof pleasure of introducing you to a very special goldfish...

Barry Goldfish is the pet of Raul Ramos y Sanchez, author of the novel AMERICA LIBRE coming from Grand Central Publishing in July 2009, and winner of the International Latino Book Award for Best Novel 2008.

Barry’s residence in the author’s household is a by-product of a dander allergy by Raul’s wife Kathy. Unable to live with any kind of furry companion, the couple adopted Barry after Kathy’s father found him at a garage sale. Barry’s bowl was on sale for a dollar. Barry was a free option.

OK, Barry. Pet to pet, give us the inside scoop on Raul. What’s it like to live with an author who writes novels about scary stuff like ethnic insurrections?

Just between us pets, Amigo, I’m going to let you in on a secret. I know I can trust you. After all, you have connections with the CIA. You see, I work for a secret government organization called F.I.S.H. -- Furtive Investigations of Subversive Hispanics. We’re keeping Raul under surveillance because he’s got all these humanitarian-one-world-type ideas. You know the kind. The guy actually believes everything in John Lennon’s song “Imagine.” You gotta keep an eye on people like that.

Now you’re probably wondering how I report to the humans at F.I.S.H, right? Well, the Department of Defense spent billions developing a fish-to-human speech interface that lets us communicate via fin wiggles. The DOD was working on a similar technology for dogs, but gave up after they found dogs are too darned loyal. No offense, Amigo, but you guys make lousy spies. Oh yeah, they tried cats, too. But forget about it. They’re way too headstrong to follow orders.

Well, I hate to break it to you, Barry, but you're not the only one with special powers. Among other things, I happen to have a microchip in my brain that allows me to read and write. How do you think I can blog? The other stuff, I'm afraid I can't tell you about, me being with the CIA and all. It's TOP SECRET. There's something I'm wondering about, though: How did F.I.S.H. manage to get Raul to adopt you?

F.I.S.H. had Raul and his family under surveillance for a while and we knew his father-in-law could not pass up a garage sale bargain. So when they put me and my bowl on sale for a buck near his house and offered to throw in a box of fish food, it was a cinch. To be on the safe side, though, our team did have a rescue plan in place in case they decided to flush me down the toilet and keep the bowl for flowers.

So what’s life like with Raul?

He’s supposed to be this great humanitarian, but heck, if it wasn’t for Kathy, I’d starve to death. Kathy is constantly telling him, “Raul, you need to feed Barry.” But does he listen? Man, I splash around and practically jump out of my bowl trying to get his attention. But the guy does not have a clue. He’s there at that laptop clicking away in some kind of trance.

He works really weird hours, too. I’ll be catching some shuteye, dreaming about being in a big

sunny pond, splashing around with lots of lady goldfish, and he wakes me up hours before dawn, tapping away at his laptop. I tell you, I’m on duty practically 24/7.

Have you read Raul’s books? I understand AMERICA LIBRE is pretty controversial.

Yeah, I have to read his books. It’s part of my job. Raul started the first book of a trilogy in 2004 with a novel called AMERICA LIBRE. I brought along a picture of the cover so can see what it looks like. Book two of the trilogy, EL NUEVO ALAMO, will be released by GCP in 2010. He’s developing the third book now, PANCHO LAND. So I have to work hard to keep up with him.

My biggest problem is staying alert for any subversive content. Oh, he’s clever, that one. He wraps his seditious messages in romantic triangles, lots of action and suspense. Before I know it, I’m turning pages to find out what happens next and I forget to look for the subversive material.

Anything else we should know about Raul?

He’s the also the host and editor of a website called that allegedly lets immigrants to the U.S. from all over the world tell their stories in their own words. We’re keeping an eye on that, too. It may be a forum for encouraging immigration reform and a lot of us at F.I.S.H. don’t want to see that happen.

Well, thanks very much Barry. Your interview was certainly revealing.

Sure, Amigo. Anytime. And, hey, if you run into any potentially subversive Hispanics in your neck of the woods, now you know who to call.

I sure do! Woof!


  1. I guess someone as intelligent and gifted as Raul would have to have a pet like Barry! However for a spy he sure talks a lot about what he does. I thought spies didn't tell their secrets. However he is lucky to read Raul's books before the rest of us do. I do envy him that. I know with Raul's sense of justice he will win over Barry and the fish will make good reports on Raul. Go Barry!
    Jo Ann Hernandez

  2. Mayra,
    You are so creative! I loved the interview and your great sense of humor. You and Raul have hit a grand slam! Please remember to FEED THE FISH! Ha!

  3. Rascal knows how Barry feels. She's constantly nudging my hand off the keyboard so she can get my attention.

    In defense, I do feed her in the morning and night and give her fresh water, and lots of treats,but she gets bored easily.

    Morgan Mandel

  4. Purrr! I'd like to meet Barry. He sounds delicious.


  5. You sure make an excellent point about dogs not making good spies, Barry. Hey, if F.I.S.H. ever folds, I know a retired F.B.I. agent who would love to talk to you.

    Do you think Raul is onto you? Maybe he's not really forgetting to feed you. Hmmm.....

  6. Great interview. I love that Barry is an operative for F.I.S.H.

    Barbara M. Hodges

  7. F.I.S.H. Who knew? I'll be sure to check out Raul's books to see for myself! LOL! Great job, guys.