Viola Canales served as a field organizer for the United Farm Workers and an officer in the United States Army, where she was tactical director at a Brigade Fire Distribution Center that oversaw Patriot and Hawk missile systems in West Germany, and before this, a platoon leader at a Hawk missile battery. After graduating from Harvard Law School, she practiced law at O’Melveny and Myers (while also serving as a Civil Service Commissioner for the City of Los Angeles, to which she was appointed by Mayor Tom Bradley). She then headed up the westernmost region of the Small Business Administration under the Clinton Administration (where she oversaw $3 billion in guaranteed annual loans and traveled as far as Guam and American Samoa as part of her work). Her first novel, The Tequila Worm (Random House, 2005), was designated a Notable Book by the American Library Association, and won its Pura Belpré Medal for Narrative, as well as a PEN Center USA Award. El Gusano de Tequila—her Spanish translation of the novel—was awarded the 2014 International Latino Book Award for Translation. Her other work includes a book of short stories (Orange Candy Slices and Other Secret Tales), a bilingual book of poems (The Little Devil & The Rose / El Diabilito y La Rosa), and a second novel (Cecilia’s Magical Mission). She is currently working on a second book of stories.