Valiente: Courage and Consequences

A.G. Castillo's picture

In Valiente: Courage and Consequences, Chente Jimenez is a popular high school athlete who bravely navigates his road to self-acceptance and boldly confronts homophobia in the locker room. His road to self-discovery is filled with the impulsive innocence of young love and the cruelty of social media gossip.

The novel explores the complexities a gay teenager faces when communicating to family and friends. Chente Jimenez’s daring journey provides the readers with an authentic glimpse of the distress that “coming out” can place on an individual while advocating for the importance of open communication and trust.

Valiente: Courage and Consequences is a coming-of-age tale of a high school athlete who must face a mirror of truth that shows him a reflection he must come to terms with before he can move forward in life.

Where did the idea for the book come from?

I have been an educator for over twenty-five years, and in the fall of 2017, I stepped away from public education for a year. I needed a break and I needed to refuel. I took some time to travel and relax.

As I transitioned into a new phase in my life, I came across a short story I had written in a Texas Tech University creative writing class 25 years earlier. The professor had graded my work and left the parting comment, “this would be a great first chapter to a novel”.

I stopped rummaging through drawers for a minute and quickly skimmed through the short story. I set it aside and continued with my winter cleaning.

Early the next morning, I sat down and took time to read the short story over breakfast and reviewed the feedback I was given. Throughout the day, my professor’s comments echoed in my mind – haunting and challenging me to finish what I had started so many years ago. That evening, I opened my laptop and began to outline The Valiente Series. Initially, the series was going to be a trilogy, but as I continued to create storylines and different characters it developed into a six-book series.

Over the next 18 months, I wrote almost every day and completed the first three books. Still, I was very hesitant to have anyone read them. The fear that what I had to say would not resonate with anyone was very real. However, after a little prodding, I allowed a few of my family members to read my work.

My family’s reaction to the series was encouraging. They connected with the stories and they loved the characters I had created. This inspired me to pursue publication.

Tell us a little bit about your writing process. Take us behind the scenes and tell us what you are hoping to accomplish with this book...

Since the release of Valiente: Courage and Consequences, I have been asked many times to explain the premise for the series. What are the books about? How are these books relevant? What are the takeaways?

Simply, I think it’s important to have a role model when growing up, someone to look up to, and someone who inspires. I think young people can thrive when they have an outstanding example to follow. So, when I began outlining the Valiente Series, I was certain I wanted my writing to include three things.

First, I wanted the books to represent the Latino culture through a strong familial setting. I wanted to write about the dynamics of a Latino family – a family who fights hard but loves harder.

I also wanted the series to highlight the different journeys individuals take as they learn to appreciate the reflection in the mirror and embrace their sexuality. I wanted to showcase the conflict and inner struggle some people encounter at different stages in their life - how the “coming out” process is personal and unique to every individual.

And most importantly, I wanted a confident and positive role model for all young people, a universal character that readers could champion. I envisioned a protagonist that would transcend the barriers of sexual orientation and stereotypes.

Tell us a little bit about your main character, Chente Jimenez...

As I began to create the character Chente Jimenez, it was very important that he be a real young man who had the ability to be vulnerable and brave at the same time. I wanted Chente to be a typical teenager with normal insecurities and who was driven by his fears. His intrinsic desire to live an authentic life and his need for unconditional love and acceptance turns out to be his greatest strength and also his biggest fear.

Chente Jimenez is a fictional character but he is also bits and pieces of my brothers, former students, and myself. Chente Jimenez is humble and bold. He is fearless and timid. He is intelligent and impulsive. He is diverse and universal. He is the boy next door, the athlete on the basketball court, or a member of your family.
Like most protagonists, Chente Jimenez is beautifully complicated.

Chente Jimenez is not perfect. He makes many impulsive mistakes, but his intentions are always honorable. My goal was to have the reading audience witness his evolution from a precarious teenager at the start of the series, to a confident young man at the end.

What do you want the reading audience to take from the book? What is the overall message?

Simply, that we need to have the courage to embrace the reflection in the mirror and celebrate our differences. That we all have something to offer and that we need to be proud of ourselves. It is my hope that the reading audience will also see the importance of having honest conversations with family and friends.

I am unable to write the ending to everyone’s narrative, however, I can tell you that letting go of the fear and trusting yourself enough to live your truth is never wrong. Never. Walking away from the shadows of doubt and letting the sun hit your face is medicine for your soul.


A.G. Castillo was born and raised in a small West Texas town. After graduating from Texas Tech University with a degree in English, A. G. Castillo began his career in public education serving as an English teacher, high school basketball coach, high school principal, and superintendent of schools. When not traveling the world, A. G. Castillo resides in South Texas with his partner, Tim, and their incorrigible dachshunds, Puppy and Penny.

He is the author of the Valiente Series:
Valiente: Courage and Consequences
Valiente: Tattoos and Temptations
Valiente: Flames and Fury
Valiente: Sins and Secrets

Find him online at:
Facebook: A.G. Castillo
Twitter: @andresgcastill1
Instagram: @anderscastillo1989