When her parents fell in love, her mother's parents did not want her to marry a white man. So, they eloped and ran an orphanage in Mexico for children who had been abused or neglected.
It wasn't an easy life. While growing up, Cook-Garcia recalls that she was sometimes hungry and did not have adequate clothing. She made shoes for herself from pieces of cow skin and tire.
After graduating from high school, she was recruited to play basketball for the Mexican National Team. While playing football with her brothers, she broke her collarbone and that dream was shattered.
Four months later on a bus trip to the United States, a coach from the University of Charleston happened to see her playing a casual game of basketball and recruited her to play for UC on a scholarship.
Hurdles ranged from learning to speak English to financial hardships. At one point, she was living out of her car. In 2002, she earned a degree in interior design and began working in that field. In 2004, she entered a salsa contest at Capitol Market and won by unanimous vote.
She launched her salsa business and by 2007 was making enough money to run it full time.
She now works with 16 employees and a business partner, Rebecca Warnick. The business now has 22 products with four more coming out soon.
She will hold a book launch dinner gala from 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday in the Marriott Ballroom in downtown Charleston. A fee of $75 includes dinner, drinks and a signed copy of her book. For reservations, go to Mindfulsuccessbook.com/rsvp or call 304-550-5460.
"Mindful Success" is available on Kindle or Amazon for a release price of $24.99. It will be available in bookstores in coming months.
Contact writer Charlotte Ferrell Smith at charlo...@dailymail.com or 304-348-1246.