Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Q&A with Lily Iona MacKenzie

Born in Edmonton. Raised in Calgary. Currently living in the SF Bay Area. A high school dropout and a mother at 17, in my early years, I supported myself as a stock girl in the Hudson’s Bay Company, as a long distance operator for the former Alberta Government Telephones, and as a secretary (Bechtel Corp sponsored me into the States). I also was a cocktail waitress at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco; briefly broke into the male-dominated world of the docks as a longshoreman (and almost got my legs broken); founded and managed a homeless shelter in Marin County; co-created THE STORY SHOPPE, a weekly radio program for children that aired on KTIM in Marin County; and eventually earned two Master’s degrees (one in Creative writing and one in the Humanities). I’ve published reviews, interviews, short fiction, poetry, travel pieces, essays, and memoir in over 150 American and Canadian venues. Fling!, one of my novels, was published in July 2015 by Pen-L Publishing. Bone Songs, another novel, will be published in 2016. My poetry collection All This was published in 2011. You can learn more about me at my blog:

FLING: When ninety-year-old Bubbles receives a letter from Mexico City asking her to pick up her mother’s ashes, lost there seventy years earlier and only now surfacing, she hatches a plan. A woman with a mission, Bubbles convinces her hippie daughter Feather to accompany her on the quest. Both women have recently shed husbands and have a secondary agenda: they’d like a little action. And they get it.

Alternating narratives weave together Feather and Bubbles’ odyssey. The two women travel south from Canada to Mexico where Bubbles’ long-dead mother, grandmother, and grandfather turn up, enlivening the narrative with their hilarious antics.

In Mexico, where reality and magic co-exist, Feather gets a new sense of her mother, and Bubbles’ quest for her mother’s ashes—and a new man—increases her zest for life. Unlike most women her age, fun-loving Bubbles takes risks, believing she’s immortal. She doesn’t hold back in any way, eating heartily and lusting after strangers, exulting in her youthful spirit.

Readers will believe they’ve found the fountain of youth themselves in this character. At ninety, Bubbles comes into her own, coming to age, proving it’s never too late to fulfill one’s dreams.

1.     What inspired you to write Fling?

I think it began because I was curious about my mother’s mother, someone I had never met. My grandfather, a former Scottish schoolmaster, had immigrated to Calgary, Canada, hoping to find a better life there for himself and his family. Meanwhile, WWI broke out, and his wife and four kids couldn’t join him for seven years. When they did, my grandmother couldn’t adjust to the brutal winters or to her abusive husband. After being there a year, she moved out, refusing to put up with my grandpa’s meanness, and became a housekeeper for a wealthy family. The story is that her boss took her to Mexico with him. She never returned. I wanted to try and recreate what life might have been like for her once she left Canada, and that then brought in a number of other characters that inhabit the novel.


2.     Can you please describe the relationship between Bubbles and Feather?

As with many mothers and daughters, it’s a complex one. Abandonment is a theme that runs through all of the female characters’ lives in Fling! That sets up a dynamic of mistrust and recriminations. These things surface in the novel as each woman comes to a new understanding of her relationship with her mother.



3.     What was the hardest part about writing this book?

Finding the right voice. When I first started working on the novel, I wanted to write a lyrical narrative, but the characters refused to be portrayed in that way. They were feisty, zany, comical. So I had to adapt my approach to their stories by letting them show me the way. The results are what Lewis Buzbee, professor of creative writing in USF’s MFA program, calls the madcap journey of an aging mother and her adult daughter from cold Protestant Canada into the hallucinogenic heart of Mexico's magic, where the past literally comes to life.  Every page is a surprise…”


4.     What do you hope readers will gain from your book?

Deeper insight into the complexities of family dynamics. Every family is different, of course, but each one has secrets and buried stories. Bringing those things to the surface can be healing, just as they are in a good individual therapy or psychoanalysis. As Lionel Trilling has said, novels read us as much as we read them. So I would hope that readers of Fling! might come to some new understanding of themselves. Also, some characters in the book are searching for the fountain of youth, and my belief is that it exists in the imagination. Without a fertile one, we are already dead.



5.     What inspired you to be a writer?

I don’t think I was inspired to be a writer because that suggests a level of choice.  I am a writer.  Writing chose me. It’s as necessary to me as eating. If I don’t write, I’m cranky and irritable. Ask my husband!



6.     What do you like best and what do you like least about being a writer?

I love entering new worlds and exploring new characters and making unexpected discoveries as a narrative unfolds. I never know where a work is going. It’s totally spontaneous. That’s the fun and adventure of writing. But it’s also one of the more difficult parts because I have to trust each time that material will surface, and I will eventually have a story to tell. The other thing I love about writing is revision. To me, that’s where the real writing happens. I already have something tangible to work with, so the fear of not finding my way is lessened.



7.     Who are some of your favorite authors?

I have so many that I’ll never be able to cover them all here! I love the Norwegian novelist Per Petterson and have read all of his books. I’ve also read most of Gabriel Marquez’s work. One Hundred Years of Solitude found me at a time when I needed a model for the magical realism approach that seems natural to me and inhabits much of my work. I love that book and return to it often for inspiration.
In another mode, Roberto Bolano, a Chilean writer, has also inspired me. He diverges from the more familiar magical realist vein and creates his own genre. I’ve read most of his books now, and they construct a world that seems like a parallel universe to ours. He also steps beyond the usual fiction boundaries, violating our expectations of how a novel should unfold or end. I’m always entranced by his work.
And I haven’t mentioned W.G. Sebald yet, another writer who died far too young. He’s also invented a new genre, a hybrid novel form. Again, I’ve read all of his work, and I’m stunned by it.
I’m sorry that all of these authors are men when there are so many female writers I love as well. How can I not mention my countrywoman Alice Munro? Or Irish writer Anne Enright. I’ll read anything she writes because of her sharp wit and illuminations of contemporary life.


8.     If your book would be turned into a movie, who would you imagine playing the part of the main character? (Actor can be ANYONE, living or dead.)

No actors come readily to mind, I’m afraid. Bubbles and Feather and all the rest are so distinctive to me that it’s difficult to imagine someone being able to inhabit their characters.


9.     Are you working on anything right now?

It’s hard to describe a latest project since I’m usually working on more than one thing simultaneously. I’m revising my novel Bone Songs that will be published in 2016. I’m also working on a novel whose focus is Tillie, a younger version of the main character in another novel of mine, Freefall: a Divine Comedy. Its title is Tillie: A Portrait of a Canadian Girl in Training. There’s a novella I’m about two thirds of the way through, The Sinner’s Club.  And I have several short stories in process.


10. And, finally, what do you think is in store for the future of Latino literature?

Since my fiction has been so influenced by the Latino sensibility (I haven’t mentioned here all of the Latino writers that have helped shaped my work), I can only hope that it will continue to flourish. It has such distinctive voices. I’ve already mentioned Roberto Bolano, but there are many more I could name if there were the space. I think each Latino writer I’ve read is unique in his/her approach to narrative and offers a rich vein for readers to explore.




Thursday, November 12, 2015

Q&A with Isandra Collazo Rivera

Raised in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico, Isandra Collazo Rivera is a self-proclaimed citizen of the world. She's an enthusiast of international cuisine and foreign music, devoted to learn from other people's cultures, and sharing their life stories with the purpose of breaking down the walls of fear and prejudice.

She'd majored in Foreign Languages and Tourism with the goal of becoming a tour guide one day, but all of her plans changed when she felt a calling to serve the community within her Caribbean Island, as well as beyond its beautiful, white sand beaches. Committed to help bring change into the world, Isandra is now a Christian missionary, human rights defender, orator, and philanthropist.

With her debut novel; Across the Border: Interview with a Refugee, she hopes to raise awareness on many social issues happening today, and that way inspire others to raise a voice for those in need.

1. What inspired you to write Across the Border: Interview with a Refugee?

While living in the Netherlands, I met several individuals of different countries who spontaneously shared part of their life stories with me, particularly their testimonies of how they abandoned their countries of origin due to wars, persecution and lack of opportunities, and of the challenges they encountered abroad. However, it was when I listened to the story of an Iraqi refugee, when I knew that I had to write a book about what I saw and experienced with each one of them.

2. Did you relate to the main character, Isabel, in any way? If so, what?

I definitely relate to Isabel in many aspects, seeing that most of her experiences in the Netherlands were actually my own. But in terms of personality, we are a little different.

3. What was the hardest part about writing this book?

I would say that the hardest part was to remain neutral when describing the persecution of Christians in the Middle East from Samir’s perspective. It is not always easy to remain “politically-correct” when you write or speak about these type of subjects, or when you feel somewhat obligated to criticize a particular religion or culture.

4. What are some of the main issues that you explore in this book and why did you explore them?

The book explores several issues and situations that occur to diverse immigrants while living within a modern society. However, the main issues discussed in this novel are the persecution of Christians in the Middle East (particularly towards the Assyrian nation), and the dangers that refugees encounter when fleeing their war-torn countries. I explore them because they are happening in this day and age, in a rather relentless and brutal manner.

5. What do you hope readers will gain from your book?

Apart from being captivated by Isabel and Samir’s escalating intercultural romance, I hope readers will become aware of the hardships and tribulations refugees face when trying to reach a safe haven. I also hope they learn the importance of uniting in solidarity with those who suffer discrimination and persecution, to learn of the different social causes, and realize that integrating with people of other cultures and beliefs can be both culturally and spiritually enriching.

6. What do you like best and what do you like least about being a writer?

The creative process is invigorating and exciting, especially when you write down those lines which give you chills no matter how many times you read them. That would be my favorite part. On the other hand, my least favorite part is the fact that the creative process itself can be very lonely. In order to write, I’ve had to isolate myself more than I ever imagined.

7. Who are some of your favorite authors?

I enjoy Paulo Coelho’s novels for the quick way they transport me to other places. I have experienced that also with Dan Brown’s work, as well as Isabel Allende’s novels. I can’t be too specific when it comes to choosing an author, but I will grab anything that I find intriguing and compelling. At the moment I’m reading some of Brian Weiss’ work, never imagining that I would be into the “past life regression” subject. It is quite amazing. And next in line is a memoir by Camilo Mejía as his testimony as a sergeant in Iraq; another obsession of mine.

8. If your book would be turned into a movie, who would you imagine playing the part of the main character? (Actor can be ANYONE, living or dead.)

Isabel’s look was inspired on actress Angelica Celaya. When I first saw her playing “Zed” in the Constantine series, I knew she was the one. So if there’s a movie, I will move heaven and earth to get her to play Isabel. As for Samir, that’s tricky. No one can be Samir except for Samir himself, the real-life one, because there are two essential attributes he possesses that are difficult to match; his deep, heavily-accented voice and his gaze. However, I’ve thought about a few actors that could portray the mysterious Iraqi quite well; Manu Bennett (For his epic role in Spartacus), Tamer Hosny, and Turkish actors Engin Akyurek or Burak Ozcivit.

9. Are you working on anything right now?

Definitely. I’m working on the sequel of my novel, as well as on the Spanish edition. I am really looking forward to completing the series, but also to seeing this first book translated into many languages.

10. And, finally, what do you think is in store for the future of Latino literature?

I feel that Latino literature focuses a lot on identity, social criticism and nationalism. When it comes to our community there’s always a tendency to write mainly about these particular subjects. Surely that’s a good thing, for it shows that we strive to highlight our history and our social battles. No matter what the genre may be; fiction, non-fiction, poetry or any other, controversy is somehow present in Latino books. And it should be, because as writers we want to make an impact on our readers. So I truly feel that Latino literature has been inspiring throughout the years, and lately it’s been heading towards new horizons, for example; LGBT literature. This may not be my cup of tea, but it’s “the new thing” nonetheless, and there’s a huge market for it.


Friday, October 23, 2015

Q&A with Inejiro Koizumi

Inejiro Koizumi works in Oakland, CA and creates daily. After graduating with honors from the CCA's Le Cordon Bleu program, Inejiro wrote his first story. 10 years, a wife, two kids, and two career changes later, Inejiro became part of the triumvirate brain-trust that controls The Luxarium Art Haus.  


As an author, my site is

As a musician, my music lives at here you will also find a score that I wrote, recorded, and engineered under the name DEEProy (Doctor Percival Roy). I recommend the Hijo De Xavier and Triple Zed Project themes.

As a painter and classically trained chef, my visual media can be seen on instagram under the handle @the.luxarium and on tumblr at

  1. What inspired you to write Our Amplified Earth, Vol 1?

I was moved by my experiences with gangs in high school to write Hijo De Xavier, and from there I felt like I had found my niche in writing glimpses, episodes, from an entire universe of my own creation. I LOVE possibility and departure from realism, and when I combined the two, I ended up with the Our Amplified Earth series.

I feel it should also be mentioned that women have had a powerful impact on my decision to write as well as my writing style. I was raised by three towering examples of strong, intelligent, faithful women that loved me more than themselves, despite my being adopted. My mother was a black panther with six degrees from Cal State East Bay, one of my life-long babysitters survived multiple abusive husbands to stand with her head held high on her own, and the other has served her congregation consistently and truthfully over the last 40 years.

These pillars helped form within me a foundation of profound respect and reverence for the abilities and attributes held by women as a whole.

In my universe, women are typically seen as that which the world cannot exist without, and that statement does not include placation. Marta in Hijo De Xavier is an excellent example. Without her, Manolo would be nothing. It is her strength, her cunning, and her mind that empowers Manolo and ultimately handles Xavier for the time being.


  1. Is Inejiro a real name or a pen name? How did you come to that name?

Inejiro is my pen name. I have chosen it for two principle reasons:  synesthesia and depression treatment. The mental images, smells, and sensations generated by the name Inejiro Koizumi all suit my purpose, and the actual meaning of the names themselves fit right in as well.

My research has yielded Inejiro to mean “One who seeks” and Koizumi means “small fountain.” I consider myself a seeker of truth and enlightenment. My mind to me has always felt like a small fountain or mineral spring; constantly bubbling forth with a fervent variety of raw creative material.

Maybe three or four years after high school I developed a form of depression that includes bouts of insomnia. After therapy and pills, I read about a doctor who hypothesized that one’s circadian rhythm could be out of alignment with your current position on the earth. He recommended sufferers try and immerse themselves in a culture that resides in the time zone that aligns with your feeling tired and feeling awake.

I took to the globe and noticed Japan Standard Time was closest to my ‘natural’ circadian rhythm. Since then, I’ve taken to Japanese, I am an avid Sumo watcher, I cook Japanese at home (I’m also a classically trained chef), I wear a kimono when I come home, and on and on. It’s made a surprising difference in my day-to-day life and I’m not going back.


  1. How would you describe the relationship between Manolo and Xavier?

This is an excellent question. Manolo, having been raised primarily by women, is initially drawn to Xavier, despite not fully understanding his magnetism. Manolo’s only consistent male influence came from his immediate friends, e.g. gang-members, ‘brothers’. As Manolo and his friends share their lives in a derelict demesne, each one serves as father, brother, cousin, nephew, uncle, etc to another depending on the circumstances. That being said, the idea of an older and established father-figure taking personal interest in Manolo was very appealing to the deeper parts of himself.

Xavier, seeking out his son for ‘sentimental’ reasons, sees a lot of himself in Manolo.  Being a former logistics juggernaut during The War, he knows how to read situations, and most of all, people.  Xavier ID’d Manolo early on as the smartest member of the collection of droogs that comprised his friends and roommates.  Whether or not Xavier truly felt a longing for his own flesh and blood upon first encountering Manolo remains to be seen, but there definitely is a deeper connection between the two.

Is Manolo seeking out a father? Is Xavier playing an Amplified chess game and simply using Manolo?  What are the truly deeper mechanics of Latin gang politics? That’s their relationship.


  1. What was the hardest part about writing this book?

The final steps. I hold Salvador Dali in significantly high regard. I’ve adapted my own creative process after studying portions of his life. For me, seeding and cultivating a story is not too much of a challenge. However, the final stages of releasing a completed piece can be more taxing than I prefer. The stages I'm referring to are the implementation of final edits and proofing.

To mitigate the eyestrain of line-by-line analysis, I bought a couple pairs of yellow-lens wrap-around glasses. I use these when writing and proofing and they have made the process much more palatable.


  1. What are some of the main issues that you explore in this book and why did you explore them?

As I’ve grown older and acquired the plethora of skills that I have, I’ve also watched peers and elders make a variety of initially baffling changes. Seeing this caused me to search inward and seek out why I made the decisions I did, as I felt that I could not truly love myself if I didn’t understand and accept myself. This journey led me to a tremendously significant aspect of one of the most influential periods of my formative years: middle school to high school. This aspect was my involvement with Latin gangs.

During the early flirtations, parties and kicking it on the block, the gangsters seemed like noblemen; dukes and lords with parent-less manors and an endless variety of narcotics.  This flirting went on for a couple years, then I tried to get serious.

During the summer transition from sophomore to junior, I attended a party that turned out to be a honey-pot style trap. Thankfully I had left in time, after making a fool of myself. My friend however did not. We found him hours later, unable to speak with a boot mark on his throat.  I was done after that. There was no true loyalty, I do not seek to quarrel with strangers simply because of my clothes or where I live, and life has always meant more to me than partying, fighting, and mating.

I feel a kinship to Manolo, but I also understand the position of his friends. Everyone has to make their own choices, and ultimately be responsible for them.
In both The Horvitz Hour and Triple Zed I look at reality and existence.  How do you determine what in your life is real? Are other people’s assessments of you real? Do you bind yourself by other’s views, or do you take in knowledge, then convert it to wisdom by self-determining?



  1. What do you hope readers will gain from your book?

A stronger sense of possibility. As time has gone on, I’ve noticed an increase in desire from readers and movie watchers for realism. This has always saddened me. Part of the allure of films like Star Wars, Beetlejuice, Tim Burton’s Batman, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, The Terminator series, etc is the lack of realism. Sure, there are ‘real’ human emotions for the given relatable and metaphoric situations, but no story can lack that. I’m talking about driving around 1930’s LA with cartoons, using telepathic power to change the mind of another, putting on a rubber suit and fighting a man who survived a chemical bath with more than just cancer…

Anything is possible, if you allow yourself to believe it.



  1. What do you like best and what do you like least about being a writer?

Best: I enjoy creating a sense of adventure and excitement in others naturally, so having an outlet through writing is very rewarding.

Least: Far too many people still literally judge books by their covers.


  1. Who are some of your favorite authors?

Philip K Dick is king, followed by Vonnegut, Cervantes Saavedra, Jonathan Lethem, and of course, Roald Dahl.


  1. If your book would be turned into a movie, who would you imagine playing the part of the main character? (Actor can be ANYONE, living or dead.)

There are 3 stories in my novel, so I’ll include 2 from each:

Hijo De Xavier

Manolo: Ryan Guzman

Xavier: Raul Julia

The Horvitz Hour

Dan ‘The Host Man’ Carpentier: Dean Winters

Lydia: Annabella Samir Hilal

ZZZ (Triple Zed Project)

Lloyd Gypsum: Robert Forster

Elizabeth Camden: Helen Mirren


  1. Are you working on anything right now?

Yes, I have another episode from the OAE universe at the editors, and I am cultivating 3 other story stems at the moment.


  1. And, finally, what do you think is in store for the future of Latino literature?

With epic creators like Alejandro González Iñárritu and Guillermo Del Toro in Hollywood, I think Latino literature and other forms of media are on the rise. I find most art pieces, be they film, TV, literature, etc, from Latin America offer refreshing viewpoints and topics that the world at hand has been largely looking for.

The market is good and the product rich; the future is excitingly bright for Latino Lit.



Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Q&A with Eleanor Parker Sapia

Historical novelist, Eleanor Parker Sapia was born in Puerto Rico and raised as an Army brat in the United States, Puerto Rico, and several European cities. As a child, she could be found drawing, writing short stories, and reading Nancy Drew books sitting on a tree branch. Eleanor’s life experiences as a painter, counselor, alternative health practitioner, a Spanish language social worker, and a refugee case worker, continue to inspire her writing. Eleanor loves introducing readers to strong, courageous Caribbean and Latin American women who lead humble yet extraordinary lives in extraordinary times. Her debut historical novel, A Decent Woman, set in turn of the century Puerto Rico, has garnered praise and international acclaim. She is a proud member of PENAmerica and the Historical Novel Society. A Decent Woman is July 2015 Book of the Month for Las Comadres and Friends National Latino Book Club.

Eleanor is currently writing her second historical novel titled, The Island of Goats, set in Puerto Rico, Spain, and Southern France. When Eleanor is not writing, she loves facilitating creativity groups, and tells herself she is making plans to walk El Camino de Santiago a second time. Eleanor has two loving grown children, and currently lives in wild and wonderful West Virginia.

Ponce, Puerto Rico, at the turn of the century: Ana Belén Opaku, an Afro-Cuban born into slavery, is a proud midwife with a tempestuous past. After testifying at an infanticide trial, Ana is forced to reveal a dark secret from her past, but continues to hide an even more sinister one. Pitted against the parish priest, Padre Vicénte, and young Doctór Héctor Rivera, Ana must battle to preserve her twenty-five year career as the only midwife in La Playa.

Serafina is a respectable young widow with two small children, who marries an older, wealthy merchant from a distinguished family. A crime against Serafina during her last pregnancy forever bonds her to Ana in an ill-conceived plan to avoid a scandal and preserve Serafina’s honor.

Set against the combustive backdrop of a chauvinistic society, where women are treated as possessions, A Decent Woman is the provocative story of these two women as they battle for their dignity and for love against the pain of betrayal and social change

1. What inspired you to write A Decent Woman?
I was initially inspired by a tribute I wrote on the occasion of my maternal grandmother’s 90th birthday, and by my grandmother’s stories about her midwife, Ana, who caught my mother, two aunts, and an uncle. I’ve always said Ana whispered her story in my ear. She was an Afro-Caribbean midwife of unknown origins, who my relatives said liked her rum and a cigar after every birth—a very colorful woman. Ultimately, Ana’s story was the inspiration. I wish I’d met her.
After writing the tribute for my Puerto Rican grandmother, which included stories about her childhood and adulthood on the island, I realized how much I knew about the daily lives of women in the 1900’s. Through my research, I was further inspired by the extraordinary lives of ordinary women during a complex and tempestuous time in the island’s history. There are many books written about Puerto Rican women’s experiences after leaving the island, but I wasn’t aware of any books in English with stories such as mine, about the women who stayed behind. I wrote what I wanted to read.
2.       How do Ana and Serafina relate to each other in the story?
In chapter one, midwife Ana Belén catches sixteen-year old, Serafina Martinez’ first child as a tropical storm threatens the little Martínez house. The women immediately bond, especially Serafina to Ana as her mother died in Hurricane San Ciriaco two years prior. Ana is very fond of Serafina, but she is afraid of getting too close to the young woman for many reasons: her childhood as a slave; Serafina’s young age; Ana’s place in society; and because of the secret Ana brought to Puerto Rico from Cuba twenty years before, which if discovered, could destroy all Ana has worked for.
Through sharing life experiences, despite their different places in society, and after a crime against Serafina that brings them together in an ill-conceived plan to avenge Serafina’s honor and protect her marriage, the women become close friends, close as sisters. Not only was Ana the young woman’s confidante and comadre, midwife, they are comadres of the heart. Their friendship continues until the end of the book.
3.       What are some of the main socio-economic issues that you explore in this book and why did you explore them?
I explored the issues of racism, misogyny, and elitism, as well as crimes against women and abuse within marriage and relationships. I thought it was important to portray life as it was for women of all socio-economic levels—the rich and the poor, white and black, the educated and uneducated.
Women suffered abuse at the hands of men at home, in the workplace, and in the street. Women struggled to feed their children and make ends meet at home with low-paying jobs, often going hungry themselves. They fought other women, vying for male attention, which at the time, was the only way a woman could survive in the world—with a man’s protection and money. Consequently, women were pitted one against the other. In some places in the world, this continues.
And finally, the US Department of Health sterilized hundreds of Puerto Rican women (more women in later years), against their will and by not telling them what procedures were being done on them. I believe once you know a truth—and this truth, a shocking truth in our history as a colony—you must tell it. If we deny or ignore a truth, it will revisit us. I didn’t and I don’t shy away from the ugly bits of life or the past. The women of 1900 Puerto Rico needed a voice.
4.       What do you hope readers will gain from your book?
As with viewing a work of art, what the viewer/reader ‘sees’ is subjective. We filter our life experiences through everything we read, hear, observe, and experience, and come to an understanding. We each take what we need and discard what we don’t need in most situations. It’s no different with books. So, it’s tough to say what I hope readers will gain from my book. However, I do hope readers who usually shy away from historical novels will see through my story that people of the past weren’t that different from us. Our ancestors dealt with the same pains, tragedies, and joys in life as we do today. Life was harder, of course, because people had few modern conveniences and fewer opportunities, especially  women, and that is still true of many people around the world today.
One reader loved that I showed how important women friendships are throughout a woman’s life. I agree. Women should continue uplifting their fellow women when they can. There’s plenty to go around.
5.       What inspired you to be a writer?
I was an exhibiting artist for over twenty-five years before discovering my passion for writing books. One day, the paint brush and canvas weren’t ‘saying’ what I wanted to convey. I began writing on the dry, painted canvas with a colored pencil. Soon, I wrote personal thoughts and quotes, on the painted images. Words appeared on the side of painted images, around the edges, until finally making their way inside the piece. It was then the little light illuminated in my brain—I needed words as well as paint to tell my stories; to express what I had in my heart and soul. I believe I inspired myself. It was then my inner world opened up, making connections where up until that point, I’d kept separate.
After a few years, writing took over, and I wrote the first draft manuscript of A Decent Woman. Looking back, however, I see my artist side revealed in how I describe settings, characters, and objects in my stories; the play or light and color and texture—that all comes from an art background. I now paint to relax, as a reminder that I am a creative person, when inspiration strikes, and when I get stuck during the writing process. Writing has become an obsession, and I am happy when I visit with my old friend, painting.
6.       What do you like best and what do you like least about being a writer?
I love being alone in my head with my characters, and seeing where they lead me and the story. What I like least is when I must be on social media instead of writing. I understand the importance of social media to an author and love getting to know my readers, I really do, but I much prefer sitting at my writing desk. I came to writing in my late forties—I feel the urgency to get my stories to readers before it’s too late!
7.       Who are some of your favorite authors?
A few of my favorites are, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Isabel Allende, Jack Remick, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, Milan Kundera, and Cormac McCarthy.
8.       If your book would be turned into a movie, who would you imagine playing the part of the main character? (Actor can be ANYONE, living or dead.)
I love this question! I’ve always thought A Decent Woman would make a great film. The incredible actress Viola Davis would be perfect to play adult Ana and Selma Hayak as the adult Serafina. For the younger Ana, I would love to see Lupita Nyong’o and Melanie Iglesias as young Serafina.
9.       Are you working on anything right now?
Yes, thanks for asking. I’m currently writing a novel called The Island of Goats, which begins in 1920 Puerto Rico, and moves to the pilgrimage path of El Camino de Santiago de Compostela in Spain, and then to Southern France. It is the story of two young women, Magdalena and Nadya, who will meet and forge an unlikely friendship on the medieval pilgrimage route, while trying to make sense of a new world before WWII.
My first published novel, A Decent Woman will always have a special place in my heart, but I am very excited about the second book.
10.   And, finally, what do you think is in store for the future of Latino literature?
Latino literature has evolved for hundreds of years, and will continue to evolve as Latinos in the United States continue writing culturally-rich stories in Spanish and in English, or begin writing books in genres where there are few Latino writers. I’ve read comments from Latino writers who are tired of reading stories of one more Latino/a drug addict, prostitutes, or another story of coming into the United States. I say just write. Tell whatever story is in your heart.
What comes to mind when I think of the future of Latino literature is the need for more Latinos in publishing and more Latino agents, who specialize in Latino literature. It’s difficult for all writers to get published, and my personal experience was that I had an extra hurdle to get over—writing a historical novel about a diverse heroine in 1900 Puerto Rico—not easy to sell, but as it turned out, Ana’s journey has been embraced by readers. I’m glad I didn’t give up, and I still need an agent!
I’d like to think that the future of Latino literature looks bright and promising.
Thank you for the opportunity to share with your readers. Happy writing to all!

A DECENT WOMAN is available on Amazon
and at La Casa Azul Bookstore,143 E. 103rd Street  New York, NY 10029 (212) 426-2626 
Twitter: @eleanorparkerwv