Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Q&A with J.O. Quantaman

I live in Vancouver at the mouth of the Fraser River on Canada’s westcoast. The city has been carved out of a temperate rainforest and is sandwiched between scenic mountains and the Pacific Ocean. I’ve worked as a photographer, sports-fishing guide, cab driver and software developer. At present I’m semiretired and an avid reader of history, scientific literature, historical fiction and science.


Imagine a vibrant community that rejects 5,000 years of human traditions. Imagine a society that affirms equal rights for both men and women. Imagine a society without politicians, without corporate secrets, without adverts, without disparity in the spendable wealth of its citizens. Such a community has defied the status quo. It has aroused fear and envy among the powerful elite. It needs extraordinary protection from those who would bring it down.

Narrative is fully indexed, color pictures, circa 2070s <> Blending of antipodes between utopia and dystopia <> Nyssa has spent years in virtual bondage to a Japanese pimp before she landed at Dog Breakfast, a co-op dedicated to urban security and espionage. She is welcomed despite her woeful past. She begins training as an operative and soon finds the physical hurdles almost beyond reach. But she can't turn back because the co-op has become "home" and if she fails she'd mess up her chances with Cook <> Kazuo has lost touch with the stone fox he met at the ski resort. He will meet her again, but in a way he doesn't expect.






What inspired you to write Loose Threads: Cool Assassins 1?

I would get pictures of scenes in my mind for a number of years.  One day I decided to write one of them down.

What genre would you place this book in?

Alternate History.  Within that context, readers will find elements of romance, espionage and social customs that are alien to those we cherish today.

Who are the characters in the story and what are their goals?

Jenna is a world-class aerial acrobat and mountain climber who suffers bouts of vertigo.

Nyssa Persson, former Tokyo call girl, comes to Dog Breakfast co-op, a security outfit.  Nyssa is determined to make a fresh start in her life.  She buries her libido and undergoes training in martial arts.  She never stops looking for a soul mate.

Kazuo is a former champion kickboxer.  Nowadays he's the security chief at Mishima dockside foundry.  As he prepares his team to capture an intruder, his mind reverts to memories of Miyuki, a young woman who has stolen his heart.

Meg and Subie are two gabby bisexuals who help Nyssa find a home at Dog Breakfast co-op.

Cook is the head honcho at DB co-op.  He leads from the front by example.

Shepp is Nyssa's somewhat reluctant partner and mentor.  A former Kenyan smuggler, he is DB's weapons instructor and resident hunk.

Maybe the most important character is the city of Tsawwassen.  Not just an architectural wonder, the city fosters social lifeways unlike any in existence today.

What was the hardest part about writing this book?

I've devoted 15 years to editing and learning the craft from scratch.  Yet the toughest part is cracking the eBook market.  "Loose Threads" is but one title among 4-million others.  Authors must be prepared to jump through dozens of hoops before anyone will notice.

What do you hope readers will gain from your book?

I hope readers will sense there is more to life than meets the eye.  In this age of cell phones and ear plugs, we've lost a much faster means of communication.  Superluminal messages can only happen among folks who know and trusts each other.  It seems to be a dying art.

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

I dislike the advertising.  Indie authors must shout twice as loud to get their two cents on the board.  The trouble and effort I've put into "Loose Threads" won't come back for decades.

Who are some of your favorite authors?

My favorite Indie author is Carmen Amato.  She has created a Mexican detective, Emilia Cruz who is tougher and more courageous than your usual crime fighter.  Among established sci-fi authors, I like anything written by Greg Bear and Connie Willis.  As a history buff, I'm a fan of Colleen McCullough, especially her award-winning series that features the Roman republic.

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 haven't a clue.  I don't have a TV and haven't gone to the cinema for 20 years.  None of the vintage movies features strong female leads with oriental features.

Are you working on anything right now?

I'm working on the sequel "Hot Wheels" which has a 2nd-gen Mexican immigrant to SoCal, Tomas Redfoot who delivers gourmet foods to enclaves east of San Bernardino.

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

English has gotten a huge head start as the digital language of choice.  I doubt it will be dislodged.  But I see more and more Latino words becoming naturalized in English.  In the future there will be as many Latino additions as there are French.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Review: INTERCEPTED by J.Q. Anderson

Meet Jake and Natalia.
Jake was once a water polo Olympic Gold Medal Winner.
Now he is an Escort. The lucky few women he selects as clients pay small fortunes for a weekend with Jake.
Natalia just graduated from culinary school in Buenos Aires. She works the ski season in Aspen. She needs the money.
The moment they meet a sudden attraction grips them.
It can’t be: She’s engaged. He’s a hooker.
A story about passion, deception and what lies hidden in the darkest corners of love.










Reviewed by: Celia
Rating: 3.5 stars

 
Review: This is the love story of Natalia and Jake. Natalia is a hotel clerk and Jake is a hotel guest. The two obviously should not mix business with pleasure. But then….what if you did?


Told in the POV of the two main characters, the story takes the reader on an awkward ride through the icy slopes of a slippery and endearing love. In the beginning, each grapples with its own drama as well as the underlying and intense attraction. It’s like we’re reading their diaries, diaries filled with hopes, fears, and dreams.


It takes a while before you can really get into the story, but you’ll feel the instant connection between the two characters.  A good portion of the book mainly consists of the two pining for each other. That’s probably because she is engaged and he is a…..well, a hooker. So there’s another complication.


Story is well-written for the most part. I especially enjoyed the candid thoughts of the two as it relayed to the growing attraction (Natalia was shy and reserved while Jake was more direct and confident – well, he would have to be for his “occupation”) Certain areas lagged a bit too much with superfluous scenes as well as endless assortments of looks, touches, and flirting. After a while, this gets a little weary. Of course, I was pleased with the unexpected twists and turns that came about.


Overall, this was a sweet and interesting romance. A one-of-a-kind.  It’s Pretty Woman in reverse.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Q&A with J.Q. Anderson

J. Q. Anderson is a debut author who loves stories of all kinds, cooking food from her home town, Argentina, and hanging out with friends and family. When she is not working, she is writing relentlessly, or hanging out with her husband and three kids.

Writing is a multi faceted passion. You are in love with making stuff that wasn't there before. You think, you create, you obsess, and then you obsess a little more. Before the words even get to the page they have been roaming in all corners of your mind, trying to shape themselves.

I would have never dared to write a word had it not been for the people that love and suck in those stories. Find out more at http://www.jqanderson.com/



Meet Jake and Natalia.
Jake was once a water polo Olympic Gold Medal Winner.
Now he is an Escort. The lucky few women he selects as clients pay small fortunes for a weekend with Jake.
Natalia just graduated from culinary school in Buenos Aires. She works the ski season in Aspen. She needs the money.
The moment they meet a sudden attraction grips them.
It can’t be: She’s engaged. He’s a hooker.
A story about passion, deception and what lies hidden in the darkest corners of love.
  














  1. What inspired you to write Intercepted?

I was working on another novel, much longer, and the editing was taking me a while. I think the creative part of my brain needed a break and to work on something new. So I put that novel aside for a while and wrote Intercepted. It was fun and just poured out of me!

 

 

  1. What was your development process like?

I didn’t plot it at first, just started writing. Then as I got into it I drew a main storyline to stay on track. I wanted to see where the story went, so I built the characters and let them dictate some of the plot as well.

 

  1. What was the drive that drew two characters, like Jake and Natalia?

I wanted to represent what it is like to be in a relationship today. It is difficult to connect with other human beings because people in general are not emotionally available. Jake being an Escort and detached from his own feelings is an extreme example of that disconnection, but I thought it showed it well. Natalia is a typical example of a woman that has to fight for what she wants and is faced with multiple obstacles, internal and external.

 

  1. What did each character aspire to achieve?

I think it was the need for something deeper. Jake avoided interacting with people on a deep level because it connected him to painful memories of his past. Natalia was driven by the need to have control over her life, including her relationship with her fiancée, so she didn’t give in to feelings that could make her lose that feeling of security.

 

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

I want them to have fun reading the story. This novel was meant to be fun and light, but with characters you can connect with on a deeper level. Natalia wasn’t afraid to dive into another culture and make it her own, without forgetting who she is and where she came from. I wanted to show what that is like as well.

 

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

I LOVE that there are no restrictions as far as what kinds of stories I can write. My next story can always be whatever I want it to be without any limitations whatsoever. I write the stories that I want to read, and hope others will like them as well, but it is a very personal journey. Real life is full of obligations, restrictions and yellow tape blocking the way. The world of books opens the door to wherever you want to go, and that is truly amazing.

The hardest thing is when I realize a turn I took with the story isn’t working and I have to do it all over again, but I have to say, those are the times when I grow the most as a writer.

 

  1. Who are some of your favorite authors?

Gosh, I have so many. Two of my absolute favorites are Carlos Ruiz Zafón (El Juego del Ángel), and Jorge Fernandez Díaz (El Puñal), for fiction that takes you to another world. I also like contemporary romance ones, many from the U.S. like Colleen Hoover or Stephenie Meyer. I love different authors according to each genre. My likes are very diverse. I read one or the other depending on what I enjoy, but also what I think I need to learn. Reading is a great way to grow as an author.

 

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

I am not going to pretend I didn’t think of that! I would love Natalia to be played by professional ballerina Julie Doherty and I’d like Jake to be someone unknown but super hot!

 

  1. Are you working on anything right now?

Yes! Always! I went back to my original novel, Kings of Midnight, and will be done editing soon. I want to publish it by spring. That is the first of a two-book saga. The second book is also almost finished. After that, I have a very different fiction novel in the works about trafficking. It is darker, but I hope it will be a compelling story that will show the readers what trafficked women endure and how many of them there are everywhere.

 

  1. And, finally, what do you think is in store for the future of Latino literature?
I believe Latinos are smart, educated and cosmopolitan people. Their knowledge and awareness of the world goes way beyond what is around them. In that respect, they are different from other readers and expect more. They also have to interact with different cultures and leave their mark. Latinos feel deeper and make their decisions based on their personal values and not some trend. I think that also reflects what is inside of the books we read. They have to be relevant to our lives and we have to feel that deeper connection. But we also like having fun!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Q&A with Joshua P. Aguayo



Psychoanalyst by profession, Joshua Aguayo was born in Quito, Ecuador. Since his very youth, he showed an interest in science fiction and high fantasy. His passion for elves and warp drives would eventually breed together with the traditionally grim artstyle of his latin american upbringing into an amalgam that carved itself a home in the neon-lit streets of the cyberpunk genre.

He also enjoys watching TV shows for little girls.

Want to get in touch?

Email: Josh@fullruna.com
Twitter: @josh_aguayo
Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/joshua.p.aguayo
Reddit: www.reddit.com/r/TheLostThorn/



Drugs, an attitude, and an impassioned relationship with her best female friend are the only things Samantha Thorn has left. Forced to keep a facade of normality by the very mega-corporation that executed her father for delving into the arcane, and on the brink of mercy suicide, Sam will embark on an ordeal set against dystopic hispanic locales to rescue the only family she has left, with little regard for the corporate thugs and street gang politics that will stand in her way.

A tantalizing adventure, The Lost Thorn takes on the traditional pillars of cyberpunk and shatters them with a fresh gush of inspired and playful narrative. Fast-paced and grim, this book and its characters scramble the contrasts of the modern world, a testament to the crumbling norms of a society where both body and mind have become mere tools for absolute markets.
  





 

1.       What inspired you to write The Lost Thorn?

I'm the kind of writer that begins with a character, rather than with a story. I remember Samanth was the fist thing that came to my mind, she was at the same time a reflection of myself and a character inspired by many girls in my life. The idea I had for her, along with a passion for magic and science fiction, eventually mixed together to come up with the setting and story behind The Lost Thorn.

 

 

2.       What was the development process like?

One of my favorite writers is Gabriel García Marquez. When I started writing and I was trying to find a “rhythm” for my own writing I read an interview he had, where he was asked this same question. And the answer he gave inspired me and stuck with me ever since. He used the word 'ruminate' to describe his writing, and that's the same way I would describe my own creative process. When I have an idea, I spend a long time just 'thinking' about that idea, ruminating. It can be anywhere from a few days to weeks or even months, until one day I just sit down and write for extremely long amounts of time, until those thoughts are depleted and the process starts all over again.

 

3.       Did you do any kind of research for this book?

Yes, lots. That 'ruminating' phase includes research too, which for The Lost Thorn implied traveling around my city, learning about the customs of my own people and those who lived before me, and of course, reading the “big names” of the genre I was aiming for, namely titles like “Neuromancer” or “Do androids dream of electric sheep?”

 

4.       This is an interesting story. What genre would you put this in?

I like to say it's a “Cyberpunk” story. However I usually classify it in the broader “Science Fiction” category, simply because I did take some liberties when writing the story in my own personal style and when setting it against a Latin American locale.

 

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

Mainly I hope they will have a good time and a couple of laughs.  I think The Lost Thorn is a novel with heavy social commentary. I also think it could be explored from a psychoanalytical point of view, through the eyes of madness and sanity. I also think it's a political critique and a literary blend of fantasy and science fiction. However all this is just me, and the reader might aswell ignore all that and just enjoy Samantha's terrible puns. I think that's the beauty of literature: You don't take what the author wants you to take, you take what you want to take. So all I want is that my readers enjoy their read.

 

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

What I like best has to be having an excuse to learn about many different topics, travel to the strangest of places or try the weirdest of things. What I like the least is probably how hard it is to put something “out there”. I think that what I like the least is the “business” part of it, where you try to market and sell the product of your effort.

 

7.       Who are some of your favorite authors?

García Marquez as I said earlier, Jim Butcher, Akira Toriyama, If you count mangakas, William Gibson, Ragnar Tonquist and Oscar Wilde, are some of my favorite.

 

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.)

Oh this is a tough question… When I daydream about it… (That's not weird, is it?) I usually imagine The Lost Thorn as an animation, rather than as a feature film. But I if was a live action film, I'd say maybe someone like Chloe Moretz or the girl from David Fincher's “The girl with the dragon tattoo”. I know they are diametrically different actors, but I think each would be able to portray Samantha in a different light.

 

9.       Are you working on anything right now?

Yes. I'm working on the second novel in the series and I'm also working on a startup company to help local authors from Ecuador put their books online.

 

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

Ah… This may be the hardest question. I don't know to be honest. I feel like there are two strong “currents” for Latin American literature. One that sticks to the classics. To the style of authors like Cortazar or Borges. And one that is moving towards the alluring stream of globalization and trying to fit in the global market a la Bestsellers like Harry Potter or Hunger Games. I think that both are valid and I think that only time will tell where we end up.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Q&A with Natalie Keshing



I have a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Math. I worked in a highly technical area called the Proton Storage Ring at Los Alamos Nat'l Laboratory where I was awarded a staff member position based on my merit of high achievement. I went on to have a career in the IT world as a database consultant in Sacramento, San Francisco, and Los Angeles CA. I enjoy reading and especially writing. I paint and play the piano. I am very creative. You can go to SoundCloud search for Natalie Keshing. Each recording is my writing for inspirational purposes. I do all the voices as a raconteur, Todo the dog in She and Todo.


The Book: We Begin...

She waited for him. Not because she loved him but because she was scared of him and what she was contemplating.

He walked in through the kitchen door wearing his black short sleeved turtleneck and his dark sunglasses. Olive skinned, handsome, slender and buff. Staggering a bit towards her, wanting to give her a kiss.

The smell of his breath was nauseating. Mr. Playboy full of charm and not much more than that. She turned her face away from him. She rejected him and he felt that deep inside. His succorance for affection rejected. Now asking about the baby.




1.       What inspired you to write Resilience in Curls?

 
I had always wanted to write a great book. I signed unto Twitter over a year and half ago and I became very interested in writing. I started writing short stories, then verses, then poems, then a blog and now a book. During this time I extended my vocabulary. I learned to write poetry. I am now a well respected poet in the community of poets at the @thewritelist . I wanted to write a novel. I already had in mind a fictional story. Then I thought about my life and all the challenges I faced growing up in my family; hispanic. I speak Spanish. Despite all the challenges I faced growing up I knew that my education was going to be a pivotal point in my life. So it’s really an inspiring story through all the challenges and milestones I faced and accomplished. I am very proud of this book.

  

2.       This book has a mixture of story and poetry. Why did you write it this way?

When I started to write the short verses immediately people were drawn to them because they always contained a bit of truth in all of them. These weren’t poems of a whimsical and musing nature. Mine were more raw, straight to the point. An example

 

Gilded Are the Hearts Of Specious

A Long Journey Of Suffering

Preserve Your Heart’s Longing

Sustain In The Present and Breath!

             

              A Clash Of Minds Spiraling Down

              Time is The Pain Killer For The Broken Hearted

              Long Past Bye For Now

              Broken Untamed Spirits

              Never Stay Long, It is a New Day!

 

The Affinity Of Our Attraction

Now Joining The Rest

Flowing Down A Murky River

It’s The Last Of Our Affection

Turned Into A Dry Mud.

So I formed the Poem of Verses at the end of each week where I responded to various prompts from various Poetverses prompts. There were  9 short stories I made up and wanted to relate to the verses and share. Then when I decided to write the book I realized that I had a verse for most of the pivotal points in my life.

 

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

Editing it. There was a raw draft I wrote initially. I started crafting my own style of writing and how I wanted to present this book. There were at least 4 editing processes. 

 

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

The book starts from the age of four and almost immediately I was exposed to alcoholism, abuse, and neglect. I am very descriptive of these challenges and how they affect us since we are small and basically our whole life. Many child abuse victims keep all this hidden for years we suppress to survive. It doesn’t surface until you are facing someone elses challenges; as in a marriage or relationship. When you find someone you love or you think you love we expect that person to fix all the insecurities and abandonment issues we might have. Eventually, at some point all child abuse victims do start to face the dysfunctional experiences they were exposed to during those years. At this point many continue to shuffle it under the carpet; keep a lid on it; deny it; pretend it didn’t happen. Most do it to keep the parents and the family unit intact; in a superficial way. I did that for many years until I got really sick. Then I realized that I needed to address these issues and face them for what they were. I have faced death three times in my life. At these pivotal points everything changed; I changed. I wasn’t going to pretend anymore and most importantly I refused to continue let people that have no respect for me mistreat me. My health was the number one concern and I cleaned out the cobwebs in my closet. I chose to survive and distance myself from my mother and stepfather and other family members. 

 

5.       What do you hope readers will gain from your book?
Confidence, Inspiration, education and purpose. I really think this book can be very beneficial to the younger generation. Those who are confused about their circumstances and feel repressed. There is a way out. Despite the treatment of Josie and Mike I actually was born with a lot of confidence and gumption. I never lacked in those two virtues. I knew what I was capable of accomplishing; despite all the odds that were against me. But I did have teachers and professors who inspired me and believed in me. Education is usually the answer to most of us who want a better life. You have to focus and make up your mind that for that period of time you will remain disciplined and persevere to earn that degree; diploma.

Finding your purpose may take a little longer to discover. I went through various stages of my life that I did different things. I taught myself to paint, I took piano lessons as an adult and I wanted so deeply to do this as a child but that wasn’t offered to me because of my circumstances being a stepdaughter. My stepfather saved for a college education for my younger brother because he was Mike’s real son. Mike’s DNA gave life to my brother. So I was treated very differently and didn’t get to go to a private school and didn’t have any money they saved for my education. This fact is expressed in the book. 

             

             
 

 

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

It’s a creative process during those moments where you know this story will ring true to many. That feels pretty darn good.

It’s hard to write when something is bothering you in your personal life or you have an emotional block and you know the creative process is wobbling by.  Usually at that point you shouldn’t force yourself to write. I meditate and always try to be in the present which I have a noted in my book and explained a small exercise to bring your attention down to zero. No external thoughts, stress, or pressure. I learned this process facing my first life threatening diagnoses Carolis. Then it helped me when I was diagnosed with cancer and just recently during a life threatening Sepsis infection that I was hospitalized for.   

 

7.       Who are some of your favorite authors?
       Hemingway. Jeanette Walls. Writers that are willing to tell the truth. Writers that are very descriptive. Writers that are great listeners.

 

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 would either play my mother or my grandmother. I would prefer my grandmother. She and my grandfather were the ones I ultimately bonded with. Who were kind to me. But if you have time go to SoundCloud and search for Natalie Keshing, I do all the voices in my scenes and recordings. The Jane and Blanche trio, these three scenes are pretty surprising. I also did Todo the dog in Wizard of Oz in one of my recordings. I can do a lot of accents and change my voice.

As for playing Lorie I haven’t really thought of anyone but I would definitely want a Latina actress. I want to represent my culture.


9.       Are you working on anything right now?

I have 3 stories. One is called “The Darkest Of Night” it’s about two serial killers who are brothers. I’ve only written maybe a quarter of it or less. I also wanted to do a children’s book trilogy, more like a Harry Potter genre about three delightful Trolls. My favorite character in that story is Hannah Hawkins who is very eccentric but the trolls start having a lot of fun with her and are mystified by her presence. They are about two and half feet tall and boy are they challenging. The third is about a clandestine affair which violates a bond within the family. I won’t say now who it is. We’ll just have to wait.

 

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


I think that eventually we will become part of the bigger market and I hope that there are more opportunities for Latino people to balance the entertainment business. 

Truthfully I would like to become the Meryl Streep of the Latina actresses where I can play different parts and older parts. Open the doors for more Latino actors.  Jane Powell a very good actress, she looks Latina but she’s English. Therefore, she gets a lot of roles. Unfortunately if you have an accent you get typecast in the entertainment business. I don’t have an accent and I enjoy doing other accents. Actresses like Selma Heyak and Penelope Cruz probably have been typecast because of their accents. I am 55 years young. But with good genes. I am a fashionista. I like to dress classy with elegance. There is one of my  dichos in one of my chapters referring to this.

I just want to say thank you so much for this opportunity to express myself about my book that for many reasons I wrote it the way I did to capture a wider audience but still included my Spanish heritage and language. I lived in Los Angeles for 10 years and our only child a son stayed behind. He is pretty successful. We just had our first granddaughter born. Her name is Natalie Aubrey. I added the Keshing. The Keshing family is in two of the short stories. They’re sisters Natalie and Aubrey. Don’t miss this family they are quite humorous. Thank you and have a splendid day.

I started all this on twitter as @renaissanceangl now I have @natswritings and @aubreyswriting. The Renaissance name came from an very good writer and friend of mine. She called me a renaissance woman.  I Love Life!!! Yeah!!!  

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Q&A with Robert Joe Stout

Robert Joe Stout's books include Hidden Dangers, an examination of Mexico-U.S. relations and the conflicts they've generated including drug commerce and immigration. Two volumes of poetry have appeared recently, Monkey Screams from FutureCycle Press which includes poems from Vietnam, Mid-America and Mexico, and A Perfect Throw. A new novel, Where Gringos Don't Belong, narrates the challenges faced by a young American and his novia in strife-torn southern Mexico. Previous novel are Running Out the Hurt (available on Kindle) and Miss Sally. Nonfiction books still in print: Why Immigrants Come to America and The Blood of the Serpent: Mexican Lives.
An acknowledged baseball aficionado and the father of five children, he currently lives in Oaxaca, Mexico. His essays, commentaries, short fiction and poetry regularly appear in literary and commercial magazines and journals.




Where Gringos Don't Belong: Early in the evening of November 25, 2006, George Bynum, the protagonist of Where Gringos Don't Belong, leaves his Mexican novia Patricia among anti-government protest marchers in the city of Oaxaca, Mexico and returns to his apartment to finish a report for his employers, the Rural Development through Education Center. Before he can finish, his cell phone rings. "They're attacking! Killing..! They won't...stop!" Patricia's voice rings in his ears. He rushes out, hoping to find her, but blinded by teargas from a federal police assault trips and has to be helped to safety. He and several others, including a young woman named Claudi Auscher, make their way back to George's apartment. Claudi, who defines herself as "a Mexican Jew gypsy bitch rebel" joins George in his efforts to reestablish contact with Patricia, who has been flown to a maximum security prison along with other innocent victims of the militarized purge. George and Claudi are fictional characters but the events in which they've become embroiled are based on the actual political and social upheavals that reverberated through Oaxaca from November 2006 through April 2007.




1.   What inspired you to write Where Gringos Don't Belong?

I came to Oaxaca as a freelance journalist during the violent repression of a teachers’ union-led protest and witnessed tear gas attacks, military interventions and indiscriminate arrests and wanted to do something more than journalist reports and essays.

 

2.   Can you please describe the relationship between Claudia and Jorge?

They were thrown together by a police assault and become involved in seeking the release of and aiding those arrested, an involvement complicated by Jorge’s novia being among those imprisoned. Jorge’s loyalty and feelings of guilt collide with the attraction he feels for Claudia and she for him, creating frustration, tension while simultaneously deepening the feelings for each other.

 

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

Conflicts like the repression of protests or war deeply affect everyone, not just participants, altering lives, allegiances, values. I experienced this in Oaxaca and wanted to put a human face on it, deal with it from the point of view of persons thrust inadvertently into a maelstrom of events that they had no way to anticipate.

 

4.   What was the development process like when writing this book?

Creating characters means living with those characters, becoming them in a sense, letting them grow, letting them deal with their circumstances logically and emotionally. I began knowing what I wanted to achieve but the personalities developed as the first events described led to others that I hadn’t planned ahead of time.

 

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

An awareness of how violent confrontations change the lives and values of those who become involved willingly or unwillingly and how emotions—love, anger, frustration—respond to the challenges and changes.

 

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

Writing—creating—is both a search and a process of discovery, a process that provides a great of satisfaction. As with many professions one gets caught up in frustrating details—editors, finances, deadlines, misunderstandings—that one has to deal with but the writing process itself is wonderful. 

 

7.   Who are some of your favorite authors?

D. H. Lawrence, Wallace Stegner, Richard Wright, Dostoevskii, Hannah Arendt, Simone de Beauvoir.

 

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.)

An American equivalent of Tom Courtenay? Or young Johnny Depp.

 

9.   Are you working on anything right now?

By profession I’m a journalist as well as a novelist and poet and I always have a variety of things I’m working on. I publish a lot of political and social commentary and have a new book of poems, Monkey Screams, that’s just been released.

 

10.And, finally, what do you think is in store for the future of Latino literature?
Greater distribution in translation, particularly of contemporary writers whose political and cultural perceptions are creating excellent novels, nonfiction narratives and cinema and who have limited followings even in their home countries.