Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Q&A with Christina Escamilla

Christina Escamilla Publishing is a two-fold website.  First and foremost, the primary goal is to help me personally connect with other writers and readers by providing a plethora of engaging content and interactive fun.  Here, you’ll find everything from book reviews (which you can also vote on yourself) to advice and writing tips on a variety of topics.
Second, the site also allows me to offer up my books and stories for you to enjoy!  As much as I enjoy writing, I live for the moment where my worlds and characters get to live on through reader imagination.  I’m a pretty eclectic writer so I hope you find something that peaks your interest!
1.       What inspired the idea for THE DAY THE WORDS WENT AWAY?
A few years ago I entered my first Nanowrimo contest.  It’s basically a challenge to write a 50k word novel in month.  I sat down at my computer, completely eager to come up with something amazing…and then I couldn’t decide what to write.  So instead of writing an actual story down I simply wrote out my thoughts, which became the opening to the tDtWWA.  Last year, after releasing my first book, 64 Deaths, I knew I wanted my next novel to center on the concept of original ideas and writing tropes, but in a fun and humorous way.  I immediately thought back to that running stream of consciousness and how it felt to try to come up with something without making traction – so it all just escalated from there.
2.       What was your writing process like?
When I get a good idea for a novel, which usually comes by connecting a bunch of random ideas together, the first thing I do is start to map out what I have.  I flesh out characters, begin to come up with key scenes, figure out locations, etc.  Then, once I have a collection of notes, I draw up a synopsis and make a basic shell for the story, usually chapter by chapter.  Then I sit down and begin to write the first draft. From there on out, I let the story take me where it wants to go and after I’m done I edit, edit, edit, and edit some more until I hand it off. 
3.       How did you come up with the character of Peter?
Since the original story was just a collection of my thoughts, it was really easy to kind of throw in a lot of things that I liked, such as a lot of love for specific TV shows, books, movies, and other pop culture stuff.  However, I knew I wanted the story to have a male lead that is not your traditional protagonist.  To that extent, I wanted him to be kind of awkward, socially inept, eternally optimistic, and be sometimes unsure of himself.  So I tried to merge all of these aspects to make a sweet guy that means well, but doesn’t always meet his mark.
4.       Why did you write this story from a male point of view?
I wanted to use a male for two reasons: I thought it would be challenging to look at the world from a male point of view, and still have it be really realistic, and I wanted to use your typical book protagonist and make it completely the opposite of what is generally expected.  I had a lot of fun with it, and hopefully I did Peter’s character justice!
5.       Was there a reason you incorporated different genres into one book?
Since this book was not only a way to simply allow people a good laugh, but also a commentary on the writing process in general, I thought it would be a good idea to play around with different genres.  I wanted to make the book a Hodgepodge of the most popular concepts and common stereotypes to both poke fun at them, but also use them to help showcase how you can use these ideas and make them very much your own without worrying about whether or not your idea is “original” enough.
6.       Was there a hidden message for writers? If so, what?
Absolutely!  At the heart of the book is the bare bones reason that we write – because it keeps us alive.  It allows us to share how we see the world with our audience.  I think a lot of writers, especially new writers, make the mistake of trying to meet some kind of technical standard.  They think that they have to have that one spark of inspiration, or if they do x, y, and z in a specific order then they will have the perfect manuscript.  I’d like the book to show that writing is not about all that technical stuff, but it’s about the actual doing.  To get a good idea you don’t need to have a set a rules – you just need to go out and live.  The ideas will happen by default.    
7.       What do you hope readers will gain from this book?
First and foremost, I hope that people find it funny and get a really good laugh out of it.  Even if that’s all that happens!  But, I’d also love for people to get a general appreciation for life, and living and how the best inspiration comes from going on crazy adventures with the people you love the most.
8.       Do you feel your story is an inspiration to Latinos?
I believe it is, and that is definitely my hope!  As a Latina, I think it’s really important that we have a sense of community that also extends into the larger world.  Our cultures and customs should be treasured and also shared, whether that is in the sense of the broader spectrum or in a personal facet.  For instance, I wanted to include a feisty Latina woman who is roughly modeled after my sister and I also wanted to include a lot of the language.  Not just Spanish, but also a lot of the playful back and forth disses that are harmless and done in jest, but for someone like Peter it’s seen as threatening because he doesn’t understand it.  I really wanted to use that approach because it puts a mirror to the idea of the “us versus them” mentality that some folk have when faced with any culture not their own.  At the same time I liked the idea that Latinos would “get” some of the jokes and scenes, so I hope that the book is received well in that sense.
9.       What books do you like to read?
I read just about everything!  I write in a variety of different genres and that love of experimentation and exploration definitely factors into my reading choices.  You can find everything from romance to horror to children’s books and everything in between!
10.   Are you working on any other stories?
Yep!  I have two projects going on right now.  First is the sequel to The Day the Words Went Away, which will feature more crazy shenanigans, but will take place across much of Europe.  In addition, I am accepting submissions for my “Welcome to the Future” anthology.   The open call ends in September 15th and the book will be published around November.
For more information, log onto http://www.christinaescamilla.com
UP NEXT: A review for The Day the Words Went Away

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