Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Q&A with S.L. Hulen

S.L. Hulen was born to an American aerospace engineer and a Mexican beauty who met in the flower shop of the famed Hotel Sylvia’s in Ciudad Juarez. The rich history and mysterious locations of the southwest serve as the setting for her first novel, Misplaced.
She presently lives with her husband in Phoenix where the flavors, traditions, and soul of the southwest continue to inspire her.

1.        What inspired you to write MISPLACED?
It’s a story I’ve had in my head for more than twenty years now.  Over time, a few details have changed, but like many authors I’ve spoken to, the initial idea for the story came to me in a dream.


2.        How would you describe the relationship between Menefra and Khara?
Since they’re twins, they’re closer than most siblings, but as they grow into adults, the underlying tension of having their futures chosen for them begins to tear them apart. Khara, the oldest, feels the burden of her position and envies Menefra’s freedom.  Menefra feels unimportant next to her accomplished sister; this fuels the jealousy that eventually rips them apart. 


3.        How was Khara able to use Victoria as her vessel and why?
In Victoria, Khara sees a fiercely independent woman, yet at the same time, one who puts the needs of others above her own.  Khara initially uses Victoria’s generosity to navigate the modern world but very quickly, she engages her as a sounding board, particularly regarding moral issues.


4.       How would you say Victoria and Khara evolved in this story?
I chose the name “Misplaced” because in the beginning of the story, Khara is physically misplaced in time but extremely clear about who she is and the role she must fill.  Victoria on the other hand, knows exactly where she is, but is emotionally misplaced.  My story goal was to show their individual journeys towards discovery.


5.       What are some of the most important lessons that Victoria and Khara learned in their journey?
Victoria’s most important lesson was to learn to trust, she’s done everything on her own for so long that it doesn’t come easily to her.  For Khara, this time away from Egypt gave her time to explore her beliefs and for the first time, she makes a few daring choices of her own.


6.       What was the hardest part about writing this book?
Because I’ve thought about it so much, writing the story was the easiest part. I’d have to say that editing was hard for me.  It’s hard to give up those details that had become so important, even when I realized they didn’t actually help the story line.  During most of the writing of this book I had one and sometimes two full-time jobs, which left little time for writing.  


7.        What do you hope readers will gain from your book?
My goal was to not to fill in every gap, but to leave enough unanswered questions to keep readers pondering the possible historical consequences of such an event. 


8.        What do you like best and what do you like least about being a writer?
Best is easy, I love seeing the characters and their experiences come to life.  What did I like least?  I would have to say that when you undertake a story, you put much of your life on hold.  I am rather a work first and play later sort of person, so I always felt like I had this huge project that I had to be chipping away at all the time.  It was wonderful to finally say, “I’m finished!”


9.       Are you working on anything right now?
I’ve started my next novel.  I think Victoria needs another adventure, and this one will take her deep into Mexico, in search of her family’s history.  She isn’t going to like what she finds….


10.     If your book would be turned into a movie, who would you imagine playing the part of Khara?
I think Zoe Saldana would make a beautiful Khara.  She has a certain seriousness and feline grace about her that I think fits Khara perfectly.  She’ also so exotic looking, and slight, just like Khara. 


11.     And finally, what do you think is in store for the future of Latino literature?
That’s a fantastic question, especially when you consider that there are roughly 40 million Latino readers in this country.  I hope to see more books that target this significant market.  Misplaced will be translated into Spanish, many other authors are doing the same. 

I believe it is our responsibility as writers to chronicle the time in which we live, in my case it happens to be during this wonderful emergency of Latinos appreciating their roots, even as we strive to become model U.S. citizens.  My mother was born in Mexico, I grew up a half-mile from the border and I couldn’t be prouder.

UP NEXT: A review of Misplaced.

No comments:

Post a Comment