Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Q&A with Julia DeBarrioz

Today, we have Julia DeBarrioz, author of Compañera. 

Marginalized young women have a tendency to disappear in New Mexico. PCT Bounty hunter Dakota del Toro knows the local vampire coven and their pet werewolves are to blame, but the badge she carries means she requires pesky things like admissible evidence and warrants to act—however when a bereaved mother comes to Dakota for help in recovering her daughter from the Lobos Diablos gang this bounty hunter will risk her career, her freedom, and her very life to bring Pilar Guzmán home.



    1.       What inspired you to write Compañera and what is the significance of the title?

Dakota del Toro is a character whose story I have been carrying with me since I was just a teenager, and I’m in my thirties now. She’s tough but goofy and always sticking her neck out to try and do the right thing.
The plot of this book examines the vulnerability of undocumented immigrants, particularly women, to sex trafficking. In this story vampires and werewolves are to blame, but it’s sadly an allegory for our own world which is too full of real monsters who prey on women. You can read harrowing stories about it with just a few clicks on Google. According to the ACLU “In the United States, victims of trafficking are almost exclusively immigrants, and mostly immigrant women.”
The title Compañera refers to Dakota’s involvement in a revolution that promises to put an end to the abuse of women, at least in the vampire world.

2.       How does this differ from a traditional vampire story (if it does)?

In a couple ways, if I may toot my own horn. I know my book embraces some tropes but I hope it’s presented in a fun and original way. I’ve found it’s fairly hard to find a good vampire series that centers on Latino and Iberian culture. So, I write what I want to read. If you have any recommendations for a book I’ve missed I’m all ears!
I also feel like my book stands apart because I work in the antique business, and I have a good understanding of what life was like "back in the day". I’m familiar with the objects they used, the cultural values, the society norms, etc., and I think it gives me some insight into how someone who was born in say 1601 might behave in this modern day. I love thinking about how someone that old would have so much wisdom and insight in many ways, yet be so lost in others.

3.       What genre would you put this book in?

This book falls into the urban fantasy genre. There are elements of vampires and werewolves and magic, but it’s set in the recognizable world of Santa Fe, New Mexico.

4.       What are the intended goals of the main characters?

Dakota is a bounty hunter for the Preternatural Control Team. Basically there's a lycanthropy epidemic and it’s her job to bring infected people in for treatment before they turn furry and pose a threat to society. But she has a side mission to bring home these missing women that she knows have gone missing because of the vampires and werewolves, and she's willing to break the rules to do it. She meets a man along the way who on the surface seems like a nice normal human gallery owner, but as it turns out he's not what he seems and his goals are very similar to her own.

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

As a female I suppose women’s issues have always been of foremost interest to me. I’ve been very fortunate, but I think it’s important to understand the lives of those who haven’t had as many advantages. As I was writing this the #metoo movement exploded, and it was hard not to feel some vindication in that. Like finally, our time has come. It's something that's been boiling under the surface for all of us in all walks of life.

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

I suppose first and foremost I hope my readers will be entertained! And at the same time, maybe walk away with a bit more awareness of these issues, and I hope more empathy too. Empathy is something I think we could use a whole lot more of these days.

7.       Who are some of your favorite authors?

I have an eclectic list. Arturo Pérez-Reverte. Elizabeth Peters. Tom Robbins. Anne Rice. Craig Johnson. Jo Nesbø. Larry McMurtry. Seth Skorkowsky. To name just a handful, really. I’m constantly reading.

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 dear. I think every author has a running cast list in their head for their book, ha! I think Cote de Pablo would play an amazing Dakota del Toro! And maybe…Maluma and Antonio Banderas c. 1995 as supporting actors? Hee hee…

9.       Are you working on anything right now?

I am always working on a handful of things, my muse bounces around like a ping pong ball. Right now I’m buttoning up edits for Dakota del Toro #2, as well as working on a spinoff story set in 1860s California featuring a bandido and a vampire slayer.

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

I think that any art based in such a vivid and complex culture can go nowhere but up! 


For more info on Julia DeBarrioz, go to www.juliadebarrioz.com
 

Monday, January 22, 2018

Review: EL DORADO BAY by Mary Schultz

A young U.S.-raised Mexico-born man brings only his hope, his complicated past and his chef’s talent to begin life anew in an isolated Mexican coastal village. When the wreckage of his past closes in, honor and love square off, and the fireworks begin.


Reviewed by: Celia
Rating: 2.5 stars

 

Review: The plan was to make El Dorado Bay Resort the most unique in all of Mexico. All David wanted was a job and forget the past he left behind. Born in Mexico and raised in the U.S, he aims to forge a new life to where his roots took shape.

 

Story depicted vibrant and colorful imagery of the Mexican landscapes; however, I felt the plot was somewhat lagging and ambiguous. I couldn’t see a clear lineage in the story. Where was it going? What was the point in all of it? Would we ever reach a definitive conclusion?  I honestly was lost by the whole thing.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Q&A with Philip Rivera


 


 

1.       What inspired you to write Suburban Luchador: Tales from Burb Side?

My inspiration for writing Suburban Luchador: Tales from the Burb Side was my sister who encouraged me to take my brief, humorous Facebook posts about life as a husband and father and post them to a blog for a greater audience to enjoy.  

 

 

2.       Where did most of the stories come from?

Most of my stories come from comical, slice-of-life scenarios from my misadventures as father, husband, high school teacher and whimsical thinker.

 

3.       In the summary, it is quoted that “[Suburban Luchador is the] everyday, luchador mask-wearing, suburban family man who's anything but common.” Could you please elaborate?

I consider myself a regular suburban man.  I water my lawn, pull the occasional weed, attempt and fail at various DIY home projects, take the kids to the park, and drive a 2014 minivan that I secretly believe is an illegal street racer.  I live in a fairly normal world, but my imagination adds a humorous spectrum to it.

 

 

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

I explore issues of parenting, marriage and being a high school teacher of migrant students.  I chose these topics because they’re close to my heart and relatable to people from every walk of life.  I also find that misunderstandings between men and women and adults and teenagers are some of the greatest scenarios for humorous writing.

 

 

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

The hardest part about writing this book was finding the time to write.  As a father of 3 young children, as soon I get home and the garage door rises, a Pandora’s box lies awaiting.

 

 

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

My hope is that my readers will find the joy and humor that is present in our everyday, mundane, life situations.  Because if you can’t laugh about accidentally drinking your son’s urine, what’s the point of living?

 

 

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

What I like best about being a writer is being able to share the whimsical, offbeat, and hopefully humorous perspective I have on life.  What I like least is performing this one-man sideshow to an empty or unresponsive room.

 

8.       Who are some of your favorite authors?

Some of my favorite authors are Jack Handy and Joel C. Rosenberg.

 

9.       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.)

If my book were to become a movie, the role of Suburban Luchador would be played by Eugenio Derbez.

 

10.   Are you working on anything right now?

 I am currently working on Suburban Luchador 2: Suburban Luchador vs. The Big Gulp, the second round of ringside suburban stories.

 

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

As a Hispanic teacher working with migrant youth, I see the hope, imagination and resilience that lies within the upcoming generation. Although many of them grow up in poverty, what they lack in material wealth they possess in cultural riches.  Their families pass on to them the stories from their homeland; consejos about life, spirituality, family and relationships.  I believe these young people will weave these stories into every vocation they fill.  Ours is a culture of stories passed on from generation to generation, so I believe Latino literature will continue to be passed on through today’s young Latinos as they influence social media, academia, and the business world. Estamos en buenas manos!

 
For more info, visit http://suburbanluchador.com/

Friday, January 5, 2018

Q&A with Jennifer Brasington-Crowley



Jennifer Brasington-Crowley is an author, illustrator, artist and animal advocate. She is a graduate of E.W. Scripps School of Journalism and an advertising copywriter and graphic designer. She has been writing all of her life, from poems and short stories, to children’s books and now contemporary fiction.

She is the author of the Lyndsay and Lainey Lion children’s book series (www.sunnyvillezoo.com), as well as contemporary fiction The Woman Who Fell to Earth, Dolphin Song, and Dolphin Magic available for download from Amazon.com.

She currently lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, with her husband and children, two dogs and three cats.

Learn more at www.sunnyvillezoo.com





 
 
1.       What inspired you to write Dolphin Magic: Love Goes On?
 
I published my first romance novel, Dolphin Song, in February of 2016. The ending was somewhat of a cliff hanger, and I had many people ask me to write the sequel. I admittedly did not want to write a sequel – I had finished the story of Janie and Christian. But after I published my second book, and still had people requesting a sequel to Dolphin Song, I relented. It actually became a joy to write after I decided on the angle I was going to take.
 
 
2.       How does this differ from a traditional love story (if it does)?
 
This story focuses more on familial relationships, and how our upbringing effects our life choices. The romance is quite accidental, and is almost a Shakespearean tragedy more so than a heart-warming romance.
 
3.       How do dolphins come into play, if at all?
 
There is a dolphin, a dolphin who made its first appearance in Dolphin Song, acting as a catalyst for change of the main character. In this novel, the dolphin represents hope. Its appearance occurs at desperate times, and again transforms the main characters, offering strength and courage.
 
 
4.       What are the intended goals of the main characters?
 
I want my characters to grow into better versions of themselves after having met the other person. I love how the people you meet in life transform you into the person you become, whether for better or for worse, but in the case of these characters, definitely for the better.
 
 
5.       What are some of the main issues that you explore in this book and why did you explore them?
 
I explore a lot about family ties in this book – how you are connected to family and why, and at what point do you get to make a decision on who you want your family to be. What are your familial obligations and how much do they matter when you are forced to choose between them and something better.
 
 
6.       What was the hardest part about writing this book?
 
The hardest part about writing this book was trying to fulfill my readers’ desire for a sequel, while trying to keep my own integrity and writing a story I felt deserved to be told. Once I had the idea, however, it was a pleasure exploring the characters and developing a story around them.
 
 
7.       What do you hope readers will gain from your book?
 
 I hope to bring emotions to my readers – whether it’s joy or sorrow, hope or despair, being able to move somebody with words is my goal
 
 
8.       What do you like best and what do you like least about being a writer?
 
I love bringing characters to life. I am not an action/adventure writer. I love character development and being able to transform a character from the beginning to the end of the story. What I like least about being a writer is selling my goods. It’s difficult to be an introverted creative and put on a salesman hat and hock your wares.
 
9.       Who are some of your favorite authors?
 
I love Ray Bradbury, Edgar Allen Poe, James Herriot, and I recently discovered a contemporary author T. C. Boyle. I love rich characters and moving stories, and I love a wicked ending. I am not a happily ever after reader.
 
10.   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 think Gabriel Aubrey with his green eyes and wavy surfer hair would be a beautiful Christian, and Genesis Rodriguez would make a lovely Marina – gorgeous, scrappy and independent.  The part of Miguel would hands-down be played by Ruben Blades. Oscar Isaac (my sister-in-law’s – who greatly inspired the character of Marina - cousin) would play the luscious Jaime. It’s all planned out now, let’s make a movie!
 
11.   Are you working on anything right now?
 
I am always searching for my next story, for inspiration to hit me and get my creative energy flowing. But right now, I am focused on promoting Dolphin Magic until I get that surge.
 
12.   And, finally, what do you think is in store for the future of Latino literature?
 
I would think that with the advancement of Latinos in the entertainment industry, like television shows like The Walking Dead and its spinoff, Fear the Walking Dead, which feature prevalent Latino characters, that authors would be inclined to write with more Latino heroes and heroines. It is time for a Latino superhero, don’t you think?