Author. Teacher. Coach. Counselor. Therapist. Mother. Wife. Friend. Daughter. Sister. Pet Mother. Human. Not in any particular order. Sometimes all at the same time.
Here is where I blog about writing and mental health, which, if you are a writer, you understand the connection. I also run an interview series featuring a variety of authors who talk about their books and the realities of publishing.
1. What message are you hoping
people will receive when they read your book?
Although the book is labeled as general fiction, it’s better
suited as a new adult novel. In college, most students are exposed to new ideas
surrounding feminism, sexuality, and gender studies, but along with those
subjects in school, they’re also learning about creating and nurturing
relationships. They’re delving into new interests, too. With all of this idea
of “new,” it’s very easy to get lost in uncharted waters and feel exposed. As a
new adult reader, I want them to understand that their lives and their
decisions are malleable, they have the freedom to choose, and they have the
options to make things better, especially in male-dominated industries like
music. Life is messy, but it doesn’t have to stay that way.
2. Why did you write this
I was just beginning my career as a college professor,
and all of my college friends were, for lack of a better term, “breaking up”
with each other. Our friendships were being called off over boys in bands, and
boys not in bands, for a series of misunderstandings and our inability to communicate
those feelings of jealousy and insecurity.
For about seven years we’d come together as a result of
our adoration of punk rock bands and created so many memories chasing dreams,
and appropriately, at a show, while I was alone and my friends were elsewhere
acting disinterested what the band had to offer, I realized everyone in my
group came together out of circumstance and not love.
Other than Caitlin Moran’s HOW TO WRITE A GIRL, there
was no book about the toxic friendships that were birthed out of the music
industry, and similarly, how to get over them. I know there are many, many
others in my situation and I wanted to provide an optimistic take on it, and
also, heal my heart at the same time.
3. What has been the hardest
part of the publishing process?
Strangely, getting publishers and agents wasn’t that
hard. What is much harder is marketing. I understand this is a very niche sort
of book because of its dual timeline and focus on a subculture, so finding the
readership for this book has been a challenge.
4. What has been the biggest
(pleasant) surprise in your publishing journey?
This goes hand-in-hand with the previous question. When
I finally do get a reader, it warms my heart when those that have read it just
Recently, one of my readers told me that my work was
transformative. That they looked at this industry and their own band obsession
in an entirely different light. And through this, I have been able to bond with
people I otherwise would have never met before.
5. Would you write a sequel to
your book? Why or why not?
Yes! I’ve actually thought about returning to this book
to discuss the complexities of long-distance relationships, as well as how our
careers shift and shape our adulthood, and the choices we may make in our
“mid-life” crisis. While I’ve started an outline, I have yet to write a word.
6. What author or book has
influenced your writing?
For a long time, I prided myself on being a fan of
Vonnegut and Saunders. A part of me still adores their cynicism and their
post-modern form, which is probably why LOVE FROM THE BARRICADE was written in
a dual timeline, but I have shifted away from that slightly.
Rainbow Rowell’s FANGIRL inspired and gave me the
courage to discuss fanfiction within bandom, and similarly, Latinx women
writers like Natalia Sylvester and Erika L. Sanchez, have paved a path to
discuss my Mexican heritage in a way that I’ve never explored before––ever.
7. You are stranded on an
island with only 3 books. What are their titles?
WHEN LOVE WALKED IN
LITTLE FIRES EVERYWHERE
8. What is your philosophy
Rejection is necessary.
I’ve been rejected in many industries other than
writing, academia and the entertainment industry to name a few, and it’s forced
me to see my work from different perspectives. Not just as a creator, but as a
businesswoman as well.
No one is obligated to listen to everything they’re
told, but most critiques have large takeaways that can actually improve your
work. It also provides a creator with a moment to self-reflect and assesses their
creative process as well as their creations. By doing so, you become a much
more self-aware and critical human being.
9. Do you have a day job? What
I’m an English professor at a local community college.
Inside and out, my life is words, and I couldn’t be prouder.
1.What message are you hoping people will receive
when they read your book?
I hope people will see that life
is hard, there are many things that can go wrong or that are hurtful, but that
how you live and how you handle those situations are in your control.You can choose to let them destroy you or you
can choose to learn from those moments and allow them to make you stronger and
better than you used to be.Rosina has
to face many things that most people only hear about but she fights every day
to be better than what she was handed.She struggles to remain human even though she has a monster whispering
in her head.I hope people that struggle
with their own monsters can see that there is a choice.
2.Why did you write this book?
I wrote this book because I was
looking for a way out of my own hell.I
have had to face many things in my life that have made me want to quit, to just
lay down and never get up.I know there
are others out there that struggle as much as, or more than I do and I want
them to know they are not alone.Rosina
faces a real monster but to many of us in the real world, those suffering with
PTSD, depression, anxiety, etc, their monster is themselves.Their body and mind reject what is normal or
pervert their thoughts and feelings and it is an everyday struggle and I want them to have an outlet as I did
3.What has been the hardest part of the publishing
Honestly, putting together all the
different requirements for each publisher.Each time I submitted my manuscript, I had to do something different,
some wanted just a few chapters, some wanted it to be single-spaced, some
needed a query letter, and some needed just a synopsis.If I didn’t know my book inside and out
before that, I sure did after.
4.What has been the biggest (pleasant) surprise in
your publishing journey?
Just how amazing my publisher
is.This is my first time publishing and
they helped me with every step.
5.Would you write a sequel to your book? Why or
Yes!I’m actually half-way done with the second
installment.I know the story isn’t
over yet and I want to share the rest with everyone.And I believe that my characters’ growth and
achievements are something that people would look forward to reading about.
6.What author or book has influenced your writing?
I started writing when I was
around thirteen years old, nothing fancy or even worth trying to publish, but
it was my way of coping with things going on around me.And at that age, I would have to say that I
was mostly influenced by J.R.R. Tolkien, I read the Hobbit around that time and
fell in love with his stories, and later read the Lord of the Rings trilogy,
only increasing my love.Not long after
that, I found Anne Rice and her vampire chronicles and they forever changed my
love for vampires and reading.
7.You are stranded on an island with only 3 books.
What are their titles?
The Vampire Lestat (By Anne Rice)
The Dorina Basarab series – Midnight’s Daughter (by Karen Chance)
Shifting Shadows (by Patricia Briggs)
8.What is your philosophy about rejection?
I knew I would be rejected, even
J.K. Rowling was rejected several times and if she was and still such a
success, then I can as well.