1. When did you know you wanted to be a writer? What were some of your first steps toward making your dream a reality? How would you say most of your stories are conceived? Dreams? Research? Experience?
I’ve always been a reader, since I learned how to read. I started writing pretty early on, and although I wrote more or less depending on what I was doing, I always had at least one story on the go. At points in my life when I was less busy with studies or work I tried and investigate submitting stories or books but never explored it further. Over two years ago, after I finished writing a new novel (part 1 on a trilogy I’m hoping to publish some time before next summer called ‘Angelic Business’) I sent inquiries to agents with little response. Then I read about self-publishing and decided to try it with one of the books I’d written a long while back ‘The Man Who Never Was’. And I’ve kept going ever since.
My stories usually come from something I see, hear, or read about that sparks a ‘what if?’ kind of scenario. I might have many ideas but if one keeps bothering me all the time and I keep thinking more and more details about the scenario, I’ll go with it. And sometimes whilst writing a story I’ll come across something that gets me interested. The ‘Escaping Psychiatry’ stories (and I’m planning on more books) have as a protagonist a psychiatrist, like me, and I guess some of my experiences have gone into that.
2. What 3 things would you like readers to know about you?
That I’d love to have a bookshop. A very special one, that felt like a sanctuary for everybody, with indie books too, little gifts and art and crafts exhibitions, a nice coffee/teashop, events organized….I also love theatre and movies and I wrote my PhD on Film and had a great time whilst researching for it (but I’m terrible at taking pictures). And as a random fact, that I’ve gone parachuting a couple of times. Oh, I love owls…I’m afraid that makes four…
3. Tell us about your books. Genre, titles, any favorite characters? What can we look forward to from you in the near future? WIP’s, upcoming releases? Special projects?
I have quite a few books out. I publish all my books (and blog) in Spanish and English, so that makes two of each! I have published a family saga with very special characters ‘The Man Who Never Was’(although I really like Jesús, my central character, I think his sister Stephie is one of my favourite ever. She is a child prodigy and can tell the future), a YA novella about sibling rivalry with a touch of the paranormal (‘Twin Evils?’), Escaping Psychiatry, that is a collection of three novellas (psychological thrillers, with a psychiatrist, Mary, as the main protagonist.
Because of the evident professional connection, Mary is also part of the family), ‘Family, Lust and Camera’ a fairly dark novella about an obsession and voyeurism, and two romances ‘Click Me Happy!’ a novel about the effects of social media on a media-naïve librarian, where the reader can choose between three endings (an unhappy, a neutral and a happy one), and ‘I Love Your Cupcakes’ my most recent one, a novel that takes place in the world of TV baking game shows, with a fantastic cast of characters (I really like all the main characters in the novel, Dulce, Adelfa and Storm. And their love interests are pretty nice too). And I’m currently in the process of editing and translating a YA/NA series, ‘Angelic Business’, where a girl (Petra, but as she doesn’t like her name she goes by Pink) suddenly discovers that her everyday life hides an incredible destiny, and angels and demons are fighting over her.
4. Is there a common thread in your books? How do your values show up in your writing? What do you want readers to take from your writing?
I’m not sure there is. I write in different genres, although apart from in ‘The Man’ all the rest of my novels have female protagonists. I like to put my characters outside of their comfort zone and create challenges that will test what they’re made of. I’m also interested in complex characters but credible people. More than anything I want readers to have a good time and enjoy the stories. And make them theirs. One of the things that give me more satisfaction is when people talk to me about my characters as if they were people they knew and got truly engaged with.
5. What do you look for in a good book? In what ways would you say your books exhibit these qualities?
I love a good story. On the other hand I like to get under the character’s skin, and I like books that make me think and take me to places I haven’t been (not only physically, but also with regards to feelings or thoughts). I’m not particularly descriptive or poetic in my writing although I can appreciate that in other people’s writing. But sometimes, I just want something light and fun…Ah, and I love horror stories, so very scary is also good.
6. What are some of the best social media, marketing, and publicity tips you’ve come across? Any pitfalls you can warn us about?
I’d love to have any good tips. I think it takes time. Yes, be social. Don’t only talk about your book all the time. Beware of being overly enthusiastic in Twitter. I have been suspended quite a few times there by simply replying to messages so…I enjoy the blog most of all, and the direct interaction with people. I’ve met many great writers through social media and they have become friends. And not only writers, talented musicians, painters and artists…and people from all walks of life. I’d say if you find a social media outlet that you enjoy and you’re good at, focus more on that. Being everywhere is not necessarily very productive if you don’t quite understand how they work. Oh, I like Pinterest and I find it a good place to get inspiration for costumes, settings, locales…
7. What are some things you know now about writing and being an author that you wish someone had told you at the very beginning?
Mmmmm….That the hardest thing comes after you’ve written the book. Writing I’ve always enjoyed and would always carry on writing, but trying to sell books and get them to readers is not something most of us had thought about when we figured we might be writers some day. Just keep going.
8. Along that same line, what are some of your favorite resources for writers?
I’ve mentioned Pinterest already. I do enjoy checking and following other people’s blogs, and Triberr, Blog Loving and Networked Blogs are great resources to be able to share good content. I rely on Hootsuite for trying to keep up with my Twitter account. I’ve recently joined the team at Literary World Interviews, a blog where a variety of people share suggestions, advice and reviews, and I recommend it. Oh, and writers groups, formal or not so formal area great place to get tips and gain knowledge. And most people are very kind and generous with their time.
9. What lifts your spirits when you’re discouraged?
I took up meditation a bit over a year ago and I’m trying to use the techniques. I love workouts and going for a walk usually makes me feel better. Or reading, or watching a film…Chatting to friends…
10. What tips can you offer towards building and maintaining a strong support system as a writer?
I did mention writers groups. Be they physical or online, there are great communities out there. I’ve also found a community of bloggers that are very supportive and they’ve become like friends and family to me. Of course, it’s great if your own family is supportive, but some things, maybe only somebody else who is doing the same can fully understand.
Thanks so much Dariel for having me as your guest and thanks to your readers too.
My personal links:
My Amazon page:
My Twitter handle:
My Facebook page:
Some of my books are available in other places but I’ll leave you the Amazon links only, otherwise it will be very long:
The Man Who Never Was
Click Me Happy!
Family, Lust and Cameras:
I Love Your Cupcakes: