Please welcome my special guest, artist, musician and novelist Anna-Marie Lopez. Her first novel, The Tortilla Children, has just been published by Onda Books and was inspired by her father. After turning down a scholarship to Howard Payne University, she decided to attend San Antonio College and the University of Texas at San Antonio. Later, she apprenticed in graphics and fine arts for a year with a sculptor and painter. She has worked as a graphics designer and production artist for several magazines, including Texas Monthly. In addition, she’s worked in the music industry and has also been a pen specialist, working with celebrities such as Donald Trump, Tom Hanks, and Brooke Shields. She has worked with the hungry and homeless for years. Currently, she’s hard at work on a vampire tale. At heart, though, Anne-Marie is a simple person who enjoys her privacy and quiet.Visit Anna-Marie at Annamarielopez.com.
Congratulations on the release of your first novel, The Tortilla Children. Before we talk about the book, can you tell us a little about your childhood?
I was a very quiet and shy child. The world of books became my reality; the words the stories my dreams. I could slay dragons. I could be a knight or a princess. I could have golden hair or scales. I could travel the world. My mother's and my first language was Spanish, but we tried so hard to sound like everyone else.
On your website, you write about how your talent and creativity was thwarted as a child and how you channeled your anger and frustration into becoming a novelist and artist. Can you talk about this and the importance of encouraging children to express their imagination?
My parents just wanted me to have a comfortable life, but it seems now more than ever that money is more important than anything. There seems to be little reason to create unless it brings money or fame. We have all become lemmings. And we try so hard to please and gain attention. "Look at me" is the modern mantra. We are so afraid to "ruffle" feathers. I don't purposely plan on ruffling feathers, but I rarely go back over what I have said or written to see if I was not pc that I don't censor myself. Ask your child to make up a story or draw a picture. Give them a camera and send them outdoors. TURN THE DAMN TV OFF! Let them dream. Let them mispronounce or use the incorrect word.