Tell us briefly about your recently published book and what you feel is the most important topic/sub-message you share.
Gabriela and the Widow is a very personal novel not at all based on personal experience. It is a novel about two women, one dying—The Widow; the other—Gabriela, is blossoming. It is an archetypal Mother-Daughter novel working the idea that culture passes through women. It is built on the notion that our memory is fallible and that our stories have to be written down for them to be meaningful. It is a novel about the transformative power of love and respect. It is also a novel built on the idea that women share deep and universal secrets regardless of which culture they live in.
It has been my experience, some things come quite easily (like creating the setting) and other things aren’t so easy (like deciding on a title). What comes easily to you and what do you find more difficult?
Discipline is my answer to this question—I write in scenes. Scenes have structure. Structure means setting, character description, action, dialogue, intruder, conflict, resolution, climax and hook to the next scene. My experience has taught me this—you’re not writing a novel, you’re writing a dramatic scene. Each scene hooks to another scene. Scenes link together in plot tracks. Plot tracks are built on objects, characters, actions, or symbols. This process is an integrated one that starts with—the scene and its parts. I’ve put all of this information on the blog I keep with Robert J. Ray, check the blog out here.
Have you ever suffered from writer’s block? If yes, how did you ‘cure’ it?
No. I have never suffered from writer’s block. I write by hand on yellowed lined paper. I set a timer and write until the timer goes off. My discipline is this—finish what you start. Honor your words. Type up what you write. The most important thing—work with other writers. Force yourself to put pages on the table. Listen to what your readers tell you. Writer’s block can mean, and it means different things to different writers, that you’re afraid of what you’re doing. Get it out in the world. Don’t listen, as Natalie Goldberg say, to “monkey mind.” Monkey mind shuts you down.