Kim Baccellia is a Latina author who writes young adult ethnic novels. In this interview Kim talks about how her Mexican roots influenced her latest novel, Earrings of Ixtumea, and about writing and publishing.
Welcome to Blogcritics, Kim. It’s nice to have you here. Why don’t you start by telling us a bit about your book, and what inspired you to write such a story?
Earrings of Ixtumea is a fast-paced fantasy featuring a young Latina who discovers ancient traditions in her family history that propel her to a magical civilization, where she struggles against evil forces that threaten her family, her heart, and her life.
I was inspired to write this story when I was doing my own research on my Mexican roots. My grandfather didn’t talk much about his history but it wasn’t until I took classes at the university that I found out so much about my rich heritage. Plus, I was sick of the fantasies that had the usual Anglo heroine.
How would you describe your creative process while writing this novel? Was it stream-of-consciousness writing, or did you first write an outline? How long did it take you to write it?
The idea came to me first as a dream then from my frustration at not finding any fantasies that had Latinos in them. I then took a novel-writing class through UCI’s extension program, which helped me with plotting a novel. Later, I went to my writing mentor’s home once a week for critique sessions.
The story took me two years to write and a year or so to revise.
Have you ever suffered from writer’s block? What seems to work for unleashing your creativity?
Oh, yes! I also found it’s not productive to wait for a so-called muse. I believe the only way a book gets written and completed is if the author writes everyday.
Some ways I help unleash my creativity is by reading, putting together songs with the theme of my novel, and just writing.
How was your experience in looking for a publisher? What words of advice would you offer those novice authors who are in search of one?
My biggest advice to give novice authors is to not give up. Talent is only a small part of this business. You need to be persistent and develop a rhino skin. Don’t take criticism to heart. This business is very subjective.
What type of book promotion seems to work the best for you?
Word of mouth. Also the virtual tour I did back in August was great. I love teensreadtoo, which offers reasonable rates for advertising. It’s only $20 a month. MySpace also has been great for opening the door to more reviews.
What is your favorite book of all time? Why?
House of Spirits by Isabel Allende. I loved the paranormal aspect of the story along with the strong Latina main character. I love all of Isabel Allende’s books.
Do you have a website/blog where readers may learn more about you and your work?
Do you have another novel on the works? Would you like to tell readers about your current or future projects.
Right now I’m shopping around a young adult paranormal, Crossed Out, where a girl with a major attitude problem has to get over herself or the world as she knows it will go to hell. Literally.
I’m also working on a YA romance, Step Stone Away, about a teen who loves romance and finds a piece of jewelry that causes romance to happen to those around her but at a cost. Plus I’m finishing up my more edgy YA, Bullets of Truth.