I wanted to write something in a voice that was unique to who I was. And I wanted something that was accessible to the person who works at Dunkin Donuts or who drives a bus, someone who comes home with their feet hurting like my father, someone who's busy and has too many children, like my mother.
I grew up listening to the Beatles and being an ardent Beatles fan when I was in third grade all the way to adulthood, and listening to all kinds of music that came to us either at the flea market or in our living rooms or on the 'Ed Sullivan' show - all these places we were influenced by.
I was a terrible student. Still, I managed to get into college, but my daydreaming threatened to sabotage me. I used behavior modification to break the cycle. I started by setting an arbitrary time limit on studying: for every 15 minutes of study, I'd allow myself an hour of daydreaming. I set the alarm.
One of my favorite writers is Hans Christian Anderson. His stories speak to the times.
All of my work is influenced by fairy tales, and I hope my work shows Hans Christian Anderson's influence.
I was a little press writer when the National Endowment for the Arts came to my rescue and gave me an award. I couldn't buy a light bulb. Almost more than the money, the awards are important because they show that someone believes in you.
I was silent as a child, and silenced as a young woman; I am taking my lumps and bumps for being a big mouth, now, but usually from those whose opinion I don't respect.
Writing is like sewing together what I call these 'buttons,' these bits and pieces.
I spent my thirties living out of boxes and moving every six months to a year. It was my cloud period: I just wandered like a cloud for ten years, following the food supply. I was a hunter, gatherer, an academic migrant.
Well, I'm Buddhist, Ray, and so part of my Buddhism has allowed me to look a little more deeply at people and the events in my life that created me. And I think a lot of that Buddhism comes out in the world view in this novel.
In the business world, I did fairly well, but wasn't happy. A bout of sciatica put me flat on my back. All I could do was read, listen to my mother's stories about the Sandovals, and daydream: a return to self. My writing career had begun.
I always tell people that I became a writer not because I went to school but because my mother took me to the library. I wanted to become a writer so I could see my name in the card catalog.
I feel comfortable in Spanish, I chat like a parrot, but I don't have the confidence in Spanish that I do in English.
I've always read broadly: literary fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, chick lit, historical, dystopian, nonfiction, memoir. I've even read Westerns. I prefer female protagonists.
Revenge only engenders violence, not clarity and true peace. I think liberation must come from within.
I think my family and closest friends are learning about my need to withdraw, and I am learning how to restore and store my energy to both serve the community to the best of my ability and to serve my writer's heart.
In my youth, daydreaming nurtured me, provided a safe haven. I'd sleep for twelve hours and even when awake escape to the safe place in my mind.
I think that Mexican-American kids live in a global world. It's not even bi-, it's multi-. You know, for those of us who grew up with different countries on our block, different nationalities, you know, we moved into multiple worlds.
I am a woman, and I am a Latina. Those are the things that make my writing distinctive. Those are the things that give my writing power.
I thought that strange syntax was the language of story books. I didn't realize those were poor translations... English from Edwardian times.