How has your upbringing influenced your writing?
In lots of ways. I grew up in the Caribbean, in the Dominican Republican, where the tropical sun makes colors more brilliant and textures more pronounced. The island taught me about settings, characters, conflict and plot twists. Anything could happen any day, and even the implausible seemed routine. Dominicans are artists at heart and inspiration was easy to find. Their beliefs, stories and even their music, has influenced my style.
How would you describe your creative process while writing The Curse Giver?
My initial creative process is subconscious at first and then tied by a very loose outline to my writing journey, which entails equal measures of disciplined plotting and stream-of-consciousness writing. Most of the time my creative process is sparked by a scene, a vivid image that fuels an intricate plot. I hate to repeat this because literature snobs everywhere frown upon it, but it’s the truth: Both the Stonewiser series and The Curse Giver were born in my dreams.
In the case of The Curse Giver, I dreamed about this wretched man, bitter and angry, who had been cursed to live in fear and die in agony and was desperately searching for a way to defeat his curse. The image was very powerful and unforgettable. It got me thinking. What type of curse ailed him? Something very dark, I told myself, something shocking, something that forced him to straddle the boundaries between good and evil, duty and crime. From then on, the story took off, acquiring a life of its own, with the outline as a guide but the plot twists and the characters in charge. That’s how I wrote The Curse Giver.
When did you first know you could be a writer?
I think I’ve known it all along. It was just a matter of finding the right time in my life to go for it.
What is the most rewarding part of being an author?
The readers, definitively the readers.
What genre are you most comfortable writing?
I’m most comfortable writing fantasy, romance and historical fiction. I really like to mix all of these elements. I often use medieval history to validate the details in my fantasy stories just as I use romance to deepen, enrich and authenticate my characters. My latest novel, The Curse Giver, is all of that plus mystery and intrigue.
When or where do you get your best writing ideas?
The shower, definitively the shower. Maybe it’s because I can’t sing, so instead, I think. Seriously, I think that after a long night writing, a hot shower relaxes the body, clears the mind and allows the stories to flow. I also get a lot of ideas in my dreams when I’m asleep. Driving is good too. In fact, I have a pen and pad always ready in my car. The scribbles are really hard to read, and so that you know, I only update my notes during long red lights.
Have you ever used anyone from your real life encounters in any of your books?
I’ve never consciously set out to model one of my characters after anyone in particular. On the other hand, I’m sure I’ve used all of my life experiences and observations to construct my worlds and conceive my characters. In that sense, everything I do, every place I go and everyone I’ve met has somehow contributed to my stories.
What is a regular writing day like for you?
I sit down to write sometime between eight or nine in the evening and write through the night. I go to bed anywhere between three and six and sleep the morning away. I get up around ten or eleven and spend the afternoon editing what I did the night before and taking care of the business aspects of writing. The best part: It’s my schedule and I get to choose my office’s dress code, which, by the way, is a notch below casual, super comfy. The biggest challenge: Talk about not being a morning person!
When you were published for the first time, which route did you go – mainstream, small press, vanity published, or self-published and why or how did you choose this route?
I went with a small press, a micro press really, mostly because I knew that, as a new author, I was going to have a hard time getting picked up by a larger press, but also because the small press offered me an incredible opportunity and lots of involvement in the process of publishing my book. For The Curse Giver, I went with Twilight Times Books, a really great independent press that publishes in critically acclaimed books.
If you could give one book promotion tip to new authors, what would that be?
I think that word of mouth continues to be the best and most reliable way of promoting a book and therefore any and all situations where people are blogging, tweeting, posting, reviewing, and talking about your book to their friends, readers and colleagues are very helpful to a book’s promotion.
If you could be anywhere in the world other than where you are right now, where would that place be?
Sitting in my writing chair, writing.
What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?
If you are truly a writer, write! Write like the wind—this is actually the title of a writing series by my friend Aaron Paul Lazar—write as much as you can, whenever you can, however you can. Only by writing will you perfect your skills, polish your stories and develop the grit necessary to pursuit a path towards publication. And only by writing can you fulfill the need to tell your stories.
What can we expect from you in the future? More books of the same genre? Books of a different genre?
You can expect more stories from me in the future, more fantasy, a dark contemporary fantasy with a Latin twist, and more about the world of The Curse Giver in its companion novel, The Soul Chaser.
Thanks for stopping by! It was a pleasure to have you here!
Thank you for having me. I had a lot of fun visiting with you and your readers
Lusielle’s bleak but orderly life as a remedy mixer is shattered when she is sentenced to die for a crime she didn’t commit. She’s on the pyre, about to be burned, when a stranger breaks through the crowd and rescues her from the flames. Brennus, Lord of Laonia is the last of his line. He is caught in the grip of a mysterious curse that has murdered his kin, doomed his people and embittered his life. To defeat the curse, he must hunt a birthmark and kill the woman who bears it in the foulest of ways. Lusielle bears such a mark. Stalked by intrigue and confounded by the forbidden passion flaring between them, predator and prey must come together to defeat not only the vile curse, but also the curse giver who has already conjured their demise.
Award-Winning Finalist in the fantasy category of The 2013 USA Best Book Awards, sponsored by USA Book News
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Genre – Fantasy/Dark Fantasy
Rating – PG-18
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