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Author Interview - Laura Diaz de Arce

Author Laura Diaz de Arce joins me on Author Interviews this week.

I hope you enjoy learning a little about Laura's journey as an author.

Thank you for being my guest, Laura!

About Writing/Books/Being an Author

1. Do you remember the first book you read that had an impact on you - in what way and what was the name of that book?

The first book that pops up is probably The Voyage of the Basset by James C. Christensen which I think I received in first to second grade. I think that was the first challenging book I read, but it helped that it had these gorgeous pictures and mythologies throughout it. I think I liked the fantastic nature of it all, the way the text played with the illustrations, the side notations, it pushed what I thought books could be. Plus, I loved myths and I loved how the mythological creatures were humanized. I think I just loved the breadth of fantasy that was presented.

2. When did you first realize you wanted to write?

I don't know that I never didn't want to write. I used to write short stories for fun as a child and up through adolescence. But I think, when you grow up a bit poor and you're an academically inclined kid, writing isn't a supported track because it isn't guaranteed money. I knew I wanted it to eventually be a full-time career, but I also realized that is not necessarily something available. But no matter what, I wanted writing to be a part of my life, I can't have it not be.

3. Who is/are your favourite author(s)?

I'm lucky enough to have a lot of fabulous contemporaries and to be surrounded by fabulous writers like Priya Sridhar, Brandon Chinn, Enrique Bedlam, and Matilda Reyes. I also love work by Jacqueline Carey (who I got to interview![1]), James Triptree Jr., and Katherine Arden. I deeply love the surreal and poetic prose of Monique Quintana, Rios de la Luz, and Leza Cantoral. Then I also have authors I love for the fun of reading, like Cathy Yardley. It's hard to say favorites, I tend to gorge on an author's work and move on, or even if I don't like a particular piece, I find myself admiring the craft of it.

4. What is your favourite thing about writing? What is your least favourite thing about writing?

The absolute best thing is that little “zing” feeling you get when you've got an idea or a little bit of inspiration. The whole thing can be a bit of a buzz when you're writing and in problem-solving mode.

The worst, for me, is the physical act. I have arthritis, and in a sort of irony, hand writing is largely painful, and while typing is mostly fine, afterwards I'll be physically sore and in pain for a while. I'm not a person that's good at dictating, but I will have to get to that point soon.

5. Where do your ideas come from?

There are certain themes and motifs that are reoccurring for me and I tend to find new ways to express them. Environmentalism and environmental degradation are big ones. Different feminisms will inevitably make their way in, as will mental illness and mental health in some form. I tend to like using transformation, animals, and consumption as ways to express interaction and power-struggles. As for the ideas, they come if you let them. Reading helps a lot, because it can create a conversation between one writer and another. But also, actually going places and doing things can spark a new idea. I also enjoy a prompt to kickstart things, or certain calls for stories can provide a challenge that can lead to useable ideas. The creativity is just there, if you let it be.

6. I’ve often found that creative people have more than one talent, what is yours?

I'm not an expert in anything else, really. Before the arthritis worsened, I liked to make costumes and cosplay. I'm pretty good with makeup and hair, and I sing a bit, although my ability to use my whole register needs work. I'm a pretty good cook though, but it's because I like to eat.

7. When you create characters, are they completely made up or do they resemble or remind you of people you know?

Sometimes they resemble people, but it is never a good thing for the person being portrayed.

There is a whole history of artists being vengeful and petty: Michelangelo painted a Cardinal who was criticizing his work as King Midas having his penis bitten off. Lewis Carroll turned John Ruskin into a whinging lizard. Hell, Gwen Stefani wrote Hollaback Girl about Courtney Love. I have no problem partaking in this history.

8. How do you come up with titles for your books?

Monstrosity came about because I noticed I was making a bunch of stories that centered on being some sort of monster, human or otherwise. I also liked it because it is a bit evocative, because to be a monstrosity is to be so grandiose, so grotesque, it can be considered inhuman. I wanted to play with that, to push that, and to say there is no such thing when we all have monstrous qualities. We both are and make the monster.

9. What are you working on now and can you tell us about it?

Well, I've got a good number of stories building for a second collection. Plus, two fantasy romance novels at like, 60% completion. I tend to bounce around. When those aren't enough, I have 2 science fiction books at different stages of development, one that is riskier and more experimental, and another I would describe as “vampires and witches in space”.

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