Latina writer of books for kids of all ages.

Blog tour is the phrase of the day. I’m also on Latinaish today (April 21) talking about diversity and how all kids connect with stories.

But my own little blog is also a stop on the My Writing Process Blog tour.My friend, Maya Payne Smart, asked me to join.

maya-head-shotBy way of introductions, I should tell you that Maya is the first lady of VCU basketball. But I’ve known Maya as a compassionate friend, a fellow writer and as a thoughtful community supporter. Her blog specializes in business, travel and lifestyle journalism. Some highlights from her bio. “Her articles have appeared in Black Enterprise, CNNMoney.com, ESSENCE, Fortune Small Business and numerous other business and consumer publications. She earned a bachelor’s degree with honors in social studies from Harvard University and a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.” She writes about dynamic women and the pursuit of happiness, meaning and productivity at MayaSmart.com.

So, on to notes on my process:

What am I working on? 

BellaAbzugLine2011-1x1 copyRight now, I’m working on a YA novel set in 1977 in NYC. It explores the insanity of the city at that time and secret violence in families. The main character is 18-year-old Nora López. Feminism, mental health, serial killers, drugs, looting. Everything you could ask for in a work for young readers. (Yikes.) It’s due to my editor on May 1. Keep me in your thoughts because this is going to require some divine intervention.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?  

The most defining characteristic of my books is that I always center my novels on the journey of strong Latino characters. The other characteristic is that I like to write fiction that dignifies young women by naming their experience as it is and celebrating all it takes to grow up strong.

Why do I write what I do?

I write Latino characters because there are so few being published and because it pains me to see Latinos reduced to stereotypes in books and film. I write YA because writing for young people is hopeful and because it forces you to be painfully honest. I write about girls because the real girls I know are powerful and kick-ass, and they deserve books about something more than falling in love with boys.

How does my writing process work?

It’s a mess. No outline. Nothing but gut instinct about the characters and their problem. This is the most inefficient way you can possibly write, but it is also very genuine in that you meet the characters and their problems as they naturally arise. I can’t say I recommend it as a strategy, but it really is how I compose.

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