When and why did you begin writing?
I have been writing since I was a kid. There is a photo of me receiving a creative writing award in my elementary school yearbook. For me, writing is instinct. I am a better person when I’m keeping a writing schedule. For some folks, it is meditation or yoga that keeps them centered for me it is writing.
Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?
I began writing poetry and still do write some. In college, I wrote plays as I was a theater major. After I had a kid, I tried my hand at children’s stories. But ever since high school, mysteries have been my go-to read. Once you’ve read hundreds, you begin to have plot twists and storylines pop into your head demanding they be put onto paper.
What is the biggest thing that people THINK they know about your subject/genre that isn’t so?
‘Mysteries are about serial killers or spies.’ Not true. Not all mysteries are bloodbaths and espionage. I write traditional/cozy mysteries. In that sub-genre, it is all about the setting and the puzzle. There will be a dead body or a crime but with little gore. The pleasure of reading a cozy mystery is learning the world of the protagonist and following the clues. In my novel, Jeweler’s Mark, the reader gets behind the scenes of the jewelry trade.
Are you a full-time or part-time writer and how does that affect your writing?
Part-time. I write early in the mornings at the desk of my day job. Thankful, I work in my family’s small business which gives me leeway to make my own schedule. It would be a dream to write full-time, but I think that is a decade off.
What are some day jobs you have held?
Record store manager, waiter, pet store bird wrangler, summer camp drama teacher, night librarian, ESL tutor.
Do you have a special time to write, or how is your day structured to accommodate your writing?
I write best in the mornings when my brain is fresh and the world is quiet. Ideally, I would like to write from 7 am to 11 am then break for lunch and a walk, then spend the afternoon on correspondences and promotion.
What have you written so far?
I have poems published in literary journals plus a chapbook of poems ab0ut Miami. I have a multitude of short stories many with my Puerto Rican PI in training character, Ossie Piñero.
All my mysteries are centered around a Latina character.
She is so fun to write as she is self-possessed and sassy. There is a completed manuscript in a drawer that won an award but not an agent. That one is about a bi-cultural amateur sleuth. Recently published is Jeweler’s Mark- A Love and Diamonds Mystery. It is the first in a series.
How do you feel about indie/alternative vs. conventional publishing?
I think the coming wave is more indie than traditional, but at the moment the hybrid seems to be the winning model. All authors have the burden of promoting their work since budgets at publishing house are minimal for PR. The only benefit to traditional publishing that I see is they have many avenues of guaranteed distribution. It is hard for an unknown indie author to get picked up by bookstores.
Can you share with readers a little bit about your latest book?
Jeweler’s Mark is set in Miami. And if you know anything about Miami I bet it is that we have a large Cuban population. In this series debut, Cuban-American business owner, Gigi Santos follows the clues of a robbery and a murder. Her wedding ring brand is being counterfeited and she has to find out the who, what, and where.
Who is your favorite character in your book and why?
I love Gigi because she is practical and task-oriented like me. Her BFF, Lourdes a.k.a Lou is a balance to her. Lou is quick tempered, fun-loving and at times a bit of a mean girl. Lou puts the sazon in the story. She is all flavor and spice.
If your book was made into a movie, who would you cast?
I love this question because Jeweler’s Mark screams movie. Come on, Miami, diamonds, Russian mafia. Need I say more?! Here is my dream cast of Cuban-American actors.
Gigi Santos: Josie Loren (The Mentalist)
BFF, Lou: Christina Milian (The Voice)
Love interest, Detective Carlos: Adam Rodriguez (CSI:Miami & Magic Mike)
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