I’m so pleased to bring you this bonus interview with friend and fellow local writer Allison Garcia, whose first novel, Vivir el Dream, debuted a week ago!
Allison and I met through a local writers’ group a few years ago, and now are National Novel Writing Month co-munipical liaisons every November for the Shenandoah Valley.
Allison writes Christian fiction with vivid prose of Latino culture and struggles in America, providing a moving portrait of life as an undocumented person here. So learn a bit more about her, and then check out Vivir el Dream!
What inspires you to write? What inspired this book?
I’m inspired by the world around me, seeing the struggles people go through and how their faith can carry them through or their desperation overwhelms them. I was inspired for Vivir el Dream especially by my hermanos in my church, seeing all they’ve had to go through and how their faith keeps them going. In particular, a friend from church was deported a year or so before I wrote this book, and I think his story inspired me to want to help people understand more about the struggle.
Which type of romance do you love most, and why?
I like romantic comedies, epic romances, and the ones where you’re like, “Come on! Get together already!!!” Examples of favorite stories/movies are Jane Eyre, In Her Shoes, When Harry Met Sally.
Name one interesting thing you learned in researching/writing your last book:
I can’t just pick one!
- I learned a lot about different types of Mexican foods and how they’re made
- I learned about deportation procedures
- And I learned a surprising amount about fixing cars (as Tim’s character becomes a mechanic).
Name two things people don’t know about you:
- I’m bilingual because I took 10 years of Spanish in school (and had a lot of practicing since!)
- I love cooking and am improving my skills in Latino cuisine. 🙂
What one piece of advice do you wish you’d had when first starting out?
Find a group of writing friends to support you and encourage you. Also join National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). I’ve written 5x as many books this way!
I think you’ve created a new genre here of Latin Christian fiction? Whom do you hope reads this book?
I believe I have created a new genre (unless all my Amazon and google searches have steered me wrong)! This is the main reason I couldn’t get it published in the Christian market. I have found an awesome blog/group that deals in Diverse Christian fiction, and I was like, “My people! i’ve found my people!” So that feels awesome and gives me hope that there are others like me out there who want to read diverse fiction in the Christian market. As I think my book bridges genres, I’m hoping to find readers who like reading books about other cultures, particularly Latino/Hispanic cultures, who like books about social injustice, or who just like a well-written story!
What’s next for you? More stories like this?
I do have another Latino Christian fiction book called Finding Amor that is finished but needs some extensive editing. Before I start on that, I want to translate Vivir el Dream into Spanish. I also plan during NaNoWriMo in November to finish the last 2 books in my 8 book children’s fantasy series called Prince Miguel and His Journey Home.
Have you cooked everything in this book you mentioned? Because I’m definitely hungry now!
Not everything. I am getting fairly good at making tamales now! My skill level is nowhere near Juanita’s or Hector’s but I like to think that it’s improving. Let’s just say I get fewer comments from my husband like, “It’s good but it’s not authentic.”
What one take-away do you want people to have from this book?
That no matter what you’re going through, the fight is worth it. Don’t give up hope. Your faith can carry you through.
What’s the current status of the Dream Act (for those who don’t know)? What resources would you direct readers to for more info?
That’s a great question! Some laws were placed during the Obama administration that have helped some Dreamers get visas but I think there is a long way to go on this, especially considering how the tides have recently turned for immigrants in this country. Right now, I think things are very up in the air.
In terms of resources, I have a couple pages at the end of my book with resources and ways to learn more and get active. 🙂
Thanks so much for being here today, Allison! Wishing you the best of luck with Vivir el Dream!