Questions & Answers
Where do you get your story ideas?
Ideas can come from anywhere. A lot of my ideas hit me while I’m driving. I see something or think of something and all of a sudden it’s an idea that haunts me until I write it down. Actually, the idea for Gaby, Lost and Found started when I was driving and I saw a little girl walking her black and white cat. I’d never seen anyone walk a cat before and it just got me thinking about her story and the cat’s story and how they found each other. Gaby, Lost and Found started with that simple image, a sweet girl and her sweet little cat.
Did you always want to be a writer?
I showed signs of being a writer early on in life. I stared at clouds constantly, I was comfortable spending time alone and I loved to read. I also used to hoard paper and pens under my bed just to use for my writing time. I still do that.
What were some of your favorite books growing up?
The first books I remember loving were Where the Wild Things Are and books of fairytales like Thumbelina and Three Billy Goats Gruff. Later, I read the Narnia Chronicles over and over. I loved the Narnia series so much that I didn’t want it to end so I wrote my own sequel.
I also enjoyed all the Ramona Quimby books by Beverly Cleary and the Rats of Nimh by Robert C. O’Brien. In high school, I was really into poetry and absorbed anything by Sylvia Plath and Langston Hughes. I also discovered Kurt Vonnegut in high school and he’s one of my all-time favorite authors.
What books are you reading now?
Lately, I’m reading a lot of middle grade and YA novels because I like to see what other authors in my same genre are doing. I’m a big fan of Pat Muñoz-Ryan, Neil Gaiman, Rita Williams-Garcia and Kate DiCamillo. I also enjoy memoirs and biographies.
Besides writing, do you have any other interests?
If I’m not writing, I’m reading. If I’m not reading or writing, I like to run. Running clears my mind and it keeps me active since I have to sit to write for long periods of time. I also love musica! When I need a break from writing or reading, I listen to music and stare at the clouds or dance around my house. :)
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Read and write every day. Then, share your writing. I know it’s scary to get feedback and critique, but be brave. Feedback is important to improve.
Do you like to visit schools and meet students?
Yes, I LOVE school visits! It's fun to meet students who've read my books and are excited to ask me questions. As a writer, I spend so much time writing a book and once it's done and released to the world, I'm not certain if kids will pick it up and like it. So, it's nice to meet students and teachers and hear their thoughts about my books. I especially like it when they beg me to write another book. :) For me, that's the best feeling in the world. You can learn more about inviting me to your school on my Author Visit page. :)
Me, age 10, with my brother, Enrique, and our puppies. These rambunctious dogs were the inspiration behind the character of Spike in Gaby, Lost and Found and Lety Out Loud.