Thursday, August 13, 2009

author guest post: belinda acosta

I'm delighted to have a guest post from the author of Damas, Dramas, and Ana Ruiz. Here Belinda Acosta discusses her writing process:

People seem to have very particular ideas about what a “writing process” is, so I hope I’m approaching your version of it. My writing process is really quite pedestrian. I wake up, drink coffee, fire up the computer, answer e-mail (I still have a day job and work from home), deal with annoying details; then I start writing. Depending on what I’m working on, I may wake up as early as 3am. I’m not sure why that’s the magical hour except maybe it’s because that’s when the last Cap Metro bus passes my house and everyone is finally where they need to be for the night. The phone doesn’t ring and no one comes to my door. It’s sublimely quiet. I’ve marveled at other writers who say they write to music. I could never do that! I’m pretty good at tuning the world out, having written in newsrooms, but writing in the wee hours of the morning when the rest of the world has gone to sleep is luscious.

When I was contacted about writing a series on quinceañeras I had just reviewed Julia Alvarez’s nonfiction book, Once Upon a Quinceañera for The Austin Chronicle. So, the subject was in high on my radar. What intrigued me about the subject was similar to what intrigued Alvarez: What does it mean to be a woman today? Is there something about the Latina experience that is unique? Why have a ritual to mark this “passage”? Where did the tradition stem from? And on and on and on. I find it amusing that I did not have a quinceañera, I had never been to one prior to writing this book, and I don’t have any children. I do know, from first hand experience, how complicated the relationship between mothers and daughters can be. Part of what makes Damas, Dramas, and Ana Ruiz stand out is that it focuses on that relationship—the good and the bad, hopefully, with honesty and candor. In short, I drafted an outline for the book and once it was approved, I began writing.

Belinda Acosta works as a journalist in Austin, Texas, writing reviews and features on books, film, and the arts, in addition to a weekly column on television (TV Eye) for the Austin Chronicle. Her work has appeared in Poets & Writers, Latino USA, Latino Magazine, AlterNet and other publications. She was a Michener Fellow at the University of Texas at Austin where she received her MFA in Writing in 1997. Damas, Dramas, and Ana Ruiz (Grand Central Publishing, August 2009) is her first novel.

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