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An Author’s Writing Process

I’m very honored that Lorraine Ladish of Vivafifty.com tagged me in the #WeNeedDiverseBooks blog relay! I’ve authored nine books to date, seven creativity books and two novels.
The idea of the #WeNeedDiverseBooks series is to show that as Latina/o authors, our work isn’t only meant to inspire our own community. We write books for EVERYONE to read, enjoy, and hopefully, remember. We are writers and book authors sharing our experiences – and we just happen to also be of Mexican, Cuban, Puerto Rican..and more… heritage. We want our titles mixed in with the mainstream, because our stories are mainstream and universal.

Before I go into my writing process, I’ll share why I think the #WeNeedDiverseBooks is so crucial. Recently Chipotle Mexican Grill launched a really cool campaign, Cultivating Thought. Ten writers were chosen to share witty commentary on printed Chipotle cups and bags. I was so excited, I love this kind of meaningful marketing. I adore the idea of spreading smiles and storytelling while we eat our food, especially for people like me who travel a lot and often eat alone.

The downside? Chipotle MEXICAN Grill did not include any Latino authors. I was shocked to see a cool company such as Chipotle totally miss the mark. Not that they have to have all Latino authors, but the fact that they are Chipotle Mexican Grill, you’d think they would at least include one or two. There are so many wonderful authors to choose from!

The Chipotle story is just one reason why campaigns like #WeNeedDiverseBooks is so important. Our world is a beautiful colorful place and we all have a story to tell. And bookstores are like airports for the soul! Buy a $10 paperback and you are transported to any culture, time period, tax bracket or age group. The more books we read by all kinds of authors, the fuller and wider and richer our minds will be. Reading is knowledge and knowledge is power!

*Steps off soap box* Thank you for reading through that! Now I’ll go on to my author process!

What are you working on?
I’m currently working on three fiction pieces. One is my third novel, about a Mexican bakery-turned-cupcake shop. I’m half-finished. The other two are flash fiction pieces – one is a short romance, the other is a new Dia de los Muertos story. I’m most excited for the cupcake book, it’s funny, sweet and has some tearjerker moments!

Related article: Rubina Chinchada and the Enchanted Dresser (short fiction)

How does your writing process work?
If you look at the photo at the top of this article, you’ll see two of my stages (NOTE: It’s all changed since I wrote what you see in the picture!). First I brainstorm the story, the character arcs, and the setting. I use a blank journal and it often includes a lot of fancy hand lettering because I think while I draw. I try not to spend too much time on this part. I then write the outline. This is very freeflowing, I summarize each chapter so I have a sort of roadmap to follow, even if I don’t stick to it. Once I have the outline done, I send it to my neighborhood Staples and have them print it out, double-sided pages. I’ll go to a coffeehouse and read it, and add notes or changes. This is all prep work for a very long journey. Then I write the book. First draft, I let it pour out of me. I can’t sleep during this time because I’ll finish writing a chapter, then I stay up all night thinking about all the different ways it can go. All I can dream about is the next opportunity to write! After the first draft is finished, I send it to Staples again to have it printed. At this point, I read each chapter out loud to my husband and he helps me fine tune, edit and condense.

Why do you write what you do?
I have many reasons. First of all, I love it. My dad was such a wonderful storyteller and he passed it on to me. And I really want to share stories about all-American Latinas. I want to show characters who are aren’t always represented – Latinas in the creative arts. For my first novel, Waking Up in the Land of Glitter, I had three very crafty ladies, one of them blossomed as a mixed media artist, one a TV host, and the other as a speed crochet champion. In my second novel, Miss Scarlet’s School of Patternless Sewing, Scarlet Santana is a fashion and lifestyle blogger who is well known around the country, but not at all appreciated by her family. She teaches a sewing class to raise money for an opportunity, but ends up showing her students how to fully embrace their lives.

Authors I´m tagging in the blog relay are
1. Gaby Triana. She has authored a series of uplifting, comical YA titles that are great summer reads for any age. She is also a master cake decorator! Check out her YouTube page here and her blog here! Here are her books!

2. Sandra Lopez. Sandra wrote her first novel while still in college. She loves writing and sharing her experiences. She tours a lot – and you can see her schedule here! Here are her books. And here is her blog!

Thank you for reading this and supporting #WeNeedDiverseBooks – please keep buying books! Any books! ALL. THE. BOOKS!

And you can see all about my books HERE and my summer appearance schedule HERE.

DIY Tie Dye Rainbow Shorts

Faux-Aged Gold Leaf Pots


5 thoughts on “An Author’s Writing Process”

  1. Kathy, I cannot believe what you mentioned about Chipotle. That is just disheartening, but perhaps because of your post … something will change. You are awesometastic! You know I love you and your artistic process. 🙂

  2. Kathy, you are amazing and such and inspiration! I didn’t know about your second book, it looks charming. I believe that we need more diverse books and our homework as readers is to support them and share them with the world. Thank you so much for the recommendations!

  3. YES!

    How is it it possible that Chipotle Mexican Grill’s new Cultivating Thought campaign forgot to include any of the terrific Mexican American writers writing today? A disappointing move for a company who relies on Mexican inspired cuisine and depends a labor force in the fields and behind the counters and in the kitchen that is in no small part Latino – and no doubt hopes to cultivate a clientele that is Latino as well.

    Their PR people say they asked a number of Latinos to participate and they all declined (right!) but so far we have discovered only one – Junot Diaz. Yes, the Dominican-born Diaz does speak Spanish but the last time we looked the Dominican Republic was not part of Mexico. Just sayin’.

    None of the acclaimed Mexican American authors we queried were approached for this project at all. Not Sandra Cisneros, Gary Soto, Dagoberto Gilb, Luis Urrea, Gustavo Arellano, Benjamin Alire Saenz, Michele Serros, Alex Espinoza, …the list goes on. How is that even possible in 2014?

    Check out our Facebook page: Cultivating Invisibility: Chipotle’s Missing Mexicans

  4. Kathy, I am sorry that you had to be disappointed. You of all people, who brings so much beauty and light into the world. With your campaigning, things are bound to turn around!
    Please keep up the good work, you make things much more interesting and bearable!

  5. I am so excited that you are writing again!! Can’t wait. I have you other two novels and of course your craft books!!


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