Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Interview with Lila Guzman, author of Lorenzo and the Pirate

Lila Guzmán is the award-winning author of Lorenzo and the Pirate (Blooming Tree Press), the 4th novel in the Lorenzo series about Spanish participation in the American Revolution. It is available in audio book from Colonial Radio. Her series of biographies from Enslow Publishing features George Lopez, Cesar Chavez, Ellen Ochoa, Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, Roberto Clemente. She lives in Austin , Texas , with her co-author husband.

"Lorenzo and the Pirate" was a finalist for Children's/YA Book with the Oklahoma Writers Federation. The first chapter of a YA time travel novel garnered first place in its category.

Visit www.lilaguzman.com to read first chapters of her books.

Thanks for stopping by my blog, Lila! Do you consider yourself to be a born writer?

Yes, this is what I was born to do. Every experience I’ve had—from being an officer in the U.S. Navy to getting a Ph.D. in Spanish has prepared me for this. Luck and persistence play a role in this business, but a natural talent for writing and an active imagination are crucial.

Did you always want to be a writer?

As long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to write. When I was a little girl sitting under the apple tree, I dreamed up stories.

Tell us about your recent release. What was your inspiration for it?

Lorenzo and the Pirate is the 4th book in a young adult series set in the American Revolution. Lorenzo is fictional, but all the events surrounding him actually happened. For example, he gets caught in a storm surge during the 1779 New Orleans hurricane in Lorenzo and the Turncoat. There was a Katrina-style hurricane that went through New Orleans in August of that year.

Tell us about your other children's books.

I write both fiction and non-fiction for children and young adults. My non-fiction books include the Famous Latinos series for Enslow. The subjects are George Lopez, Cesar Chavez, Frida Kahlo, Ellen Ochoa, Diego Rivera, and Roberto Clemente.

In fiction, I write about the role of the Spanish in the American Revolution, from a flatboat flotilla delivering supplies from New Orleans to Fort Pitt (Lorenzo’s Secret Mission) to the Battle of Baton Rouge in 1779 (Lorenzo and the Turncoat).

Kichi in Jungle Jeopardy is a historical fantasy set among the ancient Mayan. Kichi is a chihuahua.

Have you ever suffered from writer’s block? If yes, how did you ‘cure’ it?

I suppose we’ve all had writer’s block at some point. For me, it usually happens when, subconsciously, I realize something is wrong. I always write with an outline, but sometimes a concept that sounded good when I thought it up goes awry when it goes onto paper. Walking a mile or so on the walking track or swimming usually breaks me free of writer’s block. I’m not sure what exactly is going on in my head, but something mindless like cutting the yard or going to the grocery will usually solve the problem. The lifeguard at the pool probably thinks I’m a slacker. Often, I’ll swim a couple of laps and then get out, scribble something on my note pad, then get back in the water.

Just today, I paused on lap three to write down the following note: Petra remembers her last night in the house. Pursued by two guys, saved by a franklin. (Maybe the head franklin?)

That probably doesn’t make much sense to you, but it plugs up a hole that was causing me trouble.

Some writers go on long walks, others keep a journal, write at a café, or listen to music. What do you do for inspiration and unleashing your creativity?

All the things you mention are things that I’ve used at one time or another. Exercise inspires me. Writing down ideas in a notebook helps a lot. Moving to a new place to write often gives me the setting for a scene I’m working on. Listening to music can really get the words flowing, especially if the music matches the scene I’m writing. The 1812 Overture is great to listen to when writing a battle scene.

Describe your working environment.

Where I work changes according to what’s going on in my life. I recently inherited my brother’s house and have spent a lot of time there getting it ready for the market. If I’m on the road for a school visit, I stay in a motel with wi-fi. I can get a lot of writing done there when there are no incoming calls and no housework to distract me. Today, I took my computer to the dentist’s office and got a lot of writing done while my daughter was at her appointment.

Do you have a website/blog where readers may learn more about you and your works?

I’ll admit that my website is the last thing I get around to and I don’t have the time right now to blog. That’s on my list of things to do.

Where are your books available?

Because I write for multiple publishers, the best place to find my books is at amazon.com.

Who are your favorite authors?

My absolute favorite is Bernard Cornwell. I loved his Sharpe series and the way he brings history to life.

Thanks, Lila! www.tips-fb.com

1 comment:

Virginia S Grenier said...

Lila, I've known you through the internet on various writing boards, but it was great getting to know more about you and your new book in your series.