1. First, tell us a little about yourself. When did you want to become an author? What inspires you to do what you do? Who are you?
I think I wanted to be a writer ever since high school, but real life events took precedence. Spain is still basically in a recession, with youth unemployment being around 50%, and higher among women. So I had to focus on making ends meet and find a job—whatever type of job. Now that I’m working as a sales assistant in a vintage wine shop, some well-needed rest came into my life and I found time to start writing again.
I also really wanted to study science—physics, bio-chemistry, computer science, well almost any scientific area—but life conspired against that. So while I read about the latest scientific developments in many places—English language ones like New Scientist, Nautli.us and Quanta Magazine, among others—I try to satisfy my curiosity about the implications of scientific and technological developments by writing about them and calling it science fiction.
It requires a lot of research—which helps if you have a broad interest and an inquisitive mind—and can be quite satisfactory, if the eventual story is (relatively) close to the ideal version that you have in your mind. And getting them published is a great kind of vindication, as well.
2. What are some quirky and or unique aspects about you and your art?
For some reason I never incorporated anything from the day job in my writing. I suppose it’s more challenging to write about what you don’t know—which forces you to learn new things—than just regurgitate what you do know but all too well. Nevertheless, very recently I did write a story that involves wine, but with a very fantastical twist. I hope it finds the right market.
3. Eos is “the place in-between genre and form. A place dedicated to diversity and the dawn of equal representation in the arts.” What does the mean to you?
I think that diversity on any level is not just essential, but imperative. Recent research has shown that companies with more diverse personnel deliver better products and better results that those without. It also makes sense at the most basic level: by excluding huge parts of a population—through under-representation of women, people of color, QUILTBAG people and more—a country (or a corporation, or a community) does not use all of its resources, which is just stupid.
If the arts can be leading in this—true representation of all the diverse aspects of humanity—then it could help other areas to follow suit. If my little story is part of that multi-faceted mosaic, then I hope it’s one of the many small steps towards that goal.
4. What do you think makes a great story? How do you think your piece Space Bike Zombies FTW fits into or varies from that description?
That’s almost impossible to answer, but I’ll try anyway. Basically, a great story tries to depict a conflict, where compelling characters fight each other—or the circumstances they find themselves in—and a likeable (or at least convincing) protagonist overcomes the main problem through inventive, heart-felt actions. Roughly speaking, in literature these conflicts mostly take place on the personal level (although they can be a metaphor for the world at large), while in science fiction—my genre of choice—these conflicts can vary from the up-close-and-personal to the whole wide Universe itself, and beyond.
“Space Bike Zombies FTW” focuses on a relatively small problem—how to convince people from a space company to buy and use a new product—but it shows that problems are rarely isolated things, but rather entangled with other things—prejudices, cultural differences and more. So in order to solve the original problem—your company is delivering a good product—you often have to overcome other problems—sexual, racial and other prejudices—first. TL;DR: life is complex.
While “Space Bike Zombies FTW” focuses on a smaller problem, the follow-up stories then gradually expand the viewpoint of Yo-Sung (the protagonist) and the problems she encounters. The sequel to “Space Bike Zombies FTW”—titled “Have Space Bike, Will Travel”—is slated to appear in the Futuristica 2 anthology this coming May. The follow-up to that is still doing the rounds. As the stories get longer (from 1,500 to 5,000 to almost 14,000 words), the problems they tackle become bigger and more complex, as well, together with their imagined solutions. It’s a challenge, but a very stimulating one.
To get back to the question, I think a great story always tries to provide (at least a piece of) the solution.
5. How has writing affected your outlook on things? Has it made you take chances or see things in a different light?
It made me see that things change constantly, and that you—as a person—have to change, to adapt, or ideally to contribute towards positive change all the time. It makes me see the world in a different light, and better define my position in it. Despite the current recession in Spain—and other events world-wide—I do remain optimistic in the long term. There are many huge problems, but I think that humanity—the full, beautiful range of humanity—has the chops to overcome them.
6. Do you have anything major coming up in the near future? Ex). A new book, workshops, or an exhibit?
At the moment I have more stories coming out. My first poem “Signs of Life” appeared in Ligature Works last year, and my very first story just appeared in Capricious. “Space Bike Zombies FTW” will be the second, so as far as I’m concerned writing-wise, 2017 got off to a great start.
Further stories are slated to appear in the Futuristica 2 anthology (early May), Panorama and Fantasy & Science Fiction. Since almost all my stories take place in the same (imaginary) Universe, eventually I suppose I will have to wrap it up in this huge monster called a novel. But not in the foreseeable future as I’m having too much fun writing short fiction.
Finally, as more stories are published, I guess I will have to set up a website for my writing persona. I’m researching the best way to do that right now, which also means I might have to get a larger footprint in social media. Twitter is nice, but it also takes away so much of my writing time.
7. Finally, do you have any advice and or tips for aspiring artist, poets, and writers out there who come from diverse and or marginalized backgrounds?
Stay true to yourself—who you are, where you come from—while trying to improve your art. Get advice from people you trust who are willing to give an honest critique, and never forget that the critique is about the piece, not the creator (so don’t take it personally). Only react to such critiques when they hurt—that is, they immediately show you what is wrong with the piece, which often hurts, but is a good hurt as it forces you to fix the things that are wrong—especially if these comments come from people who are willing to pay for your work.
Most importantly, keep trying (and be patient when a major market is considering your work). Personally, I’ve received nothing but form rejections for several years, until I finally made that first sale (which was to Fantasy & Science Fiction. I was—still am—on Cloud Nine for that). Obviously, I still get a lot of rejections, but now I do make the occasional sale. Best dealing mechanism for rejections is simply producing the next piece (write the next story), while moving the rejected piece to the next market. If it has merit, it will eventually sell.
Finally, as mentioned in the beginning, keep writing or making art about the things you truly care about. Even if they’re not considered ‘commercial,’ or ‘hot,’ as you will find the right market for it eventually.