Angela Alvarez Velez [angelita]
What did you first read? How did you begin to write? Who were the first to read what you wrote?
I learned to read before I went to school. I remember reading Shell Silverstein a lot. The first books I loved were Nancy Drew mysteries, The Island of the Blue Dolphins and James and the Giant Peach. Also Ramona Quimby and Ralph S. Mouse.
I began writing poetry when I was around 8. Mrs. Delores Higgins, my 4th grade teacher, was my first reader. My parents also read and I forced my younger sister to listen to me reading the stories I wrote.
What is your favorite genre? Can you provide a link to a site where we can read some of your work or learn something about it?
I love humor. I have two blogs; in English www.theb3blog.com and in Spanish www.logosyfilias.com. Ideas, critiques and rave reviews are most welcome.
What is your creative process like? What happens before sitting down to write?
I occasionally get the "bolt of thunder" type of inspiration, where I am just doing nothing and an Idea comes to me. But usually I "scratch"; that is, I see something interesting and I try to go deeper and deeper until I find a path from what I saw to something new and different and then I try to re-trace my thought process in writing.
What type of reading inspires you to write?
Anything and everything. I read compulsively and often indiscriminately: medical journals, scientific papers, society columns, children's books. Anything can trigger a spark. I keep an open mind...and an open eye.
What do you think are the basic ingredients of a story?
Good characters people can identify. The more relatable the character, the better the story. Even if the story itself is strange or out-of-this world, once you establish a character that readers can relate to, everything else falls into place.
What voice do you find most to your liking: first person or third person?
Depends on the story. Sometimes third person can create a distance, but that distance is necessary when you need perspective. Especially when you create a character who makes difficult or unpopular choices, third-person can provide enough distance so that the reader does not reject the content.
What well known writers do you admire most?
Woody Allen, Daniel Samper Pizano, alvaro de la Iglesia, Laurie Notaro, Chelsea Handler.
What is required for a character to be believable? How do you create yours?
Some writers believe in being general but I think the secret is in the details. The more personal you make your character, the more relatable. Be true to the universe you have created, respect your own rules, be consistent and don't change character's inner voice to suit the plot.
Are you equally good at telling stories orally?
Deep down inside, who do you write for?
I want to say "me" but that is just not altogether true. But I write for people like me. I write what I wish I had read.
Is writing a form of personal therapy? Are internal conflicts a creative force?
Yes. You can only pour out what you have inside.
Does reader feed-back help you?
Sometimes. You have to be careful who you listen to. Sometimes readers just want to be heard or rant, no necessarily about you and what you wrote. Sometimes you are just a pretext. Do not listen to those. But sometimes you get really good insight and ideas from readers. Telling the difference is tricky.
Do you participate in competitions? Have you received any awards?
Not often, and a few.
Do you share rough drafts of your writings with someone whose opinion you trust?
Occasionally, but I usually do not share rough drafts. I polish a lot first so that I have a strong grasp of what I want and can take in what I need without losing myself in the criticism.
Do you believe you have already found "your voice" or is that something one is always searching for?
I think I have found my voice but not my tone.
What do you surround yourself with in your work area in order to help your concentrate?
Things that inspire me. Colors, textures, image. I have a board filled with things I like and my eyes linger when I get stuck and invariably find something there that gets my juices flowing again.
Do you write on a computer? Do you print frequently? Do you correct on paper? What is your process?
I write and re-write on computer. I print very little. I save many, many versions because sometimes something I took out of one piece will save the next one.
What sites do you frequent on-line to share experiences or information?
Twitter is great.
What do you recommend I do with all those things I wrote years ago but have never been able to bring myself to show anyone?
Edit them and give them as Xmas gifts. That way you can either get a lot of feedback that encourages you to publish or enough friendly kidding and teasing to make you realize you had better hold on to your day job.
Angela Alvarez Velez