Entrevistas hechas a Alexandra Román
(Interviews made to Alexandra Román)
Did you know anything about independent publishing before you jumped in? What kind of research did you do?
No, I did lots of research trough the Internet; it took me approximately two month to actually make the decision based on my research and my findings. I went crazy with it! I look for experiences of fellow writers, comments, opinions, articles comparing sites, anything I could get my hands on. The experience was really good; I took a risk and went with it.
How would you describe your creative process while writing this book? Was it stream-of-consciousness writing, or did you first write an outline?
Long and hard! This book took a lot of me, maybe because it is my first, but still it went to lots of changes in the course of six years. Just when I thought it completed, something came to me that forced me to go back and rewrite. I was very satisfied when I finished it, for I knew it didn’t need any more changes.
I usually don’t do or use outlines, I do sometimes. For “El Valle de la Inspiración”, I actually used outlines for the chapters to know where I was heading with it. What works for me is what you called a stream-of-consciousness. When an idea arrives I give it wings and go with the flow. Sometimes I even let it simmer for a while, so it can evolve into something more. That’s when you might find me daydreaming, lost in another world and not paying attention to other things. Well, that’s the life of a writer!
DLP: Muchos escritores afirman que la escritura es “99 por ciento trabajo y 1 por ciento inspiración”, ¿qué opina al respecto?
ARR: Yo no le daría tan poco por ciento a la inspiración. El trabajo de editar y tener la historia completada y como deseas, es bastante y toma tiempo; pero van de la mano. Es la inspiración la que te ayuda y dicta la historia que vas a contar, el trabajo es lo que moldea y le da forma. Sin una de ellas, el escrito sería uno incompleto. De mi parte le doy un 40 por ciento a la inspiración y un 60 por ciento al trabajo. Al fin y al cabo este último es el que continúa activo, en acción para que la obra llegue a ser un éxito.
Can you give me some background information about your family and where you were raised?
My family comes from different country sides of the Island: one is from Arecibo that’s in the coast and the other, Aibonito which is in the center of PR. In Aibonito I spent most of the time with my mom and grandma, because my parents were divorced. I grew up “en las jaldas del campo”, eating pumarosas, running after chickens. At the same time I grew up in Levittown, Toa Baja, an urban town that grew exponentially every year. It’s main avenues were surrounded, no longer by houses, but by markets, restaurants and other commercial stores. I was raised by strong women who taught me the meaning of life through love and strong character. I’m “una nena de loza” whose heart is always between the mountains of “La cordillera central” where nature flourishes.
My Mother’s Daughter
“For you mom, who’s present is overwhelming and solitude and distance is your comfort right now. But, I’m still here to give you love.”
A note to all, this was written two years ago for the online magazine Mija Magazine.
A knock on the door interrupted our conversation suddenly; mother walked to the entrance of her apartment to answer. I was expecting one of her neighbors which with whom she was very close to now days. But instead an insurance woman, who had the wrong apartment number, stood smiling at the door. Mami lives on an apartment complex composed of thirty small buildings in which she lives in number nine.
Sacha: 2-Sabemos que eres una ávida lectora, ¿consideras que los libros son los que te han impulsado a ser escritora?
Alexandra: Sí, definitivamente. Cuando en mis manos tuve el libro Las mil y una noches quede prendada con su historia. Me gustaban las historias de fantasía y ficción, y este libro me empujo a realizar mis primeros intentos con la narración. Desde ahí todo es historia y tan importante para mí es tomar un libro y devorarlo, como sentarme con bolígrafo y papel en mano- o frente a la computadora- y escribir.
Hoy les presentamos nuestro primer “podcast” en este caso una entrevista que le hicimos a una Boricua escritora quien recientemente público su primer libro. Se titula “El Valle De La Inspiración” y lo publicó prácticamente por su cuenta.
Mientras me siento y luchó por escribir estas primeras palabras, escribo una y otra vez lo que debería decir, pero continúo insatisfecha. Tal y como me ocurría con las primeras palabras de mi novela, El Valle de la Inspiración. Para ese momento, mi mente era atormentada por la constante visión de un gran valle desierto y árido, de árboles marcados por los azotes de los rayos, y rocosas montañas rodeándole. El cielo cubierto por completo de cúmulos nimbos, rugía como un animal feroz. Nailah, la protagonista, observaba todo esto estupefacta, y de los cúmulos una gran figura se levantaba para atormentarla.
Tell us about the novel and its heroine Nailah, is she her creator?
Nailah has something of me, but definitely she is not its creator. She is what I’m not; she does what I dare not to. In her I’ve put features that I am missing, so you can live the adventure, because otherwise, if it were me, would not be any adventure.
Nailah, as stated earlier, is a young wordsmith that falls into depression after the death of her father, who was her inspiration and the one responsible for her falling in love with the written word. This depression, in which she slowly and with great force enters, inhibits her writing. Her best friend, Hesepti, is the one who speaks to her about the valley of inspiration, which in turn she learns from her grandmother, a retired Egyptologist. With nothing to lose, Nailah embarks herself, alongside her friend and the Egyptologist, to Egypt to find the valley. To do this, she must first find the followers of the old Egyptian religion, who still guard the ancient rituals and believes, and the only ones that can take her to the valley.