Build the Bridges that Let Readers Access Your Story

You’ve taken the time to create characters that are so real you’d know them if you met them on the street. Your setting is so vibrant you could step into it and explore for a week. Yet, readers fail to connect with your story. What have you done wrong? You probably forgot to build a bridge. A bridge in fiction spans a gap. It enables your reader to move from her familiar, everyday life into your story. By Sue Bradford Edwards.

Source: Build the Bridges that Let Readers Access Your Story

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Sacred Spaces

From across the street, the handsome, red-brick duplex in the historic district made a good impression. The three-bedroom home, built in 1907, looked sturdy enough to withstand most anything Mother Nature could throw her way; certainly more than a home with aluminum siding. The roof was ten years old and the water heater was brand new, but the age of the boiler was unknown at the time. The stone cellar didn’t leak and had never flooded, a huge plus in my mind. I knew all that before my tour of the home because my Uncle Jack, a master carpenter and builder, had schooled me on the important questions to ask before seeing any house, after I gave him my list of naive must-haves, all decorative.

I adored the charming courtyard at the back of the house that sat at the end of a narrow grassy area, and I fell in love with the old, gnarled grape vines shading a cement patio. The exterior of the duplex reminded me of our house in Provence, which I’d never got over selling after my divorce. Talk about sacred spaces. That property was truly magical. I loved living in France, which had been a long time dream.

The French house sat on a dirt road on one acre of land between two vineyards, with a pool and an orchard at the end of the property. I named the house, ‘La maison à côté des vignes’, the house next door to vineyards. I’d never named a house, which is quite common in Provence, and the little plaque on the mailbox proved to be quite handy as our road had no name. I was heartbroken when a single, French lawyer bought the home we’d lovingly redesigned, decorated, and enjoyed with mostly my blood, sweat, and heart, but c’est la vie. The attorney now lives next door to her brother, which is nice for them. After the sale, she kindly extended an open invitation–I could visit my home any time. I think she meant it. So you see, I had to love the West Virginia house; nothing less would do. I had to fall in love with the red brick duplex that would take most of my money to buy.

When the realtor opened the door, I couldn’t place the odor emanating from somewhere in the door jam. “Cat piss,” said the realtor scrunching her nose and pointing down. “They had cats.” Great. “A little Kilz will take care of that.” I didn’t know what Kilz was, but I was all for eradicating the smell from my world. I followed her inside. The acrid, lingering odor of cat urine and how to get rid of it loomed large in my dubious mind as we stepped into the living room.

In my mind, the West Virginia house already had two strikes against it with no wood-burning fireplace and the cat urine. However it had three major things going for it: it was an historic property; the owner was willing to agree to owner financing; and the sale price and yearly taxes were incredibly low (to me). I could buy the house by putting down a chunk of my half of the proceeds from the sale of the French house, which would keep my monthly payments at $500. I had to give this house serious attention and consideration.

I asked the realtor to allow me to tour the interior of the historic property alone because first impressions are important to me. I knew what I was looking for: hardwood floors, period features, and real wood doors with original door handles. My mental check list also included sash windows; a dry cellar, hopefully with a cement floor; and a large attic with cathedral ceilings, which I thought this house had because of the three small windows in the attic I’d spied from across the street. I went through each room, taking notes with no distractions or interruptions, sniffing inside two small closets and every corner, praying I wouldn’t detect any cat urine. Thankfully, I didn’t. I chalked it up to a highly pissed off, indoor cat making a statement to its’ owner, who had kicked it outdoors. Made sense to me.

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I was very pleased with the inside. I discovered sash windows with hazy, original glass; wide floor boards; Southern pine steps under blue shag carpeting; original doors with beautiful brass handles; and as I suspected, an enormous attic with cathedral ceilings, plenty of light, and thick, beautiful, exposed oak beams. At that point, the only negative, which was a shame, was that the fireplace on the main level had been removed, but the brick chimney was still in the attic. Was a wood-burning fireplace still a possibility? Oh, and I discovered countless layers of old linoleum on the attic floor which were probably hiding asbestos…a minor problem if I removed it, right? My mind was already on the placement of my old furniture and antiques in each room.  All the windows, doors, and door frames would need painting, and despite the linoleum flooring in the kitchen and utility room, the rest of the home had impeccable Southern pine floors under the carpeting, which I would immediately rip out. This house was perfect for me. I’d buy plenty of Kilz when I figured out what it was.

I met the realtor in the kitchen and asked my questions. Fireplace? A possibility. Asbestos? A definite possibility. “If you don’t mess with it, it won’t mess with you,” she offered. I made a mental note to call my cousin who works for EPA. This was my home. “About the cat piss…” Kilz, an odorless sealer for hiding stains and sealing odors, would do the trick. Done.

Two days later, I walked through the house as an artist and a writer. I’d set up my art studio in the front bedroom with the morning light and wasn’t sure where I would write. I decided to wait and see how the house felt before deciding where my writing desk would go. I bought the home. I spent March through June painting the kitchen, bathroom, and utility room with my sister and a friend, and the movers arrived on a glorious day in July. In August, much to my dismay, I discovered the smell of cat urine in the cellar, which I thought emanated from the cement floor in the stone cellar. I Kilzed it two times. I spent August through November unpacking, decorating, and enjoying wine under my grape arbor that I thought might yield enough Concord grapes to make a few bottles of red wine.

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Ozzy. Rest in peace, buddy.

Well, it turned out my sacred space and perfect writing spot is at the dining room table, right smack in the middle of the house on the main level with a view of the flower garden. I’m quite happy with my quirky, charming home with the drafty windows. I have no savings and live frugally, but c’est la vie. I’m blessed to write full time and I smile most days. Do I still dream of living in France? Mais bien sûr!

The cat piss? Killz works wonders. By the following summer there was no trace of the previous cat. I swear by that stuff. Did we make wine? No, but every year, my neighbor makes two batches of her wonderful Concord grape jelly. Last year’s bounty yielded 25 small jars. The asbestos? When I win the lottery, I’ll call the EPA people to come out and remove the sheets of linoleum in the attic. So for now, if you see me glowing, you’ll know why.

Note from the author: A year after we sold the French house, I discovered two previous owners. Like us, long-time married couples, they’d divorced after buying the house. Years later, I read that water flowing under any home is a sure sign of marital disaster. I hope the French attorney remains single.

About Eleanor

ellie

Puerto Rican novelist, Eleanor Parker Sapia, was raised in the United States, Puerto Rico, and Europe. Eleanor’s careers as an artist, counselor, alternative health practitioner, Spanish language family support worker and a refugee case worker, inspire her stories.

‘A Decent Woman, Eleanor’s debut novel, set in turn of the nineteenth century Puerto Rico, was selected as 2015 July Book of the Month for Las Comadres & Friends National Latino Book Club, and is listed in Centro Voices, The Center of Puerto Rican Studies, ‘Essential Boricua Reading for the 2015 Holiday Season’. Eleanor is featured in the anthology, ‘Latina Authors and Their Muses’, edited by Mayra Calvani, and in the soon-to-be released anthology, Organic Coffee, Haphazardly Literary Society, edited by Allie Burke. Eleanor is a proud member of Las Comadres Para Las Americas, PEN America, The National Association of Professional Women, and the Historical Novel Society. She is a contributing writer at Organic Coffee, Haphazardly Literary Society. When not writing, she loves facilitating creativity groups, reads, and tells herself she is making plans to walk El Camino de Santiago de Compostela a second time.

Eleanor adores her two adult children and currently lives in West Virginia, where she is writing her second novel, ‘The Lament of Sister Maria Inmaculada’, and a collection of short stories.

http://www.amazon.com/Decent-Woman-Eleanor-Parker-Sapia-ebook/dp/B00TUP47W

 

 

 

Lily Pulitzer Reading Glasses and Getting Older

20150405_160228Last night while eating dinner, I realized my reading glasses were still perched on the bridge of my nose. I lifted the reading glasses and looked at my dinner plate. Fuzzy. My tuna salad looked like a green, congealed mess with flecks of black and red. I lowered my reading glasses and voila–tuna salad on a bed of crisp, green Romaine lettuce with bright red tomatoes and black olives. I looked across the room, out the window, and spotted my neighbor’s daughter, the one with curly brown hair and cute dimples. My reading vision is getting worse, but my distance vision is 20-20. Now. But that wasn’t always the case.

In 2004, I decided it was time to look into laser surgery for my failing vision–I had -7 vision in both eyes, which put me in the legally blind category. My vision was so bad that without my eye glasses or contact lenses, I couldn’t see the nose on your face if you stood three feet from me, and if I lost, broke, or misplaced my eyeglasses, I couldn’t drive home even if I was the designated driver that evening. My life with eye glasses started in the third grade after a teacher noticed I was squinting at the black board, so believe me, by 2004 I was ready for laser surgery.

I contacted a highly recommended eye surgeon who lived near my home in Brussels, Belgium and made an appointment for a consultation. Sadly, he informed me that I wasn’t a candidate for laser surgery because my corneas were too thin. I was so disappointed. But as it turned out, he was one of five eye surgeons in the world at that time who performed lens implants–quite a new procedure. Now, the idea of having my eyeball cut and a foreign object placed inside my eye gave me nightmares. What if his scalpel slipped? Then where would I be? Completely blind. Well, it took me two weeks to decide if it was worth submitting to this extremely delicate procedure. I made the appointment. One of the perks was that in Belgium, this type of surgery wasn’t considered cosmetic. Hallelujah. My insurance would cover it. The only issue I might encounter, said the doctor, was a bit of trouble driving at night, and that I’d probably need reading glasses, which at that time, I didn’t need, but had always thought were very cool. No problem.

As I sat in the surgeon’s waiting room, I was given a Valium and on the operating table I went. The worst part was the apparatus to keep my eye open, but the lovely Valium helped a bunch. The procedure took thirty minutes per eye, and when I sat up, I was handed dark sunglasses to protect my delicate eyes. The surgeon asked me to look out the window and I could see. I mean, I looked out the window and saw the narrow stripes on the store awning across the street AND I could read the signs all around his office. I cried like a baby and hugged the surgeon and both nurses in the room. It was one of the happiest moments of my life. In a day or so, I was able to remove the dark glasses and he was right, I soon needed low-prescription reading glasses. My first pair was a black pair like Lauren Bacall, Marilyn Monroe and Greta Garbo wore, who happen to be some of my favorite actresses. I loved those glasses. Then, an addiction reared its’ ugly head.

I became and still am addicted to reading glasses. I know, it’s nuts. I’m owning and admitting it. I have reading glasses in light aqua and brown (stolen from an old boyfriend), brown, turquoise, tortoise-shell, black, silver, and gold, and I used to own a pair of reading glasses in Lilly Pulitzer colors. Remember her preppie, pastel-colored vacation clothes? Yuck. I must have been insane to wear those clothes in the seventies. I gave that pair away. Well, I’m always on the lookout for a new pair of reading glasses. When I travel, I look for new colors and must pack at least three pairs because there’s nothing more irritating or unseemly as trying to read a Washington, DC, Paris or London subway or street map with your face all scrunched up. Lately, I’m craving a lavender pair of reading glasses.

As a writer, I can easily sit at the laptop for eight to ten hours a day and in that time, my little reading glasses rarely leave bridge of my nose. Every now and then, like when I run to the kitchen for a cup of tea or coffee, let the dog out, or take a walk, I take them off, but pretty much, they’re on my face. I have reading glasses in my car, by my bed, in the bathroom, near the couch, by my laptop, and in several purses. Actually, I should leave a pair at my son and daughter’s houses, too. I can think of no other item that I have as many duplicates of…well, okay…I have a helluva lot of shoes.

Twelve years on, thank God my vision is still 20-20, and I still drive at night with no problem. I’m adapting and accepting my age. I’m getting used to my fluctuating weight, creaking knees, gravity, and my more than taut than muscles that need constant stretching, but my eyes are special. I take good care of them. So since I know I’m never giving up writing and blogging, or wearing reading glasses, I’m enlarging the font and getting on with it!

This week I might check out the mall for reading glasses. Maybe they’ll have a lavender pair that come with a cute case, and maybe it’s time for an eye glass chain. Look, the way I see it, because I was brave, I saved money on what I would have otherwise spent on contact lenses, eye glasses, and opthamology appointments, and I spend $10-20 a month on my addiction–reading glasses. See what I mean?

About Eleanor

ellie

Puerto Rican novelist, Eleanor Parker Sapia, was raised in the United States, Puerto Rico, and Europe. Eleanor’s careers as an artist, counselor, alternative health practitioner, Spanish language family support worker and a refugee case worker, inspire her stories.

‘A Decent Woman, Eleanor’s debut novel, set in turn of the nineteenth century Puerto Rico, was selected as 2015 July Book of the Month for Las Comadres & Friends National Latino Book Club, and is listed in Centro Voices, The Center of Puerto Rican Studies, ‘Essential Boricua Reading for the 2015 Holiday Season’. Eleanor is featured in the anthology, ‘Latina Authors and Their Muses’, edited by Mayra Calvani, and in the soon-to-be released anthology, Organic Coffee, Haphazardly Literary Society, edited by Allie Burke. Eleanor is a proud member of Las Comadres Para Las Americas, PEN America, The National Association of Professional Women, and the Historical Novel Society. She is a contributing writer at Organic Coffee, Haphazardly Literary Society. When not writing, she loves facilitating creativity groups, reads, and tells herself she is making plans to walk El Camino de Santiago de Compostela a second time.

Eleanor adores her two adult children, animals, and currently lives in West Virginia, where she is writing her second novel, ‘The Lament of Sister Maria Immaculata’ and working on a collection of short stories.

http://www.amazon.com/Decent-Woman-Eleanor-Parker-Sapia-ebook/dp/B00TUP47W

 

 

 

Bilingualism in Literature

Interesting blog post on bilingualism in literature by Millie Slavidou.

The Conclave of Sappho

There are two things that could be meant by bilingualism in literature. First of all, it could mean featuring a bilingual character in an otherwise monolingual book, or in some way working a mention of it into the story. Secondly, and I suspect this is the meaning that will spring to most people’s minds, it could refer to a book that has been written in two languages. This could be a text with the same story in either language on opposite pages, or it could be a story that has been purposely written in two languages. Here, we shall look at the first issue.

In the first instance, I think it is important for there to be bilingual characters in literature. Bilingualism is a normal part of life. There are in fact more bilinguals in the world than there are monolinguals, so it is hardly an unusual phenomenon – and…

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Author Interview: Mayra Calvani

The Writing Life is very pleased to welcome the prolific and multi-talented writer, Mayra Calvani, my good friend for over ten years. Early in my writing journey, Mayra was a mentor and her kindness knows no bounds. I am proud and honored to host this talented lady today.

Mayra Calvani high resolution

Award-winning author Mayra Calvani has penned over ten books for children and adults in genres ranging from picture books to nonfiction to paranormal fantasy novels. She’s had over 300 articles, short stories, interviews and reviews published in magazines such as The WriterWriter’s Journal and Bloomsbury Review, among others. A native of San Juan, Puerto Rico, she now resides in Brussels, Belgium.

Hello, Mayra!

What is your book’s genre/category?

Nonfiction/Anthology

Final book cover Latina Authors and Their Muses

Mayra, please describe what the anthology is about.

Latina Authors and Their Muses is a very dear, love project of mine which began its long journey several years ago. As you know, since you’re part of it, it is an anthology of interviews with 40 Latina authors living in the States and writing primarily in English, authors writing in various genres from literary to fantasy to paranormal to romance, and then some. It is a celebration of creativity and the artist’s soul, but it also offers savvy advice on the business of publishing and book promotion. I hope that my book will serve to inspire and inform the Latina authors of the future. One thing I should mention, though, is that while the book is especially focused on Latina writers, the topics discussed are of interest to all women writers.

Thank you for inviting me to be a part of the anthology, Mayra! I am honored to be among the talented Latina writers featured in ‘Latina Authors and Their Muses’. How did you come up with the title?

The title came to me early on and in a flash, way before I actually started working on the book. I usually must have a title before I can comfortably start writing.

Why did you decide to put together this amazing anthology?

I think it’s important to bring to light the excellent books Latina authors are producing these days, as well as to showcase Hispanic American literature in general. I’d also like to inspire aspiring writers, the Latina authors of the future.

It’s a very inspirational book. What is your favorite part of writing?

Getting into the zone and immersing myself into the world of my characters. It’s an adventure.

What is the most challenging aspect of writing?

To stay disciplined and keep a regular writing schedule. We depend totally on ourselves to work. We don’t have a boss threatening to fire us if we don’t get the job done. Struggling with the inner critic can be very challenging at times.

Mayra, who are some of your favorite authors?

In my teens, I loved Agatha Christie and Stephen King. In college, I couldn’t get enough of Tama Janowitz’s quirky satiric books. In my late twenties and thirties, it was Anne Rice. Nowadays, my favorite author is Donna Tartt, though I have eclectic tastes and read across a wide range of genres. Lately I’ve been discovering the work of Virginia Woolf, as well as the female Gothic writers of the 19th century.  

What authors or person(s) have influenced you?

All the authors I just mentioned have influenced me in various degrees. Anne Rice has probably been the most influential.

Favorite place to write?

I love to write in quiet libraries, but also in noisy cafes. My absolute favorite time to write is when I go to 3-day retreats with my local SCBWI group. It’s incredibly intense and I can get about 4,000 words a day done, which is huge for me. We go on these retreats twice a year. Mostly, though, I write in the quiet of my office, headphones to atmospheric music thunderstorm nature sounds.

Something personal about you people may be surprised to know? 

Hmm…I can speak in 4 languages, one of them Turkish.

Any surprises or learning experiences with the publishing process?

I can’t think of anything specific, but it’s been a long, long process, with learning experiences in every step of the way. The publishing world is so dynamic, there’s always something new to learn.

So true. Looking back, what did you do right that helped you with this book?

Staying organized!

You are one of the most organized people I know! Any advice for writers looking to get published?

Don’t let anyone deter you from achieving your dream. Stay focused and stay persistent. If you work hard, and you want to become and author so badly that you can taste it on your tongue, you’ll get published. Of course, always keep improving your craft.

Great advice, Mayra. Website and social media links:

www.MayraCalvani.com, and I’d love to invite your readers to join my mailing list.

Connect with Mayra on the Web:

Website: www.MayraCalvani.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/mcalvani

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/Author-Mayra-Calvani-162383023775888/

Where can we find the anthology?

On Amazon, B&N, and most online retailers. It can also be ordered from any brick & mortar bookstore.

Final book cover Latina Authors and Their Muses

What’s next for you, Mayra?

I have several. I recently terminated with an agent and I’m in search of another agent for a YA psychological thriller set in Puerto Rico in the 1970s. I’m also self-publishing a series of novels under a pen name.

On the nonfiction front, I just got an offer for a contract for another anthology titled, Born to Write: Honoring Your Gift When Your Partner Doesn’t Support Your Writing. This will be a collection of essays from different authors to be published in the spring of 2017.

Thank you for giving me this opportunity to talk about my book, Ellie!

It’s always a great pleasure when you visit, Mayra! Best of luck with ‘Latina Authors and their Muses’ and in finding an agent for your new book. I look forward to reading it!

About Eleanor

ellie

Puerto Rican novelist, Eleanor Parker Sapia, was raised in the United States, Puerto Rico, and Europe. Eleanor’s careers as an artist, counselor, alternative health practitioner, Spanish language family support worker and a refugee case worker, inspire her stories.

‘A Decent Woman, Eleanor’s debut novel, set in turn of the nineteenth century Puerto Rico, was selected as 2015 July Book of the Month for Las Comadres & Friends National Latino Book Club, and is listed in Centro Voices, The Center of Puerto Rican Studies, ‘Essential Boricua Reading for the 2015 Holiday Season’. Eleanor is featured in the anthology, ‘Latina Authors and Their Muses’, edited by Mayra Calvani, and in the soon-to-be released anthology, Organic Coffee, Haphazardly Literary Society, edited by Allie Burke. Eleanor is a proud member of Las Comadres Para Las Americas, PEN America, The National Association of Professional Women, and the Historical Novel Society. She is a contributing writer at Organic Coffee, Haphazardly Literary Society. When not writing, she loves facilitating creativity groups, reads, and tells herself she is making plans to walk El Camino de Santiago de Compostela a second time.

Eleanor adores her two adult children and currently lives in West Virginia, where she is writing her second novel, ‘The Lament of Sister Maria Immaculata’, and a collection of short stories.

http://www.amazon.com/Decent-Woman-Eleanor-Parker-Sapia-ebook/dp/B00TUP47W

Don’t Rush the Story: Remain in the Mystery with Your Characters

when writing a character...hemingwayWhen I trained to become a counselor, we were taught to enter the therapy room and check our emotional baggage at the door by visualizing the placement of a suitcase filled with ‘our stuff’ high on a shelf for the duration of the session. We were asked to come in clear-headed, open to receive, and instructed to create a safe place for our client. I learned to do that with all my clients, who walked in with diverse backgrounds, life experiences, and opinions.

I paid attention to the reasons why and how the client reacted to ‘stuff’ in the counseling sessions, while paying close attention to their body language, tone of voice, mannerisms, and what they chose to share or not share. It was a privilege to sit with clients and walk by their sides as they took their journeys, and I was conscious to never rush them along or lead the sessions. I found that with enough patience, trust was built, and the sessions progressed…but only as far as they wanted to go at a particular time.

While writing my first novel, ‘A Decent Woman’, I had a light bulb moment—I realized it was important to offer the characters in my stories the same courtesy, support, and patient attention I’d paid my counseling clients.

With the first novel, I wrote a brief outline and filled out 3×5 index cards for each character, with their physical description, age, and a bit about their personalities. I didn’t write a detailed synopsis or in-depth character study until my second editor asked me to rewrite several chapters and add two chapters to the draft manuscript. With my work in progress, I followed the same technique: I outlined the story, wrote a quick character study of each character, but I didn’t write a long synopsis until I’d written ten chapters; certainly much earlier than with book one. Then I wrote an eight-page synopsis that grew to ten pages the following week. The week after that, I tackled the new outline and believe me, the character studies of each character grew immensely. I gave them a proper life. A waste of writing time; a cock-eyed approach? Not for many writers. Let me explain.

Creating characters for a work of fiction is a fascinating process. I might have an idea of who they are, what their jobs are, and what they look like physically, but initially I don’t know how they’ll react to the other characters in the story, or how they’ll fare in the complicated, complex world I have built for them. Are they strong-willed, jealous-types, haughty and arrogant, or empathic and kind-hearted? Are they good listeners, deep thinkers, or shallow individuals who can’t be counted on in a pinch? A character’s deeper, more personal qualities aren’t always apparent until I begin writing the story. Sometimes, more time and digging are required to really know my character inside out.

Let me give you an example. You’ve been introduced to a new neighbor, and soon you  discover many shared experiences. The friendship develops quicker than most of the friendships in your life. She seems to be the ying to your yang. Then, a blizzard paralyzes your town with over 35 inches of snow. It’s impossible to shovel the snow fast enough, and hard as you may try, there is nowhere to put the snow. You and new neighbor commiserate with each other, and make plans for coffee as soon as the snow melts.

A day later, you’re sitting at your kitchen table and notice that you can’t see out the bay window for the mountain of snow in front of it. You step outside and catch new neighbor shoveling snow as fast as she can…and she’s heaving the white stuff into your small front yard. You’re stunned beyond belief. Why would she do that? You struggle to understand her actions, which are not only rude, but unconscionable. You would have never done that to her…not to anyone. Who is this woman? Who is she, indeed? You thought you knew her.

This example is similar to writing a new character—we don’t always know a character well enough when we begin writing, and even if we do think we’ve ‘pegged’ them at the start, new, interesting facts can develop. Some facts might be downright distasteful or wonderfully surprising and both can be helpful to the story.

As a writer, I strive to honor each of my characters and their story with my undivided time, attention, and patience. My goal is to create well-fleshed out, complex characters, but I can’t do that if I accept what is first apparent about a character. If I don’t dig deeper into the who, why, how, where, and backstory, of a character, the story will seem flat and uninteresting.

I dig deeper by creating mini bios for each main character, including where they were born, who raised them, a bit about their childhood, and their personalities traits. I write a detailed physical description of each character, and since I’m a visual person, I often find photographs to accompany the descriptions from magazines and the Internet. I find unique mannerisms, dislikes and likes: what makes them tick, and I jot down their strengths and weaknesses as that helps with natural dialogue, inner conflicts, and the resolutions, if any.

This technique works for me, in addition to walking side by side and getting to know my characters while writing a few chapters to get comfortable. I don’t rush this process. After that, I’m ready to tell their story from their unique perspective, which I can’t know about without actually writing.

You may have a different technique for creating interesting, memorable characters, and in that case, vive la différence!

Happy writing to you!

About Eleanor

ellie

Puerto Rican novelist, Eleanor Parker Sapia, was raised in the United States, Puerto Rico, and Europe. Eleanor’s careers as an artist, counselor, alternative health practitioner, Spanish language family support worker, and a refugee case worker, inspire her stories.

‘A Decent Woman, Eleanor’s debut novel, set in turn of the nineteenth century Puerto Rico, was selected as 2015 July Book of the Month for Las Comadres & Friends National Latino Book Club, and is listed in Centro Voices, The Center of Puerto Rican Studies, ‘Essential Boricua Reading for the 2015 Holiday Season’. Eleanor is featured in the anthology, ‘Latina Authors and Their Muses’, edited by Mayra Calvani, and in the soon-to-be released anthology, Organic Coffee, Haphazardly Literary Society, edited by Allie Burke. Eleanor is a proud member of Las Comadres Para Las Americas, PEN America, The National Association of Professional Women, and the Historical Novel Society. She is a contributing writer at Organic Coffee, Haphazardly Literary Society. When not writing, she loves facilitating creativity groups, reads, and tells herself she is making plans to walk El Camino de Santiago de Compostela a second time.

Eleanor adores her two adult children and currently lives in West Virginia, where she is writing her second novel, ‘The Lament of Sister Maria Immaculata’, and a collection of short stories.