Graciela LimónGraciela Limón is a Latina Writer, Educator and Activist. She received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Spanish Literature from Marymount College Los Angeles, a Master of Arts Degree in the same field from the University of the Americas Mexico City, followed by a PhD in Latin American Literature from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA).  Prior to retirement, Limón was a professor of U.S. Hispanic Literature as well as Chair of the Department of Chicana/o Studies at Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, California.  She is now Professor Emeritus of that University.

Limón has written critical work on Mexican, Latin American and Caribbean Literature.  However, she now concentrates her writing efforts on creative fiction that is germane to her areas of interest: feminism, social justice and cultural identity.  Her body of work includes In Search of Bernabé that won The Before Columbus Foundation American Book Award (1994).   Limón also published The Memories of Ana Calderón (1994), Song of the Hummingbird (1996) andThe Day of the Moon (1999).   Erased Faces, which was awarded the 2002 Gustavus Myers Book Award, was published in 2001, Left Alive was released in 2005, The River Flows North, 2009, followed by The Madness of Mamá Carlota, 2012.  Her latest book is The Intriguing Life of Ximena Godoy, published by Cafe con Leche Books. Find out more about Graciela at www.gracielalimon.com.

Welcome to Blogger News, Graciela! When did you decide you wanted to become an author? 

When I was around eighteen years old I dreamed of becoming a novelist.  I wanted this with all my heart, but then as I went on in pursuit of a higher education, as I achieved undergraduate as well as graduate degrees, I entered the world of academic teaching.  I became a university professor, and while doing this I dedicated myself entirely to the type of writing demanded of a professor, that is, critical, scholarly writing.  Without even knowing it, my dream of becoming a novelist faded and almost died until years later, when I had achieved the top rank of professor, the dream returned.  It was then that I began the task that I love, the task of creative writing.

Were you an avid reader as a child? What type of books did you enjoy reading? 

Yes, I was an avid reader as a child ever since my father periodically took me to the neighborhood library.  It was then that I fell in love with books.  What type of books did I enjoy reading?  From the beginning was biography and novels with an historical background that fascinated me.  And this is still the case.

ximenaTell us a bit about your latest book, and what inspired you to write such a story. 

My latest book, The Intriguing Life of Ximena Godoy, is a novel about a woman.  Her story begins and ends with a crime committed in Los Angeles.  The middle of tale tells of Ximena Godoy’s early life and the years that lead to her maturity.  She lives through exciting historical moments such as the Mexican Revolution, the Spanish Influenza that struck Mexico (as well as the rest of the world), the Repatriation and Prohibition periods.  I won’t say more so as not to spoil it for our readers, but Ximena Godoy is a complex, flawed human being that I find inspiring precisely because she isn’t conventional or traditional, meaning the often recurrent passive and timid Latina.

How would you describe your creative process while writing this book? Was it stream-of-consciousness writing, or did you first write an outline?

I’m definitely a stream-of-consciousness writer.  Let me explain!  Although I do indeed make up an outline it usually gets left by the side once my characters step out of the recesses of my imagination and take shape.  At this point they take over the story, and it’s good-by outline.  Then I become very much just a scribe.  I follow their lead.  This creative process is a mystery, but that’s what happens in my case.

Who is your target audience?

My target audience is the Latina/o reader mostly because it’s our world that I hope to recreate as well as characters that mirror our life and ways.  Ideally, I would want every sector of our society to appreciate my work: men and women, and especially our young adults in their twenties and thirties.

What will the reader learn after reading your book? 

I sincerely hope that any reader of my book will find her/himself uplifted after finishing the read.  I hope that lessons will be discovered, that a reflection of that reader’s personal life will resonate on each page, and that the reader will find that my book is indeed a contribution to the world of fiction.

What type of writer are you—the one who experiences before writing, like Hemingway, or the one who mostly daydreams and fantasizes? 

I’m like Hemingway in that I draw from my experiences, and also from those of people who surround me.  It’s from this experience that my writing emerges, perhaps not as a duplicate but as an echo, a sigh, a pulse of that experience.  Because of this my writing also holds a mix of many experiences, of many times and spaces.

Do you get along with your muse? What do you do to placate her when she refuses to inspire you? 

My Muse is a very aged, very wise Aztec woman whose name is Huitzitzilin (Hummingbird).  She hovers over my shoulder as I toil to reveal the story that is locked inside my imagination, and only she has the key to that lock.  At times she is playful, even a trickster (una traviesa).  At those times she teases me with bits and snippets of inspiration, but at others she flies away leaving me alone and pretty blue.  When she sees that I’m about to abandon my writing, she rushes back and becomes my Nurturer.  This is when the words flow.  I’ve never really had to ‘placate’ her because she’s much too empathetic, but I do have to understand her playful ways and be very patient.

They say authors have immensely fragile egos… How would you handle negative criticism or a negative review? 

I do believe that authors have fragile egos, perhaps more than most people.  I think that it comes with an author’s nature, and cannot be avoided.  As a punishment for that inflated ego is the immense hurt that comes with negative criticism/review.  Speaking for myself, it has happened that a work of mine has received an abundance of applause and congratulation, but then comes that one negative, scathing review.  And that’s the one that sticks, and burns, and hurts, even for years.  Why pay such inordinate attention to the speck instead of the mountain?  Well, it’s that Ego.  And perhaps this is a healthy aspect of an author’s make-up because it brings one down to earth in a startling way.  Personally speaking, I cannot say that I ‘handle’ negativity regarding my work.  Instead I try to learn from it.  In the end, however, I have to be honest and say that nothing softens the blow.

As a writer, what scares you the most? 

What scares me the most as a writer is living through that dark night of the soul when my Muse pretends to have abandoned me.  I’m frightened when I feel as if every word in the universe has been erased leaving me empty handed and incapacitated to ever write again.

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

Yes!  Please visit me at www.gracielalimon.com  or http://authorcentral.amazon.com.

I love to have conversations with  readers.

As an author, what is your greatest reward? 

As an author, my greatest reward is the reader.  Whether or not that reader likes my work, whether or not s/he approves of my concepts and views, or style, it’s okay.  What matters is knowing that somehow I’ve reached that one reader.

Anything else you’d like to say about yourself or your work? 

Only that it’s been a pleasure to visit and have you listen to me.  I hope our paths cross again some day.

Thanks for stopping by! It was a pleasure to have you here!

 

 

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