Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Straight from the Mouth of 'The Intriguing Life of Ximena Godoy' Graciela Limón

Graciela Limón, born in Los Angeles, California, is the daughter of Mexican immigrants.  She attended public and Catholic schools in her hometown, and continued on to university after which she became a professor of Latina/o Literature.  Parallel to her teaching, she has been an activist in Latina affairs, gender studies and Trans Border issues.  Limón has published nine novels, including her latest work, The Intriguing Life of Ximena Godoy.


Thanks for letting us interrogate you!  Can you give us a go-for-the-gut answer as to why you wanted to be an author?

It’s tough to describe the deep desire that I’ve always had to write stories but that’s what it is.  Writing takes me to a world inhabited by people that maybe are a combination of friends and probably even enemies, or they may be purely imagined.  Writing puts me in another world, one I don’t want to leave to return to my ordinary one. 

Tell us (we won’t tell promise!) is it all it’s cracked up to be?  I mean what are the perks and what are the demands?

Yes, it’s all it’s cracked up to be (for me, that is).  For the reasons I’ve just told, there’s great happiness in creating other worlds, although writing isn’t free of pain.  Writing is a lonely, solitary pathway, but one that for me is seductive.  However, its demands diminish in light of the satisfaction writing brings me.  The main perk is to see what was not there come into existence, and I, as the writer, am instrumental in that act of creation. 

Which route did you take – traditional or self-published – and can you give us the nitty gritty low down on what’s that like?

I chose the traditional path (searching until I found a publisher).  It was a bumpy road, one filled with the down-deep hurt of rejection after rejection.  Yet, I hung in there, always hoping that there would be at least one publisher that would recognize the worthiness of my work.  And when I was just about to give it all up in desperation, the miracle happened!  The University of Houston Press (Arte Público Press) read my first manuscript and agreed to publish it.  The rest is history, as the old saying goes. 

Tell us for real what your family feels about you spending so much time getting your book written, polished, edited, formatted, published, what have you?

Everyone around me: family, friends, the mail person, everyone, thinks I’m out of my mind when I embark on a new writing project.  In the beginning it was a mystery to them, but no longer.  Now they just scratch their head knowing there’s nothing to do except wait until the novel is completed, and we break out the champagne.

Do your pets actually get their food on time or do they have to wait until you type just one more word?

I have a pet.  Her name is Lolita (a cocker spaniel).  She’s the only being on the planet that understands my funny behavior while I write a novel.  She never complains, but then, she knows that even if only a little late, she will always be fed and loved.  Without Lolita’s understanding this author would die! 

Are they actually still alive?

Although I love green, living things, I don’t consider myself an authentic plant person -- real gardener.  Do you know what I mean?  All I do is make sure that the sprinklers work so that my grass doesn’t die. 

In writing your book, how did you deal with the phone ringing, your family needing dinner or your boss calling you saying you’re late?

I ignored everything:  bells, whistles, complaining, whining – everything.  I lived only in the world of my novel until I finished it.  Only then did I emerge as if out of a cave. 

What was the craziest or insane thing that happened to you in the book publishing process?

Really, I can’t remember of think of anything that would fit this question.  Perhaps the fact that I’m a writer in the first place is already too insane in itself to find a comparison. 

How about the social networks?  Which ones do you believe help and which ones do you wish you could avoid?

Aside from my website, I don’t participate in the social networks.  I don’t have the time to waste on gossip or useless prattle, and I certainly am not in the mood to let the masses in on my private life.  In our digital age this is pretty dumb, isn’t it?  But there it is.  That’s me, Graciela Limón! 

Book sales.  Don’t you just love them (or lack of?)?  How are you making the sales happen for you?

Oh, this blessing happens only with the help of a wonderful agent, a forward-looking publisher, and an excellent publicity person.  Of course, I hope my work merits the attention and willingness of someone to spend money on my books.  For that I need readers.  They’re the ones that make it happen. 

What is one thing you’d like to jump on the rooftop and scream about?

Happiness for me is the one reader that takes the time to email me to let me know that s/he has read my work and likes it.  That makes me scream with joy, and jump up and down, even on the rooftop. 

Okay, too much sugar for you today!  Here’s a nice cup of Chamomile tea and come on over and sit under the cabana and watch the waves roll in.  Now…can you tell us what you love about being a published author and how all those things above don’t matter because it’s all part of the whole scheme of things and you wouldn’t have it any other way?

I wouldn’t have it any other way because writing is in my DNA.  Being a published author, of course, is the icing on the cake, but the world of books has always and will always take me to heaven.  And to think that I’ve been able to contribute just a little grain of sand to that immense ocean makes me indescribably happy!  So, let’s enjoy those beautiful waves, and thanks so much for the nice cup of Chamomile tea.

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