Margo Candela thinks that her focus on Latina women does not make her a niche writer, but instead gives her books more authentic personality and appeal. In this interview, she tells readers a little bit about her working methods, as well as why it's nice to be friends with other writers.
What is Good-bye to All That about, for those who haven't read it?
Good-bye To All That is about a gal in her 20s who lets her job take over her life. I'm fascinated by work and workplaces. It's been a while since I've had a proper office job and when it came time write this book, I knew that the main character's job would play a huge role in the story. When I pitched it to my editor, I boiled it down to Working Girl meets Mad Men with a bit of Entourage thrown in.
Your books have done very well and you make a living as an author. How does it feel, living the American Dream?
I feel very lucky to be able to do what I do. The only reason I've been able to write full-time is because my husband has shouldered the majority of our financial well-being these past few years. I always knew I wanted to write and majored in journalism. After college I wrote for websites and made an actual living, I even had health insurance. I took a big left turn in my late 20s to wind up here. I'm very glad I did, but I wouldn't mind being able to pay my fair share of the bills.
You write for a mainly Latino audience. Do you feel that has alienated you from the mainstream audience?
I write commercial fiction that features Latino and Latina characters and I'd like to think my books are very accessible to any type of reader - especially those who like chick lit. My novels center around family, self, and learning from mistakes. I don't think of those themes as being primarily Latino. There's a great commonality in the human experience and I'm giving the reader my take on it, with a good dose of humor.
You're a very prolific writer. How do you keep cranking out the pages on days when you feel like just laying in bed?
Funny enough, I've written more than a few pages in bed. It's not at all ergonomic and I wouldn't suggest it. On days when I just can't deal with sitting down in front of my computer and facing down a blank Word document, I give myself permission to do something else. I'm a big fan of going to the movies, especially matinees. When I come out the theater, I always feel a little more focused. I've given my brain a break and it's early enough for me to maybe do some writing if I feel inspired.
Do you think that Latino writing community supports each other as much as they should?
I've been really lucky to fall into a crowd of good eggs. I could rattle off a list of them, but I'd have to leave more than a few of them off. I've linked to them on my blog not only because they're Latina writers, but because I'm lucky enough to consider them friends and people who I admire. I get to see some of them at book fairs and its always great fun to do panels with them. A couple I even get to hang out with just for fun when our lives and writing duties allow. As for the community as a whole, writers are people, some you get along with, some you don't, and some you're really lucky to call friends.
What are you working on next?
I recently adapted my second book, Life Over Easy, into a screenplay and, while that was fun and a challenge, it is going to take a bit to get my head back into novel mode. I always have a few ideas percolating and I hope to have my next manuscript almost done by the fall . . . once I decide what to write. That's my goal. It's just a matter of committing to the one idea I can live with for months on end.
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