Chuy Ramirez is an attorney who practices law in McAllen, Texas and is a partner in the firm Ramirez & Guerrero, LLP. He was also a partner for twenty-five years in the McAllen firm, Montalvo & Ramirez. Ramirez is a graduate of the University of Texas School of Law. At law school, he served as Articles Editor for the International Law Journal and published a note entitled, “Altering the Policy of Neglect of Undocumented Immigration from South of the Border," Vol. 18 in 1983. He lives in San Juan, Texas. Strawberry Fields is his first fictional work.
Welcome to Latino Books Examiner. Why don’t you start by telling us a bit about your latest book, and what inspired you to write it?
Two things motivated me. With the exception of Gloria Anzaldua (Frontera/The Borderlands) and Richard Rodriguez (to some extent), few works with Chicano characters truly capture those precious moments in a human being’s life that are universal. Quite the contrary, too many works are more like Diego Rivera’s Mexican art, overly political, or mythical. Second, the universe is filled with non-fictional writings about migrants and immigrants. But there is no emotion there.
How could I create something different? How could I capture and convey in a fictional work to any reader (regardless of race or ethnicity) in entertaining fashion that border life, that migrant life of the first- generation Chicanos in South Texas.
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 would say both. I write or type whenever I can and I write whatever comes through. Then, I outline, redraft, re-outline and redraft.
How long did it take you to write the book?
It took about 10 years (which left over voluminous materials for other works), but the bulk of the drafting about 2 -3 years.
Have you ever suffered from writer’s block?
Yes. Of course.
What seems to work for unleashing your creativity?
Several things work for me: being at home, at leisure, being alone, reading, listening to music, sitting in my yard. Travel of any kind seems to allow me to separate myself from my daily work and move into a creative state.
How was your experience in looking for a publisher? What words of advice would you offer those novice authors who are in search of one?
We created a publishing house to publish this work.
What type of book promotion seems to work the best for you? Share with us some writing tips!
I do not have the experience to provide much. The publicist contacts libraries, bookstores, reading groups, book enthusiast, organizations, universities, and the use of the media via the Internet has thus far been a way to market the book.
I enjoy small groups of all types, interests and interacting. Writing tips? How about read! Read! Read! & Write!.
What authors or type of books do you read for fun?
I read mostly fiction-primarily novels: Bible, short stories, poetry, travelogues and photography. In the past year: Hemingway, King, Faulkner, Carlos Fuentes, James, Marquez, Borges, Dickens, Frost, Graham Green and Poe
Do you think a critique group is essential for a writer?
Yes, essential for a new writer.
Do you have a website/blog where readers may learn more about you and your work?
Do you have another novel on the works? Would you like to tell readers about your current or future projects?
I have material collected for a novella set in current time involving a dying woman who spent 4 years as child in the Tulelake Concentration Camp in northern California during World War II. Like other Japanese of that era, she disappeared into another community, leaving behind her culture, language and memories. Now, she has developed a mother-son relationship with the attorney who is preparing her will and trusts and she desperately wants to revisit that time of childhood which she recalls as an idyllic setting. The attorney will eventually fulfill her dream by traveling to Tulelake during a Japanese pilgrimage carrying her wishes.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell my readers?
Thank you Mayra Calani a multi-genre author and book reviewer hails from San Juan, Puerto Rico. She’s a member of NuncaSola, a group of dedicated Latina writers, agents and editors. Visit Mayra at www.MayraCalvani.com. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.