Our family suffered a tragic loss when my eldest son took his own life in 2011, but I don’t know if there’s ever an end to such a journey. You have to find your way every single day. Living with loss becomes part of who you are. Like Angelica, I understand there are no guarantees in life, and I now have more empathy for anyone who’s suffered any kind of tragedy or loss. Life itself is a constantly evolving journey of self-discovery
2. Angelica speaks to an old love interest, Joe, about her life. Why not have her tell her story outright? Why tell it to Joe and not to the reader?
In the Context of Love is an intimate love story, and my hope is to create an equally intimate experience for the reader. If Angelica were to tell her story to the reader, the way most stories are written, she would be telling the reader about a tragic love affair. However, when she addresses Joe using “you,” the reader is drawn into their relationship: the reader hears “you” and knows it’s Joe, while at the same time the reader becomes the “you.” So, on a subliminal level, a reader can experience the love affair, rather than simply being told about it.
3. You’ve written short stories and poems before this. How challenging was it to write a novel?
I found it to be quite an undertaking, both exhilarating and exhausting. I relate it to writing one massive poem. One heck of a massive poem. And, you know, writers can spend years editing one poem, so the time a writer has to put into writing a novel didn’t concern me.
4. How long did it take you to write In the Context of Love?
I had a rough first draft in 2007, and I signed a publication contract with Buddhapuss Ink LLC in 2014, so that would be seven years, except I took a two-year break from writing when I lost my son. So I worked on it for about five years total.
5. Do you have any advice for budding writers trying to get published?
Think of your chapters as publishable excerpts, and submit them to literary journals and contests. Sometimes judges offer valuable feedback, and publishing credits will establish your credibility. Work with an author/editor to fine tune your manuscript. Take the time it needs to make it the best it can be. Lastly, don’t let rejection deter you from your goal.
6. Was In the Context of Love rejected by many publishers?
In the early stages, yes. I had an agent in 2010 who couldn’t sell it. After my two year hiatus, I completely overhauled the novel. Then I queried five or six small presses on my own and it sold quickly. I’m glad the agent didn’t sell the earlier manuscript because it’s a much better story now. I hope my readers will agree!