I’m delighted to welcome Carmen Baca to the Writers Room! Let’s dive right in…
Carmen, who’s your favourite author, and what’s your favourite book?
I don’t have a favorite author; I have many, too many to choose just one: Shakespeare, Yann Martel, Laura Esquivel, David Kyea, Rudolfo Anaya. The list goes on.
What are you reading right now?
Margarito and Me by David Kyea. Short stories about colorful and relatable characters from northeastern New Mexico.
Tell us about your writing journey so far.
Having written my first manuscript in 1992, I was determined to publish it one day. That was the dream—just that one book about my father and his induction into our culture’s religious brotherhood. When it published in 2017, I fell in love with short story writing and discovered I had more stories within me. I became a full time author, and I haven’t stopped writing.
What’s the best and worst thing about being a writer?
The best is the joy of writing for hours at a time, crafting stories to entertain my readers. Whether I write horror one day and non-fiction essays the next doesn’t matter; producing my best effort in all my works for my readers does.
The worst—the waiting. Waiting for acceptance or rejection emails on submissions, waiting for my editor to return my MS, waiting for proof copies—the endless waiting in solitude sometimes makes me question why I write. Then I look at photos of my launches or a reader contacts me or something else happens to remind me how much I love what I do.
What does your writing process look like?
I come up with an idea for a story from brainstorming, then I open a new document and format it. The story forms in my mind’s eye like a virtual reality experience, and I write what I see. That’s it.
What are you working on right now?
Because we were in the path of the Hermits Peak Calf Canyon Fire in April and now because we are in danger of floods, I’m writing a non-fiction essay about how this disaster has affected those of us who call ourselves Norteños, native Spanish New Mexicans from northern New Mexico. I hope to convey to readers that our loss of homes, meadows, and forestlands due to human error by the government has altered a way of life our forefathers began in the 1500s.
What would you like to have achieved by the end of this year?
My sixth book publishes in a few weeks, so I’d like to publish a good number of short works and perhaps even my next book.
If you could share just one piece of advice with other writers, what would it be?
Learn the conventions of the language and the elements of story-telling to the best of your ability so when your betas, proofreaders, and editors have recommendations, your skills are so well developed you can determine which to accept and which to reject. If you’re serious about publishing, build a fan base long before the launch to have readers dying to read that all-important debut novel. Or better yet, publish short works first to have the following publishers and agents will appreciate.
Finally, where can we check out what you’ve written?
This one-stop link takes you to my website, my page on one of my publisher’s websites, my Amazon and Facebook pages, my Youtube channel, email, Flipboard, Twitter, Goodreads, and all Google-verified accounts for SEO.
Carmen Baca taught high school and college English for thirty-six years before retiring in 2014. Her command of English and her regional Spanish dialect contributes to her story-telling style. Her debut novel El Hermano published in April of 2017 and became a finalist in the NM-AZ book awards program in 2018. Her third book, Cuentos del Cañón, received first place for short story fiction anthology in 2020 from the same program. Her sixth book will publish in a few weeks from Somosenescrito Press. Her short stories, articles, and essays can be found in ezines, journals, and anthologies.
Follow Carmen here.