Featured Interview With Alexis Candelaria
Tell us a little about yourself. Where were you raised? Where do you live now?
I grew up in Los Angeles in relative poverty and dreamed of writing my own book since I was seven years old. I no longer live in Los Angeles, however, I remain an educator in this city.
I am an educator in Los Angeles and have dedicated my career to supporting students and families who have experienced trauma. I strive to create school communities that are trauma informed. I write about mental health issues, grief, and trauma. I write primarily about these issues because I believe in the therapeutic value in the narrative form.
I have a cat, Piper and a dog, Clayton.
At what age did you realize your fascination with books? When did you start writing?
I have always loved reading and writing. I remember writing my first "book" when I was seven, in a notebook I found in my home. It was about a young girl who cuts off all of her hair and fights crime in her city. Growing up, I wrote poetry and short stories in private, but it wasn't until I turned 27 that I was able to start and finish a manuscript. Since then, I have written 3 books.
Who are your favorite authors to read? What is your favorite genre to read. Who Inspires you in your writings?
I have written almost all books written by Haruki Murakami. He is my favorite writer because he pushes the boundaries of fiction and challenges writers to be brave with their ideas. He is definitely my biggest inspiration. I also love the Rabbit series by John Updike. I also love the classics like Ana Karenina, Crime and Punishment, and books by Nabokov. I would be remiss if I didn't cite my love for Little Women. Seminal books like The Color Purple, Their Eyes were Watching God, and Night have also shaped me as a writer, forcing me to confront the darker side of humanity and struggle.
Tell us a little about your latest book?
Grace is a young trauma doctor whose life is turned upside down when she meets an up and coming journalist, Simon Riveros. Living in a time when women’s rights are being slowly stripped away, Grace finds herself in an unthinkable situation and struggles to connect the series of events that led her here. Grace fails to recognize that she is shouldering the weight of tremendous grief in the form of family strife and ultimately, loss. Grace’s journey takes her to the darkest realms of the human psyche. Soon, it becomes apparent that Grace’s tenuous grip on reality, and ultimately her life, is in jeopardy.
Set in Los Angeles, In the Absence of Grace, explores the simmering impact of oppression on trauma. At every turn, the novel delves into the desperate measures people take when they simultaneously have nothing and everything to lose.
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