This week, I am so excited to introduce Zoraida Córdova to the ball! Zoraida has written adult, YA, and short fiction; Labyrinth Lost was a fantastically inventive YA fantasy novel, and it’s one of the most exciting books I read last year. Zoraida’s also a fantastic public speaker. Her keynote at last year’s Sirens Conference was thoroughly entertaining and thought-provoking. The second book in her Brooklyn Brujas series comes out in June, and I absolutely cannot wait to read it. Welcome to the Debutante Ball, Zoraida!
Where do you love to be?
I love to be constantly moving. I don’t have a single favorite place to be, though the beach is pretty up there. I love to travel and discover new places. Being outside my comfort zone helps me create. There’s something about being on a train or miles up in the air that gets me thinking about my plots and characters and stories I want to tell. Though I love coming home to New York City, it’s not long before I’m searching for a new place to visit. Next up is Spain. It’ll be the first time I’m going and I’m excited to soak up the inspiration.
The road to publication is twisty at best–tell us about some of your twists.
Writing is hard. Publishing is harder. There are so many things that come with being a novelist as a day job. Sometimes you even hate the act of writing, but you come back to it. There are lots of jobs that are harder than writing, but for those who have chosen this path, I think we can agree that the words don’t always come. Publishing is difficult because the goal posts are always changing. You want different things, better things. First an agent, then a book deal, then a bigger book deal, then adaptions, then more more more. You have to decide how you define success for yourself. For me, I think I’m still figuring it out. For me, I think it’s become about making sure I live up to the expectations I set for myself. You’ll discover that there were outside expectations you didn’t even know about, and that you’ve disappointed people. But what’s important to remember is that as long as you’ve done everything you could for your books, you should be proud of them.
What is your advice for aspiring writers?
It might be a tired old saying but READ. One of the biggest things that happens when you’re on deadline is that you stop having the same amount of time to read. But honestly, it makes us better writers. I know people have the fear that reading a book too close to theirs, or a book in a similar genre, will have an echo effect on our work, but I don’t think that’s true. I think in order to write a specific genre we have to be able to read what already exists and the writers who set the stage. That doesn’t mean you have to be a fan of everything, but reading is some of what makes us part of a community.
Have you ever tried writing in a different genre? How did that turn out?
I write romance as well under a pen name, though the On the Verge series is under Zoraida Córdova. Romance has taught me a lot about writing complicated relationships. It really makes me delve deep into what my characters are feeling, and I think that’s translated into my fantasy. Not just the kissing parts. But one of the things that romance does best is give characters the time to shine and develop. There’s a lot of internal work happening, not just action. Everyone can benefit from reading more romance novels.
What’s your next big thing?
Bruja Born comes out on June 5th, 2018. I’m currently working on Brooklyn Brujas #3 and a many projects that don’t have release dates yet. I’m currently living by the line from Hamilton, “Write day and night like you’re running out of time.”
Zoraida Córdova is the award-winning author of The Vicious Deep trilogy and the Brooklyn Brujas series. Her short fiction has appeared in the New York Times bestselling anthology, Star Wars: From a Certain Point of View, and Toil & Trouble: 16 Tales of Women and Witchcraft.
Bruja Born is the second book in the Brooklyn Brujas series. It’s the story of Lula Mortiz, the eldest of the Mortiz bruja sisters. After a freak car accident that kills her friends and boyfriend, Maks, Lula gets her sisters to help her figure out a way to bring Maks back. But the boy who returns is not the boy she loved, and she’s broken the balance between life and death. It’s going to take all of New York’s magical finest to fix the undead invasion these witches have cooked up.
Where to find Zoraida: