Interview with Author Lyn Di Iorio

Lyn Di IorioNot only is Lyn a power of example when it comes to writing, she is down to earth and is tireless in her work. I’m very happy to have her visit here today!

Lyn Di Iorio grew up in Puerto Rico and came to the Mainland to attend Harvard University. She teaches literature and creative writing at The City College of New York and The Graduate Center of the CIty University of New York. She is the author of scholarly books of Latino literature; this is her first novel, an excerpt of which won an honorable mention in the 2009 New Millenium Writings Awards Competition.

What is your genre and your intended audience?

I don’t have a specific “genre.”  I generally think of myself as a writer of literary fiction.  That said, however, some reviewers of OUTSIDE THE BONES surprised me by calling it a “mystery.”  It does have a mystery at its heart, but I don’t think it is exclusively a mystery story.

What are you currently writing?

I may be about to contradict what I said above-hah!  I am working on a book that is definitely in the suspense mode.  The working title is THE SOUND OF FALLING DARKNESS and the protagonist is a criminal.

When do you make time to write?

Since I am also a college professor, I try to take advantage of the summer and winter vacations as well as spring break.  It’s hard for me to get much writing done in the course of the semester, but sometimes I will try to do a little on my non-teaching days.

What would you have done differently in your writing life? If anything at all?

I think I would have let my first agent finish submitting my novel as she had intended.  I got cold feet in the midst of the submission process—which can be very grueling—and withdrew the novel from submission.

What inspired you to become a writer?

For one, reading so many great writers.  As a child I loved classic works such as the novels of Charles Dickens, Rudyard Kipling and so many other writers from all over the world, but I also loved mysteries by Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers, Dick Francis, and others. When I was a teenager I started reading work by Puerto Rican and Caribbean women writers such as Ana Lydia Vega, Rosario Ferré, and Jean Rhys, which really woke up my eyes to the magical and mysterious world that is the Caribbean.  I was also always really fascinated by the fact that the Afro-Caribbean religions were regarded with fear by most of the people I knew growing up.  Or, on the other hand, people negated their existence altogether.  But the more I discovered about them, the more they fascinated me.  I think, in general and this applies beyond my interest in Afro-Caribbean religio-magical practices, I am really intrigued by surfaces that seem commonplace with little cracks or flaws, and the more you explore the cracks the more you see that the apparently commonplace surfaces are just facades behind which lie completely different realities.

Tell us about your marketing strategy.

I created a website for my book Outsidethebones.com and when we launched the novel at Barnes and Noble in NYC, I did hire somebody on my own—outside of my publisher’s efforts—to do a massive blast about the event by email and through social media.

Does your spiritual or political life influence your writing? If so, how?

My spiritual life very much does, and in a general way so does my political life.  Regarding the former, I’ve always been interested in spiritual practices that allow for contact with the other world in the here and now.  So, for example, my deep appreciation for the way the gods/spirits are conceived of in Afro-Caribbean religious practices such as Santería and Palo Monte led me to create two protagonists in OUTSIDE THE BONES that are very much connected to the spiritual beliefs of those practices.  In my current book, my interest in Christian mystics, such as St. Theresa of Avila, is playing an important role.

What would you like to see in your literary community?

I’d like to see more active publishing of Latino/a writers, and more of an interest in the variety of Latino/a experience on the part of publishers.

-If you haven’t read Outside the Bones, I encourage you to carve some time out and have one of your best reading experiences yet!- Theresa

 

Di Iorio book cover

http://www.amazon.com/Outside-Bones-Lyn-Di-Iorio/dp/1558857036/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1366988178&sr=1-1&keywords=outside+the+bones

 

11 thoughts on “Interview with Author Lyn Di Iorio

  1. Great article. I’d love to see more Latino/a writers as well. There are so many readers looking for that perspective and experience and too few writers writing about that culture.

    1. Thanks for weighing in, John! Of course, there are many different perspectives and categories within the heading “Latino/a literature,” but I think there are still many stories waiting to be showcased.

  2. Excellent interview. I’ve said an interview or an article can be a showcase for a writer’s style. If that’s the case here, then I’m sure I’ll enjoy your story. I don’t have a preference about whether a book is anglo or Latino, just so it’s a good story.

    1. Hi Marja, I agree–a good story is a good story, period! But I am sometimes very interested in certain writers because they tell stories of communities that have experienced near erasure. For example, it is interesting to learn more about Native American stories in the U.S., since so many tribes were eradicated or relocated and some of their traditional structures were lost. The way in which someone like Sherman Alexie writes about that history of loss, with wildness, magic, and humor, is very instructive to me.

  3. Excellent interview Theresa! I was glad you prompted her to discuss a range of issues; not just what we think of as “literary” ones. Great work.

    1. Hi Chris,
      Thanks for stopping by. There are so many different factors that tie in together creating writers. I’m fascinated by what authors have to share. Knowing more about them also positively influences my reading experiences!

  4. Great interview and this novel is right my alley. It will be a book on my–must read and get book–list. Theresa I love what you’re doing on your blog…introducing the new talent out there, especially the Latino talent. Great job!!!! And to, Lyn Di Iorio, it sound like you wrote a gem. Congratulations and the best of luck!!

    1. Manny, I love when you come for a visit! Thank you for your kind words. I do think you will love Lyn’s book. It’s vivid and very real life! Lots of fun too.

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