Recently, Xanath has been working on a new manuscript. Thanks to Dan Vera, author of the upcoming poetry collection Speaking Wiri Wiri (Red Hen Press, 2013) for the invitation to interview. Visit Dan's blog here. The interview is below.
What is the working title of your manuscript?
Lo que trae
la marea / What the Tide Brings
What genre does it fall under?
It’s fiction in a collection of short stories.
Where did the idea come from for the book?
Always, I have been concerned about the disproportion of male and female literary voices throughout history. As a female author, it is important for me to hear other female voices in literature either as authors or characters; that’s my principle inspiration.
The title story I wrote while I was living in Vermont, in the middle of the winter. In that particular short story, I was trying to celebrate the tropics, the sea, history and language. However, in other short stories I was inspired by politics, social issues or female perspectives of events. At the same time, a number of authors have impacted me sufficiently to be remembered and in one fashion or another they inspired me.
La niña blanca y los pájaros sin pies by Rosario Aguilar, of Nicaragua, is a collection of short stories that I simply adore. It shares the stories of women moving and living between worlds.
Canícula by Norma Cantú, of the U.S., I simply loved it. The strength of memory, images and childhood impacted me deeply when I first read Canícula.
El fantasma y el poeta by Carmen Boullosa, of Mexico, is a collection of short stories that resonates with me because of the wording in Spanish and use of time.
La rebelión de los niños by Cristina Peri Rossi, of Uruguay, was literally carved in my mind the first time I read it. She describes the political atmosphere in Latin America through her short stories. I have written a couple of stories inspired by her work.
Las cosas ridículas y otras cosas by Víctor Hugo Vásquez Rentería, of Mexico, who was kind enough to dedicate his book to me.
And then, among others the techniques used by Cortázar, Rulfo, Borges, Fuentes, Castellanos to mention a few.
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
I think that the following blurb for Lo que trae la marea / What the Tide Brings captures the essence of my collection:
“A synthesis of Caraza’s short stories would need to address the complex experience that separates humanity from love and forces it, by various means, towards the boundaries of death. In spite of that experience and uprooting forces, such as modern mass migrations, colonial slavery, state terrorism, targeted or random violence, and even the challenge of the blank page and the clash between the writer and her characters, in Xánath Caraza’s short stories, the dialectic between love and death manifests itself by means of a sublime beauty of language, form and structure, yielding an alchemy in which it’s not happy endings that prevail, but rather the universal nostalgia of the individual in its most profound poetic and narrative sense."
How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
The draft was written last summer (2012) during my writer’s residency in Spain. However, I have a combination of short stories that I wrote almost twenty years ago, but when I sat down to read them I realized that some of those old stories were “good ideas”. So, this past summer, I revised them, selected a few and rewrote them. Now, they are completely new stories. Other stories in the collection I wrote, from scratch, in Spain, and other stories were already in progress and I finished them last summer. Now, that was the Spanish version of the manuscript. The next step was to translate it. I had some stories already translated and published, but just finished the whole translation of Lo que trae la marea / What the Tide Brings November, 2012. For this collection I had to work with two more translators, Stephen Holland-Wempe and Sandra Kingery who translated a few short stories.
Who or what inspired you to write it?
Maria Miranda Maloney, editor of Mouthfeel Press, was instrumental in inspiring me to write. She wanted to hear a female voice as a short story writer. I have published a couple of books of poetry, Corazón Pintado: Ekphrastic Poems (TL Press, 2012) and Conjuro (Mammoth Publications, 2012). I’m a poet, too, and started publishing short stories years ago. Maria Miranda wanted to take a risk and publish a collection of short stories from a female author. So, me puse a trabajar or should I say, me puso a trabajar.
In addition to Maria’s inspiration for me, the political atmosphere in Latin America is reflected in my collection of short stories. I respond to political events, people’s stories and art. In several stories, I respond to poetry, other writers and books as well.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Mouthfeel Press from El Paso, TX is publishing Lo que trae la marea / What the Tide Brings for the summer of 2013.
What other works would you compare this book to within your genre?
Definitely I’m always inspired by the work of Cisneros, Viramontes, Castillo, Duras, Yourcenar and Beauvoir; as well as Iris Murdoch, Alberto Ruy Sanchez and Poe, who comes back to me time and time again.
What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
I would love to see some of my short stories on the stage more than in a movie format. Actors such as Xiomara Citrón, of New York, come to mind. In my short story, “Otra vez el tango” / “The Tango Another Time”, she’ll be perfect for an adaptation of the story, and hopefully directed by Walter Ventosilla, a Peruvian director, living in New York.
I would also love to see a performance of “Agua pasa por mi casa, a mi casa se viene a soñar” by Raquel Delgado, of Barcelona. For an adaptation of this short story, I think that she’d be perfect.
Rey Andujar, of Chicago, as actor for “Netzahualcoyotl” or “Flor entre la bruma” / “Flower in the Mist” would be wonderful.
What else about your manuscript might pique the reader’s interest?
It’s a bilingual collection of short stories that will challenge readers and invite them to hear female points of view from the past, from contemporary times and from the timeframes that happen only in the pages of a book. I’m sure readers will travel with me along the waves of Lo que trae la marea / What the Tide Brings.