I wish I could say that I always knew I wanted to be a writer, that I carried a notebook around with me from the age of five, that I’ve kept a journal my entire life. The fact is I didn’t really start writing until I was almost forty. Now I can’t imagine my life without it.
I grew up in National City, California in a Filipino/Mexican family. In my early twenties, I moved to Seattle where I’ve lived ever since. It’s interesting to me that most of my fiction is set in a place not unlike National City. It’s as if during all those years I never knew I was going to be a writer, I was storing up images and characters and events for just such a purpose.
I studied zoology in college and in the years after that I collected graduate degrees in education and public administration. I was looking for something to be. I eventually ended up being a project manager for a local government agency. While I enjoy my work and am grateful to be employed, it’s writing that I look forward to each day.
I know now that the desire to write had been in me all along. It had only been suppressed by a sense that such a pursuit was not really available to me. I had always revered books and felt that their creation was something magical and beyond my ordinary life.
My friend, the writer Kathleen Alcalá, was the catalyst for my becoming a writer. I met Kathleen when she had just completed her M.A. in creative writing. I hadn’t known such a thing existed. When her first book, a collection of short stories called Mrs. Vargas and the Dead Naturalist, was published in 1992, I went to hear her read. I was struck by the fact that I knew this living, breathing writer who had written these wonderful stories.
Soon after, I enrolled in the first of what would be many classes and workshops over the years as I learned about writing and reading fiction. I became part of a writing community that inspired and supported me. I wrote and rewrote and then revised multiple times a novel as well as a collection of short stories. I collected drawers full of rejections, garnering only the occasional acceptance. But at long last, a door opened. One of my stories, which happened to be the first chapter of my novel, was published by Cha: An Asian Literary Journal. Within a few months I was contacted by a publisher who had read the story and wanted to read the rest of the novel. The result of that happy set of circumstances is the publication of my first book When the de la Cruz Family Danced.
Thanks to these folks
for supporting my work
- Artist Trust
- Seattle Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs
- Anderson Center for Interdisciplinary Arts
- Atlantic Center for the Arts
- Jack Straw Artist Support Program
- Jack Straw Writers Program
- Virginia Center for the Creative Arts
- Whiteley Center
- Bread Loaf/Rona Jaffe Foundation
- Port Townsend Writers’ Conference
- Pacific Northwest Writers Conference
- Hawaii Pacific Review
- The Lascaux Review
- America’s Review
- Cha: An Asian Literary Journal
- Connecticut Review
- Conversations Across Borders
- New Millennium Writings
- Raven Chronicles
- Seattle Magazine
Proud to support and be a member of Seattle 7 Writers.