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5 Burning Questions with Barbara Perez Marquez

Barbara Perez Marquez is one of our featured writers at our March 10th reading. Check out our interview with her below.

What is your first memory of writing for fun?

The story on my bio is probably it, before then I wasn’t much of a reader or a writer, but that student collection was a whim entry and it led to a printed anthology. Holding it and realizing that there was this way to spread the reach of our feelings was a life changer.

How many drafts = done?

I usually sit somewhere between 3 to 5. It’s less so about the amount of drafts meaning any progress and more so about “how many times did I reread and refine in a way that hindered the actual progress of it.” It’s a slippery slope to make sure you are actually writing and not just carving at the same section over and over again.

What is your favorite book or favorite book-of-the-moment?

All time favorite would be “Tell Me What You See” by Zoran Drvenkar, I’ll recommend that book for as long as anyone lets me. Currently, I am working through “How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse” by K. Eason.

What is it about your discipline that gets you the most excited?

One of the more astonishing things about writing is that often we create things very close to our heart, not just to share ourselves, but also to connect with readers. The ability of a piece of writing to reach beyond words and relate to others is a wonderful experience.

What’s your favorite word or words? What about it/them appeals to you?

“Vaina” – Probably the most multipurpose word in the Dominican vocabulary, translates roughly to “thing”, used in a variety of ways to signal to something that you either cannot recall exactly or don’t know for certain. The word is also the word for the fruit born by the Inga tree, those rattling bits that shake in the Summer breeze on trees.

Bonus question: who inspires you the most, living or dead, real or fictional?

Growing up I was surrounded by Latin-American literature, so I grew up looking up to Salomé Ureña, both as a person and as a poet. A lot of my writing was also influenced by the works of Gabriel García Márquez. I urge those looking to expand their bookshelves to look into their work and other Latin-American creators!

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Barbara Perez Marquez was born and raised in the Dominican Republic and holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Manhattanville College. She writes short stories and fiction, usually using coming of age and LGBTQ themes in her work. During her career, she has also been an editor for several publications and projects. Her work was first featured in a student collection in the 7th grade, the same year she decided she wanted to be a writer. Since then, she’s been featured in Manhattanville College’s Graffiti and Tinta Extinta. Her latest work, The Cardboard Kingdom, is a graphic novel about a neighborhood of kids having a summer adventure and is out now from Knopf Books for Young Readers and Random House Children’s Books. Book two, The Cardboard Kingdom: Roar of the Beast, is due out in 2021. Barbara lives in Baltimore, MD with her fiance and their dog, Eliot.

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