Monday, October 7, 2013

A Short Q&A With Ingrid Diaz


1.Why did you start writing?
I started writing when I was ten. I had just moved to Florida from Puerto Rico and was having a really hard time at school with kids making fun of me because my English wasn’t very good. I started reading books to help improve my English, and found that I really loved reading. Reading led to writing, and I’ve been writing ever since.

2. If you had to do it all over again would you still write?
Absolutely. I wouldn’t change anything about my life.

3. Once you’ve written a story do you ever sit down and read it for enjoyment?
Not for enjoyment, no. I always cringe internally whenever I read over something I’ve written, and my inner editor goes into, “Change ALL the things,” mode.

4. How did you start writing Xena fan fiction?
I’ve never really thought of myself as a Xena fan fiction writer because I only really wrote the one uber (and I never finished it). But it all started because my friend and I were really into reading Xena fan fiction back in the day, and we really loved the stories at The Bard’s Corner. One night, my friend dared me to write a story and submit it. The Bard’s Corner was invitation-only, so it seemed like a very bold thing to do.

All the same, a dare is a dare, so I wrote a couple of chapters of a story I titled “8x10” and sent it off to MaryD. The next morning, I was shocked to discover that not only had she accepted the submission, she had written a special recommendation to it at The Bard’s Corner. I woke up to about 50 emails in my inbox from people praising the story. I was completely overwhelmed. I was eighteen at the time, and had fully expected to be, at best, yelled at, and at worst, laughed at.

5. Is your muse a constant companion, or does it abandon you for long periods of time?
My muse’s name is Bertha. She’s a migrating chicken from Reykjavik. She says she’s always been faithful, but I strongly suspect she’s been cheating on me with other writers.

6. How do you feel about sequels?
I love sequels. I get really excited when my favorite books continue on and I get to see what my favorite characters have been up to. I’ve never written one, so I don’t know how I feel about writing them. I hope to find out soon.

7. Is writing a quiet thing for you, where there can't be any noise or conversation going on?
Hmm. I find it hard to write in public places, though I’ve done it in the past. When I was in high school and college, my favorite place to write was in class. I got through a lot of really boring lectures that way. Don’t tell my parents. These days, I prefer the comfort of my home office. I live in a city, so there are always noises coming in from outside. The sound of neighbors yelling at each other is very soothing.

8. Do you prefer to write/read romance, angst, horror etc, etc?
I read everything. Fantasy, horror, paranormal, non-fiction, you name it. So far, I’ve only written romance. I’d love to expand into other genres in the future.

9. What usually sparks a story idea for you?
Anything. Everything. I imagine this is true for most writers or creative types.

10. Where do your ideas come from?
I’m pretty sure my cat whispers them in my ear while I sleep.

11. What advice can you give to future writers?
You can’t please everyone, but you can’t displease everyone, either. Someone out there will love your work. Someone out there is waiting for your story. Make sure you write it. Don’t let anyone tell you that you’re not good enough. Especially yourself.

12. What has the show Xena meant to you?
I don’t think there’s ever been a television show that has impacted my life as completely as Xena. I discovered the show at seventeen, when I was just coming out to myself. The online community around this show shaped the course of my life in so many ways that it’s hard to imagine where I’d be right now if Xena hadn’t existed.

13. How do you feel about the way it ended?
I cried for a week straight. I had a lot of feelings… But I think I’m okay now.

14. How real are your characters to you?
Not real enough that they make me coffee in the morning, but there’s always hope.

15. Do your characters speak to you?
Nooooo… my characters are all in my head. They are made up. They can’t speak to me. (My therapist told me to say that).

16. Are you in control of your story, or do the characters run the show?
My characters actually keep me locked up in a dungeon while they write the stories themselves. They only let me out to watch my favorite TV shows and eat waffles. So I can’t really complain too much.

17. Have you created a character that you would like to meet?
I feel like that would be an awkward encounter. I’m trying to picture it, but no. I’m too shy. Maybe if I met them online.

18. How would you feel about another writer giving one of your characters a cameo in their story?
I’d be honored.

19. Has online writing changed your life in any way?
I think about 90% of my closest friends these days I met through my writing. My partner of ten years I met through my writing, and because of her, I dropped everything and moved to France. So, oui.

20. Have you ever been stalked on the internet by an overzealous fan?
Yes, and then I married her. My fans are awesome. There’s a few that actually live in the bushes outside my apartment. I can’t see their eyes behind the binoculars and night-vision goggles, but they strike me as perfectly lovely people.

21. Which one of your online stories is your favorite?
The Blind Side of Love has a special place in my heart, mostly because of the people I have met through it, and the amount of time I have spent trying to get this story right. I’m currently working on the final version, so I can finally, finally publish it. But all of its drafts are special to me in their own way.

The first two drafts are available online, at my website:

22. Do you have to do a lot of rewrites?
I didn’t do any rewrites for Alix & Valerie, just a few revisions here and there before it was published. TBSOL is another story. I’ve re-written the entire book three times. Because I’m crazy.

23. Is there ever a point in your writing where you get stuck each and every time? How do you get out of it?
I get stuck a lot. I get out of it by deleting the parts that have me stuck and trying something different. Usually that helps.

24. Which part of the writing process do you enjoy the most and why?
I love writing dialogue. I find it to be a lot of fun.

25. When you're working on a story are you obsessed with it until it's done?
Yes. Writing occupies most of my thoughts.

26. Who are your favorite top five writers? Online or published.
Caitlín R. Kiernan, Sarah Waters, Seth Godin, Libba Bray, and Jacqueline Carey.

27. The song says "Who rules the world? Girls." If that were true would the world be a better place?
Depends on the girls. I think the world would be a better place if there was less greed and more compassion.

28. Do you write a story straight through, or do you write in pieces, then put it all together.
Straight through. I can’t seem to write things out of order because I change too many things as I go along. They’d never match up.

29. Do you read books for pleasure while you are writing?
I do! I am always reading.

30. Do you have a favorite Greek God?
I feel like I should. I love Greek mythology, but I don’t think I have a favorite god.

31. Do you have a pet peeve?
Sponges left in the sink.

32. What do you see yourself doing in the future?
Hopefully not writing a tenth version of TBSOL.

33. What is your favorite word?
Foofoo. It’s fun to say.

34. What is your least favorite word?

35. What turns you on?
Awesome female characters. Diversity. Weirdness. Great dialogue. Goats.

36. What turns you off?
Cookie-cutter stuff. I like when things fall outside of the box.

37. What sound or noise do you love?
The sound of coffee trickling out of the machine and into my cup. Also, I installed this addon in World of Warcraft that plays this “cha-ching” sound whenever one of my auctions sell. That’s a great sound. Nothing makes you feel quite as accomplished as making fake money in a virtual universe.

38. What sound or noise do you hate?
The doorbell. Ours makes this very loud, shrill sound that always feels like doom.

39. What is your favorite curse word?
Abracadabra! I like to whisper it at people who piss me off and pretend I just gave them a very nasty rash in a very awkward place. It’s very satisfying.

40. What profession other than yours would you like to attempt?
I’d love to go into film or TV production.

41. What profession would you absolutely not like to participate in?
Anything that involves jumping from great heights. I’d be terrible at that.

42. If Heaven exists what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?
“Here’s your coffee.”

Here is Ingrid Diaz's favorite story:
The Blind Side of Love by Ingrid Diaz - 450 pages
A famous (and closeted) actress named Julianne Franqui, who buys a painting while visiting New York City. She emails the artist, Kristina Milano, to tell her how much she loves the painting, and the two strike up an online friendship. Of course, Julianne fails to mention who she really is, at first … 

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