Irene Blea is the author of seven university text books, four poetry chapbooks, thirty academic articles, and currently, Suzanna (La Mujer Latina)
Author page on Amazon
What motivates you to write?
Social justice. I’m the child of a labor organizer and was active in the Chicano and Womens civil rights movements of the 1960s. I’ve written several university Sociology textbooks and articles for classroom use and library reference material, poetry and now write novels with social justice themes. My first novel, Suzanna, reflects how young girls were married off to older men in 1920s New Mexico and explores the alternatives for women of the time. Suzanna makes a controversial choice. That choice makes up the next two books in the trilogy.
What made you chose the genre you chose?
English is my second language. When I learned it in kindergarten, I found it, difficult, but fascinating. I also experienced a lot of racism and sexism. Thus, struggle for change, justice, is a theme in what are fictionalized family histories in my next two novels: West Mesa and the untitled second Suzanna novel.
Where do your characters come from?
From history, the people I know, and my family. I place them firmly in their historical settings.
What’s most rewarding about writing?
Publication; I’ve been very lucky to have New York and San Francisco publishers, but things have changed and I am considering self-publishing, because in the end I market my own books.
Who is an author who inspires you and why?
Isabel Allende, Miguel Garcia Marques, Carlos Fuentes; all central and south American origin authors whose stories are universal. I also like the Americans John Grisham and Larry McMurtry. I aspire to write about the universal experience with regard to social justice and feel lucky that my social science work has sometimes risen to that level. However, as a retired person, I write for myself: pure pleasure.
What do you look for in other people’s books?
A hook at the beginning of every chapter.
What are you writing now?
West Mesa based on a true incident. Dora lives in Albuquerque, NM. Twelve female bodies and an unborn fetus have been discovered on the West Mesa. Her daughter, Luna, has been missing for eighteen months. Dora waits.
What kind of book would you like to be known for?
Something that is a universal, international, human justice story.
If you were to write in another genre, what genre excites your writer’s blood?
Poetry and non-fiction.
If you achieved great fame and fortune, would you continue to write?
What encouraging advice can you offer new writers?