Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I come from a very humble background. I was born and raised in Northern Mexico, in the state of Durango. I grew up in a very rural village, Santa Rosa, with limited access to resources and opportunities. At the age of 11, my family moved to the U.S. in the hopes of seeking a better quality of life. We moved to the suburbs of Chicago, where a lot of relatives resided. I went to university in Chicago and worked + lived there for a few years after graduation. During my job as a marketing manager at a food company, I decided the office life wasn’t for me and that I wanted to focus and pursue writing seriously. I started a blog and started writing my book simultaneously. I now live in South Korea. I teach little kids English but the main factors behind this move were to focus on my writing and travel afterward!
After graduating university I realized that I had a very strong sense of writing but of course, like many writers, I was terrified! I was riddled with self-doubt and sat on the idea of starting a blog for over a year, then one day the fear of regret became heavier than the fear of being ridiculed for wanting to be a writer, so I started my blog (www.thisiisrocio.com). To appease my doubtful mind, I told everyone it was simply a fun hobby (and I fooled myself into half-believing this), yet at the same time I was writing my dual-language book, “The Legacy of a Mexican Patriarch.”
Since college, I knew I wanted to teach English in Asia to travel afterward, and it so happened that my passion for writing and travel merged here in South Korea, where I was able to dedicate the time and effort to birth these word babies.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
“The Legacy of a Mexican Patriarch” is a dual-language biographical narrative, written in short essay format, about the life and influence of my beloved grandfather – Alejandro Cadena. He inspired me to dream big and go after my dreams, without any qualms or fears. He was as imperfect as the rest of us, but growing up, I perceived him as a demi-god because he was just so cool, wise and worldly (to me). He lived a very colorful and interesting life, so I decided to document his life as a way for family and relatives to get a more personal look at who he was and what he meant to me. The book is a tribute to his life and my Mexican heritage. Themes explored include family bonds, Latino culture, Hispanic heritage, US Latino experience, and immigration.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I’m a firm believer of scheduling writing into my calendar. I know this method can seem too rigid to most, but I’m an excellent procrastinator, and unless I gently force myself to sit down and write, I will find infinite ways to avoid it. Obviously, at times I truly don’t feel like writing when I said I would, and so I reschedule. The scheduling is a commitment to myself that I will do what I intend, whether it gets done today or three days from now isn’t too big of a deal. Like plenty of writers, I dislike writing passionately but I loved having written.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
I have very varied preferences in authors and genres. I love Kurt Vonnegut, Jack Kerouac, Aldous Huxley, George Orwell, Eduardo Galeano, Isabel Allende, Junot Diaz and many more. I enjoy dystopian novels very much so because I suspect we are living in one!
I truly draw inspiration from everything and anything. I love podcasts, TED talks, movies, documentaries, cool artsy videos from vimeo, concerts, music and so much more. I am a very interested and curious person, so I am constantly inspired. But I must add that I make it a point to find inspiration, it doesn’t always come to me.
What are you working on now?
I continue to write for my personal blog and have started contributing to a host of publications. I’ve also taken on an editor position at a local magazine I’ve been writing for. I’ve also got a new project called The Alignment Society which organizes and hosts art events in my city. The events take place every quarter, and the first one served to launch my book. I thought it would be a one-time thing but it was such a success that I’ve decided to put together a few more of them because the deep sense of community is so special.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
There really isn’t an all-encompassing answer. I had to do a lot of research and invest plenty of time and energy.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Only embark on the writing a book train [and self-publish it] if you are committed to put in the time. It will be hard a lot of the times but holding something you’ve made is a nearly indescribably feeling.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
In terms of creating, to stay in motion *every single day*. That means working a little bit on any project you’re passionate about daily, whether it’s 20 minutes to 4 hours, that doesn’t matter. Obviously, if there is a deadline, you best be working the appropriate amount to finish it on time, but do the work every day. And also, when the going gets tough [and it will] remember your why. Why are you working on this? The response should be soundproof and propel you onwards!
What are you reading now?
Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari
What’s next for you as a writer?
To continue publishing in a range of publications and consortiums. And to start getting paid for it soon enough!