Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Women Writers of Color: Dahlma Llanos-Figueroa

Full name: Dahlma Llanos-Figueroa

Birth date: September 8, 1949

Location: New York City


Genre: Fiction

WiP or most recently published work: Daughters of the Stone

Writing credits:
1993 “Passing On” Shooting Star Review
1997 “Mapping” The Writer’s Voice: Magazine of the Emerging Writers
2003 “Papichulo” Lost and Found: Anthology of Teachers’ Writing
2005 “Mapping” Acts of Emancipation: Anthology of Teachers’
“Cuban Portraits” Rosebud
“The Healing” Chicken Soup for the Latino Soul
“The Clinic” Chicken Soup for the Latino Soul
2006 “Hair Inspection” Growing Up Girl: An Anthology of Voices from
Marginalized Spaces
2007 “Cuban Portraits” Narrative Magazine (on-line version)
2007 “Cuban Portraits” Narrative Magazine (soft cover version)
2008 “A Writer’s Journey” and
“Hair Inspection” Wordsetc (South African literary journal)
2009 Daughters of the Stone. St. Martin’s Press, NYC (novel)
2010 “Maggie” Women’s Work (upcoming)

How frequently do you update your site?
I check on reader responses every day and update my events calendar once a month.

Is your site designed for reader interaction?
Yes, there’s a section for reader input. I’m looking forward to reading family tales or stories that have been passed down. But no one has left me stories yet.

Post of note, something in particular you want readers to check out:
Check out the “Share Your Story” page on my web site and contribute your story. Also, if a reader likes my book, he/she should review it on Amazon or Barnes & or one of the social networks. That’s one way of letting publishers know that there is an audience out there for our work.

Top 5 reads you’re looking forward to reading in 2010?
(Sorry, can’t limit myself to just five)
Half of a Yellow Sun and Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Shanghai Girls and Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See
The Book of Night Women by Marlon James
The Known World by Edward P. Jones
The Angel’s Game by Carlos Zafon

100 words or less how would you describe your work?
I write first and foremost, because the stories I was given to read in school didn’t reflect my reality at home. They did not tell of the lines in my grandmother’s face or my father’s broken hands or the smell on my grandfather’s skin when he came home from the fields. Nowhere did I see the many hues of my cousins’ skins or hear the music of the Caribbean or the sound of my mother’s voice when she called me mamita or nena. I write because I want other little girls like me to be able to find themselves in the stories they read or watch on television.

100 words on less please share your thoughts on the writing life:
From the time I was in high school, I knew I wanted to be a writer. But writing wasn’t a reliable way to earn a living. While I never gave up on my dream, I realized that I needed my day-to-day experiences to lend truth and life to my fiction. I was the best librarian and teacher I could be during the week and took evening and weekend workshop, honing my skills for the day when writing would be my life. When I retired from teaching, I was ready.

Women of color writers:
I have met so many fine writers of color who have wonderful work, which isn’t being promoted by the publishing industry. The assumption seems to be that our folks don’t read. How long will it take them to realize that if you give folks what they can relate to, they will spend the money? All you have to do is look at the success of Push. Not only was the book a success, the movie is a critical and financial smash hit.

Writing and activism:
For me, fiction is a powerful form of activism. In a novel, it’s not about statistics or dry historical recitation. Fiction puts a human face on events. Its purpose is to touch the reader on an emotional as well as an intellectual level. Statistics don’t move me. I need to see the effect of those statistics on a human being.

Dahlma, thank you for allowing us to promote and support your work.


Zetta said...

I didn't know about this writer so thank you for bringing her work to my attention!

BrownGirl said...

Daughters of the Stone has been on my wishlist for months. Can't wait to read it.

wdjenkins1 said...

The Literary Fiction By People of Color group on Goodreads discussed Daughters of the Stone as our book choice for February. Looking forward to more of the author's work.

UrbanWildflowerDolls said...

I read this book AND LOVED IT. I can't wait to see what the author does next. I posted my review here:

I also include video of the author.

Tea said...

I am so excited. I had Daughters of Stone checked out of the library to read with a book group. Unfortunately, my due date came before I had time to read my book. I will read it no matter what. I am glad to meet the author.

Doret said...

I loved Daugthers of the Stone. Its was one of my favorite novels last year.

Its one of the first books I thought of when I saw there were no female authors named in NYT top ten fiction of the year.

Olugbemisola (Mrs. Pilkington) said...

i've heard wonderful things about daughters -- obviously, i just need to read it already! thanks for this profile.

nathaliemvondo said...

Thanks for a wonderful profile.

"How long will it take them to realize that if you give folks what they can relate to, they will spend the money?" => I have been wondering the same thing...

Lyn Miller-Lachmann said...

Just put Daughters of the Stone on my TBR list. Great interview and an inspiring story of persistence. I'm glad that you didn't give up on your dream and were able to pursue writing as a second career after retirement.