Allison K. García is a Licensed Professional Counselor with a passion for writing. Latina at heart, Allison has absorbed the love and culture of her friends, family, and hermanos en Cristo and has used her experiences to cast a glimpse into the journey of undocumented Christians.
1.) In two and a half sentences, give us the book summary. I shall be strict and exacting. 😉
The fates of an undocumented college student and her mother intertwine with a suicidal businessman’s. As circumstances worsen, will their faith carry them through or will their fears drag them down?
*Editor’s note: My strict and exacting nature apparently isn’t terribly strict and exacting; I’ll let you keep that last clause and use it as your “half sentence.” 😉
2.) What was your inspiration for this book? And how does its subject matter affect you personally?
I have been inspired by a lot of people in my life, especially by my hermanos en Cristo. Seeing their unwavering faith in times of crises really pushed me to write the book. Also I have heard a lot of stories of injustice through friends, family, and therapy clients, which also inspired some ideas for the book. Personally, my husband is Mexican and my son is mixed, so I think about the struggles my husband has had to face and what my son will one day face. And a good friend of ours from church was deported before I wrote the book and that was something that affected me and our church community very deeply. On a positive note, I have been inspired by Latino culture, particularly Mexican culture, and love the cuisine and the kindness and the language. I tried to make that come through in the book as authentically as possible.
3.) One of my favorite characters was Hector, particularly his character arc as he changed from someone who flirted with the wrong side of the law to someone who walked in faith, trusting God to lead him. Did his character grow organically in your mind? Or was he a sudden idea?
So, I did this book during NaNoWriMo (*Editor’s Note for everyone that has heard me go on and on… and on… about NaNoWriMo: that’s National Novel Writing Month–generally taking place in November) and all I had was a three-page start, the name of the book, and a general concept of an undocumented college student trying to make her way in the world. This said, there was no Hector when I began the book…I set forth with zero romantic ideas and then suddenly there were two fellahs on the page! I also love Hector. He came out of nowhere and won the show! I think subconsciously I liked the idea of him actually having a good heart underneath his hard exterior.
4.) Do you have a favorite scene in this book? Can you give us a taste of what it looks like?
Aaah! This is the hardest question yet!!! I love all the scenes! Okay, there are a few I hate because of how they hurt my favorite characters.
Okay, okay, I know I need to choose…I’m trying to think of the ones that only make me cry…
One of my favorite scenes is when Linda steps forward at the Dream Act rally as an undocumented college student (i.e. Dreamer). When I have gone to those rallies and have seen the Dreamers stand at the front like that, I am awestruck by the bravery that takes. I tried to evoke that in Linda’s scene, along with her realization that she is loved by God whether or not she has “papers.” Then having the people there that she loves support her and not judge her for her undocumented status added an extra beautiful angle, I think.
5.) You mentioned that you had originally intended this to go through the traditional publication route, and then you switched to indie publishing. What was your reasoning? Did you enjoy the process more or less than when you were sending out 80+ query letters?
Well, it’s hard to top the excitement of sending out 80+ query letters…hahahhaa!
So…I really wanted to be traditionally published and gave it a good shot for about 5 years but because I came to the realization that my book falls between genres, really creating a new genre, Latino Christian Fiction, which at least as far as I could see on Amazon and Google, there weren’t many other books like this out there. So the Christian agents didn’t know how to market it and some were turned off by the undocumented angle, and secular publishing doesn’t deal with Christian fiction. Therefore, after much praying and consulting with friends, I decided to go indie.
Being an indie-published writer is hard! That’s kind of one of reasons I wanted to do traditional! But, alas, I really felt like God wanted me to write this book and get it out in the world, so in the end, you gotta do what you gotta do! I have been through very vigorous editing, which a friend and I like to call, “The Tamara Effect” (*Editor’s Note: This Effect of which you speak sounds fascinating and amazing, and more people should know about it!), which I believe helped my book be super awesome, and I got an awesome formatter and my husband to do the cover. I hope people like it!!!
6.) What are other projects? Can we expect to see more of your work hit the market in the next months?
The word “months” just scared me a little. Ahem. I’m fine now. I plan to translate Vivir el Dream
into Spanish by the end of the summer. I also plan to edit another Latino Christian fiction book I wrote called Finding Amor
. Then in November during NaNoWriMo I plan to finish the last 2 books of my 8-book children’s fantasy series, Prince Miguel and His Journey Home
7.) What author or authors have impacted you the most on your journey to becoming a writer?
I love so many authors, it is hard to choose. I love classics like the Brontes, Dickens, etc. In the contemporary realm I love Agatha Christie, Barbara Kingsolver, Isabel Allende, Paul Coelho, Lois Lowry, J.K. Rowling, and Suzanne Collins.
Thanks for stopping by, Allison! Check out Vivir El Dream for yourself. Purchase your very own copy and then do Allison a favor and leave a review on Amazon or another retail site. Those reviews are essential for sales!
Linda Palacios crossed the border at age three with her mother, Juanita, to escape their traumatic life in Mexico and to pursue the American dream. Years later, Linda nears college graduation. With little hope for the future as an undocumented immigrant, Linda wonders where her life is going.
Tim Draker, a long-unemployed businessman, has wondered the same thing. Overcome with despair, he decides to take his own life. Before he can carry out his plan, he changes course when he finds a job as a mechanic. Embarrassed about working at a garage in the barrio, he lies to his wife in hopes of finding something better.
After Juanita’s coworker gets deported, she takes in her friend’s son, Hector, whom her daughter Linda can’t stand, While Juanita deals with nightmares of her traumatic past, she loses her job and decides to go into business for herself.
Will the three of them allow God to guide them through the challenges to come, or will they let their own desires and goals get in the way of His path?