Thanks to Dr. Sheena Mason for inviting me to read at the college’s Red Dragon Reading Series on November 10, 2022, to commemorate the Black List. I read excerpts from two stories in Migrations: “Clemente Burning,” an early version of the beginning of my novella, Clemente Between the Worlds; and “Sucio.” I had a wonderful time and enjoyed the exchange with the audience and also the conversation as a guest with creative writing students in Prof. Tully’s class.
In this conversation with Giancarlo Ghedini, on the Story King Podcast, we discuss various topics. These range from my book, Migrations, to embracing one’s ethnicity. Everything centers on my being a diasporican, a Puerto Rican living in that inbetweeness created by the diaspora experience. This was an enjoyable and lively conversation. Tune in and take it all in!
My interview with Minni Sawhney for the New Books Network covered many aspects of Migrations, my short story collection. Dr. Sawhney posed excellent questions that allowed me to discuss this collection at a deeper intellectual and critical level than other interviews. This interview also gave the book more critical context. Please take a listen and let me know your thoughts.
From the New Book Network website: Migrations (LA Review of Books, 2021) is a collection of short stories by the Puerto Rican born writer and now retired university professor J. L. Torres. Each story condenses a bit of the experience of a cross section of Puerto Rico: the rich who treat it like a playground, the stereotypical macho men, the shanty town dwellers. The ramifications of the stories are deep and the varied tales range from climate change and the destruction of natural ecosystems by tourism, to the Puerto Ricans of the diaspora who struggle in dysfunctional families and who long to be part of the mainstream but have weathered the subtle racism of American society that has taken a toll on their inner lives. Torres’s stories bring alive Puerto Rico to us, its natural beauty but also try to show the colonial economy that the country is.
Minni Sawhney is a professor of Hispanic Studies at the University of Delhi.
Such an engaging conversation with host Julian Esteban Torres Lopez. This is one of the best conversations I’ve had with a podcast host that discusses Puerto Rico’s present condition. Our conversation centered on the idea of living in the “Nuyorican Hallway” and belonging and living in between worlds. But it also goes beyond those topics to embrace significantly related issues. Listen in. I’m sure you’ll find it fascinating and informative.
To learn more about The Nasiona, their staff, and their mission, check out this link:
Luica Matuonto asked me to submit an article for her blog on writing related to my new book, Migrations. So, I decided to write on researching the Puerto Rican diaspora for the collection. I consider where that quest for information led me. You can read it here: https://www.luciamatuonto.com/post/growing-up-latino.
Lucia Matuonto was nice enough to invite me on her videocast, Uncut, after interviewing me on her other podcast, The Relatable Voice. Listen to our conversation, which is more informal and personal, here:
One week after the publication date of Migrations andmy mind has been on book promotion and marketing. The quote above is what Capote supposedly told John Knowles months before the release of his novel, A Separate Peace. Capote meant that you have to be more proactive in marketing your book. Easier said then done, of course.
I don’t know about other writers, but for me it’s uncomfortable to go out there and “peddle” my book, and by extension, myself. But I also understand it is a necessary evil because as it has been often said, “no one will buy your book if no one knows it exists.” Knowles took Capote’s advice and actively promoted the novel, which went on to sell 9 million copies. Book marketing has changed since 1959, when A Separate Peace debuted. Today we have social media, fewer publishers and bookstores, and readership is declining. All of this makes marketing more challenging, but Capote’s advice still holds true, perhaps more so, in a time when algorithms determine your book’s category and what constitutes a “best-seller” is cloudy.
Thanks to Julian Torres-Vera (Odim Lu) for editing and producing this video featuring my story in three voices, “Rip & Reck into That Good Light,” which is part of my award-winning short story collection, Migrations. LARB Libros will release Migrations in Spring, 2021. Thanks to Melinda de Jesus and Julian for their wonderful performances.
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