Author Marisel Vera: I want American readers to know how Puerto Rico came to ‘belong’ to the United States
You must want to write for yourself. Writing is a lonely occupation — it’s you and the page or you and the computer screen. It’s hard work. If you’re not a celebrity or famous, you aren’t guaranteed that your story or article or book will be published. That’s a hard fact to accept but it’s the reality. Everyone has their own reasons for writing and you must figure out what yours are. Write because you want to, because you have an idea or story that you want to try to get on paper, because you’re figuring out what you want to get down on paper, because it’s the only way you’ll have peace of mind — whatever — but do it for you, because you enjoy it. Trust that you and the universe will figure out what to do with the work later.
As part of my interview series on the five things you need to know to become a great author, I had the pleasure of interviewing Marisel Vera, author of The Taste of Sugar.
Marisel Vera is a Chicago writer based in Pittsburgh, PA. Through her work, Vera explores the particular burdens that Puerto Ricans, on the island and in the diaspora, carry as colonial subjects of the most powerful country in the world. Her latest novel, The Taste of Sugar (Liveright Publishing, June 2020), is a tale of love and endurance on the eve of the Spanish-American War, told through two Puerto Rican families.
Thank you for joining us! Can you share the most interesting story that occurred to you in the course of your career?
Once I stumbled on a few lines in a book about an ‘ethnological exhibition of a Porto Rican Village,’ complete with barefoot ‘natives,’ palm trees, and thatched huts. Ethnological exhibitions were fancy words for human zoos. Not only was I shocked to learn about Puerto…