10 Questions: Lara Rios

I completely forgot yesterday was Wednesday and the day to post the Q&A Lara Rios was kind enough to participate in. My only excuse is hump day amnesia.

Lara's two most recent books, Becoming Latina in 10 Easy Steps and Becoming Americana have found a fan base with readers of chick lit and romance with a happy ending to boot. Her next novel, The Fat Contest, will be released by Warner Books under a pen name she's asked her readers to help her pick out.

1. Any writing rituals you have to get it going?
I don't think of them as rituals, but I like to have music on and a cup of tea. Usually I check email first (though I shouldn't!) then I get to work. My writing time is so limited that I don't have time to mess around.

2. What’s your cure for writer’s block?
I start writing any nonsense that comes to mind. LOL. And do mean nonsense. I believe writer's block is just not knowing where your story should go next. So if you start writing, eventually you'll lead yourself down the right road. And if it happens at the beginning of the story, I just skip the beginning and start writing a scene that seems interesting to me.

3. What do you tell people who ask what you do at cocktail parties and such?
Cocktail parties? What are those? The only parties I've too in a long time, have hundreds of screaming kids and frazzled parents that don't have time to breath, much less ask what I do for a living. But I rarely tell people I'm a writer. Only because I get strange stares and faces that seem to shut down, as if they can't comprehend my career choice. Occasionally I've gotten the "oh, that's interesting" response. So I stick to, "I'm a stay at home mom."

4. What’s the worst part about being a full-time writer?
I can't think of a thing. But I'm not really a full time writer. I write around my children's schedule. Someday I hope to be able to devote a full work day to writing. Oh wait, I thought of something -- The PAY.

5. If you could have written any book, which would it be?
Becoming Latina was it. It's the book that allowed me to put all my frustrations about not being Latina enough into print. It also allowed me the opportunity to show how silly stereotypes can be, and to show in novel form that in order to find true happiness in life you have to be yourself. You can't change to please others. It never works.

6. What were you doing ten years ago?
I was teaching in the public schools. I was childless. I was one year away from being published for the first time. In lots of ways, I was much freer and happier. But I didn't realize it. Back then I was convinced I would be happy if only I could have children and become an author. Now here I am, and it's funny, because life is not much different. This has taught me to totally live in the moment. Life is never better than it is right now. Although, I have to admit, I wouldn't want to turn back the clock and go back to the life I had back then.

7. What do you hope to be doing ten years from now besides writing?

I hope to be attending a cocktail party with you Margo, and marveling at how many times we've each hit the bestseller list. LOL. I don't know -- traveling maybe. Or teaching again -- creative writing in college, not in elementary school. Aside from spending time with my children and writing, I have very simple wants these days.

8. What’s your biggest anxiety about your writing/writing life?
This is easy. Not being able to provide a good financial future for my children. I think on a weekly basis that I should get a "real" job where I can save money for them to go to college, etc. I don't have anxieties about writing itself.

9. If you could have anyone’s job/life but your own, whose would it be?

Oprah's -- the woman's got it made. Though if I had a chance to go back to college and choose a career, I'd choose to be a dietician and work in a wellness center.

10. What’s the biggest misconception about you now that you’re a published writer?
That I have tons of "free" time. Somehow people think that the books write themselves, and that I sit around watching TV or getting a suntan in my back yard. I know a couple of my friends have been annoyed when they've called and said they were going to drop off their kids while they did XYZ, and I said, "no, can't help you, I'm working". They think you can always work later, because you have so much time -- which of course you don't. This is a tough one for friends and family.

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