Why did you become a writer?
Honestly, there has always been a writer within me. In school, the teachers would ask me to write less because I always wrote a paragraph when a line or two would suffice. So it’s been bubbling up inside me. I just decided to let the proverbial “genie” out of the bottle. I started about four years ago writing screenplays.This is my first foray into writing a book. It’s been quite a journey.
What inspired you to write the book?
One rule of writing is “write what you know”. It’s a good rule but it’s not totally accurate. You have to use your imagination and make up characters and places and situations. My life is not that exciting. I grew up in Brooklyn on a block similar to the one that Taco grew up on. I took some stories and ideas of things that happened in my life and added a whole lot of imagination.
Are you TACO?
I am not Taco nor was that even my nickname. But now, it seems that it will eventually become my nickname as everyone keeps calling me Taco. As far as nicknames go, I guess it’s as good as any.
Do or did any of your characters exist?
Yes and no. Yes, there were people like the characters in the book. But the characters in the book are a mix of people so no there are no individual persons that you can say are Dona Maria or Don Paco or Tio Alberto.
Where did you come up with the name Taco?
I recall as a child eating food products made by a company called Ortega; such as Ortega Tacos. I know Ortega is a common Spanish name in Puerto Rico.
Will there be a sequel to Taco?
I have had people ask me to write a book about Taco after he left Wyckoff Street. I am considering that. Actually, Taco was a much bigger book but I had to cut it down in order to keep the cost of the book reasonable. I thought of possibly releasing the original book as: “The Big Taco”. But when I pitched the idea, everyone thought I was pitching a book about Taco as a teenager; hence, the Big Taco. I am considering doing one or the other. Who knows? Maybe I will end up doing both.
If you had advice for writing, what would that be?
Write! That’s my advice. Write and keep writing. The more you write, the more experience you will get and the better you will become. Take classes, join groups of fellow writers, read books on writing, read all kinds of books. If you are selecting a specific genre, read books on that genre. Hone your craft. Make up stories. Write what you know. Write what you don’t know. Write what you think you know. Write what you think you don’t know. Just write. If a title comes to you, write it down. If a name comes to you, write it down. Carry a notebook. Write ideas, thoughts, wishes, desires. Write! I would say that you probably use 3-5% of what you write, if that, for books or screenplays. But I liken writing to Edison’s light bulbs. He made tons of them but only a few worked. Write On!