Welcome back for another author feature! This time around, I’m thrilled to welcome Allison K. Garcia. A licensed professional counselor with a passion for writing, Allison is here to discuss her first novel, Vivir el Dream. 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. Find out more below!
TNK: Congratulations on the publication of your first novel! Vivir el Dream deals with some timely issues, including the experiences of undocumented immigrants. What inspired you to write this particular story?
AKG: I’ve had a lot of people that inspired me, particularly my hermanos at my church and their faith in times of struggle. I also went to several rallies and marches for the Dream Act and immigrant rights. I was really inspired by their courage to stand up to injustice. Also, I began the book not long after a friend from church was deported, seeing the injustice in this and wanting others to understand some of the things that push people to cross the border, all that people go through to come here, and what happens once they’re here.
TNK: How would you describe the tone of Vivir el Dream? Is it hopeful? Inspirational? Dark? Romantic?
AKG: Hmmm…I would say it is inspirational, realistic, culturally authentic, with bits of humor and romance thrown in.
TNK: Tell us about one of the characters from Vivir.
AKG: Linda Palacios is an undocumented college student who can’t seem to get ahead in life because of her lack of “papers.” She’s really smart, a good daughter, a hard worker, and sings in the church praise band. She gets frustrated at times by her mother’s choice to bring her across the border when she was 3 years old. Through a college essay, she learns about The Dream Act and has hope that she can have a future in the U.S.
TNK: While this is your first published novel, you have written a lot more. Can you tell us about some of these other projects? When can we expect to see them in print?
AKG: First, I plan to translate Vivir el Dream into Spanish. Then I have another Latino Christian fiction book called Finding Amor that is mostly complete but needs some extensive editing. I also wrote 6 out 8 books of a children’s fantasy series called Prince Miguel and His Journey Home. I’m hoping to complete the last 2 books during NaNoWriMo in November.
TNK: Besides being an author, you are also a Licensed Professional Counselor. Do your experiences in this field influence your writing at all, or do you keep these two spheres completely separate?
AKG: I think being a counselor has given me a real look into people like Linda’s mother, Juanita, who have experienced traumas. I think it has also helped me be more in-tune to how people feel and think, the beliefs they hold, their desperation, their faith, and their hopes and dreams.
TNK: And finally, the question I like to ask all visiting authors: What advice would you give aspiring writers—perhaps something you wished you’d known when starting out?
AKG: Find a group of other writers that live near you. I wrote alone for years and years and never did anything with it until I met a group of writerly friends, and now here I am, 5 years later, publishing a book!
Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your wisdom, Allison! Read on below to learn more about Vivir el Dream
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?
Follow Allison’s writing here: