New perspectives Alexandra Diaz
Tara’s in love with her boyfriend, Brent. But according to her best f r iend, Whitney Blaire, he may be cheating on her with Chris Sanchez, one of t he guy cheerleaders. Meanwhile, new girl Riley’s jaded attitude and long black hair have Tara wondering if she could possibly be attracted to a girl, and all along, Whitney Blaire’s been secretly lusting after Brent. Such is the tangled web Alexandra Diaz weaves in her 2010 debut novel, Of
All the Stupid Things, which explores the bonds of teenage friendships as they’re tested by same-sex attraction and coming out. “I would say that I am attached to marginalized characters … I never felt like I fit into a normal box or frame. I certainly like writing about characters who may not necessary be underrepresented, but who don’t fit into a specific box or shape,” Diaz told Pasatiempo.
Diaz, who has worked as a nanny, teacher, writer for hire, editor, tour guide, and dairy goat judge, fits into a few different boxes herself. Born in Puerto Rico, she moved to Santa Fe at age twelve. Though she left for college in Chicago and graduate school in England (she has an MA in Writing for Young People), she has continually found herself drawn back to Santa Fe, where she teaches writing in various capacities and circus arts at Wise Fool New Mexico. “I’ve been really good at being able to have 20 million jobs and pay the bills, like most people in Santa Fe,” she said.
One of those jobs included ghostwriting two books in a young adult roller-derby series published in 2013. Diaz’s agent gave the book packager Hothouse a sample chapter, and Diaz was contracted to write books one and three in the series. New to the roller- derby world, she delved into the local scene for research. “It was really fun. I got to know the rollerderby group in Santa Fe and they’re all part of the Duke City Derby. They were really encouraging. … I must have gone to at least five different bouts and was able to get into the feel of what it’s like.”
Diaz has two books set for release this year. She called Good Girls Don’t
Lie, due out from Leap Books later this spring, “a Mexican-American
Juno.” In October, Simon & Schuster’s Paula Wiseman Books publishes another novel in English and Spanish: The Only Road, which tells the story of a Guatemalan boy who flees his country to illegally immigrate to the U.S.
Diaz said she chooses her characters in order to experience the world from another perspective.“It allows me to do something I know I would never do in my own life.” But she keeps her personal tastes in mind, too: “I like action, I like pacing, I like dialogue. I write the kind of book that I want to read. I don’t want to bore myself.” — Molly Boyle
her Diaz characterssaid she in choosesorder to experience the world from another perspective. “It allows me to do something I know I would never do in my own life.”