New per­spec­tives Alexandra Diaz

Pasatiempo - - NEWS - 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.”

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