She began immediately with a reading from one of her books – a poem called “El Chicle.” She continued by reading an excerpt from “Give It to Me,” which depicted a woman in her 50s living in America, and whose brother was attempting to smuggle out of Mexico.
The story involved the philosophical and detrimental aspects of people currently in the same position. For instance, it spoke of having to do business with a smuggler who insisted that he should be paid more than previously arranged.
This is the type of writing that Castillo can attribute her fame to; the story speaks of the struggles faced today by many Latinos who are all just looking for a chance.
“Writing a novel in most cases begins with a question,” she said. “It could take a year, it could take ten years.”
Afterwards, I had the opportunity to ask Castillo a few questions.
Q: Why did you start writing?
A: When I was 9, I started writing with my grandmother’s death. That’s really what triggered it.
Describe your writing process.
I write all the time. I’m writing in my head now as we speak.
Q: Who has inspired you to write?
A: Pablo Neruda was an early poetic inspiration, but all the good ones – Dostoevsky, 20th century authors, I would say.
Q: What is your own favorite work?
A: I consider my books like children; you never say which one is your favorite. I love them all in their own special way.
Q: What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
A: Read, read, read. Write, write, write. Rewrite, rewrite.
Q: Could you tell us about the book you are currently working on?
A: It’s called “Give It to Me,” and you can get an advance copy on Amazon now, but it’ll be in stores in May.
Q: Your work reflects the Chicano experience, but what other themes do you think is important to get across?
A: Trying to reflect true women in the world, and anything that has to do with humanity, social justice, environmental issues, spirituality – all of those things have been touched throughout the years, I think.