Author Profile: Carmen Baca

Over the next month, I will be sharing Q&A interviews with artists and writers participating in the Pendaries Art League 16th Annual Art Show to be held July 6 – 7, with an opening reception on July 5. There will be a robust body of work by talented creative spirits. Consider it Christmas shopping in July for a unique gift for yourself or someone special in your life. And you will be supporting the arts in the best possible way, by purchasing something created with love and dedication.


From Carmen’s Amazon Author Page: Hello! I’m Carmen. As if 36 years in the classroom weren’t enough, I now “teach” from home, helping aspiring authors with their own manuscripts, researching marketing strategies, and working on my next book. You can find me in the mountains of northern New Mexico where my husband and I enjoy a peaceful, quiet life caring for our animal family and any stray that happens to stop by.

Below are Carmen’s responses to a Q&A interview about her work as a writer and published author.

Carmen BacaQ. What genre do you work in?
A. The majority of my works are literary regionalism with a touch of magical realism. My first book, El Hermano, is a historical fiction based on my father’s induction and subsequent rise to leadership of our community’s brotherhood of Hermanos Penitentes. My second book, Las Mujeres Misteriosas, is a ghost story mystery, which pits La Muerte against la Llorona in a fight over the soul of a young woman. My third book, Cuentos del Cañón, is a short story collection. It’s a companion book to the first because it’s comprised of the backstories of characters featured in the first book. My fourth, Viajes con Fantasmas, is a sequel to the second, which will publish this summer. My fifth, a short story cycle, is called La Quinceañera. It’s a parallel narrative of three plots which intertwine in 12 separate short stories. It is currently in the editing stage. I have also published 17 short pieces, fiction and non-fiction, in online literary magazines since 2017.

Q. Why that genre?
A. I found my voice in the first book and discovered that my readers appreciate both the stories I tell and the style I use to tell them. The realization that I could be a small voice whereby I could inform, educate, and entertain those who are interested in my culture is why I love writing regionalistic literature. It’s what I know, what I love, and what I want to leave behind as my legacy to New Mexico’s literature. We New Mexico Hispanics have a rich history, but we are not well-known. We are distinct from Latinos of other countries, and I want to tell everyone I can reach about our uniqueness.

El HermanoQ. What inspires you?
A. A locked wooden box, which revealed the secrets of los Hermanos’ brotherhood, inspired my first book. I was disappointed with the way their religious practices were sensationalized in other publications. I wanted my book to show readers that the brotherhood is so much more than what people think. That box gave me the historical information I needed to set the record straight – so to speak – without revealing private information none of us has to know, since we are not of them. Now, I’m inspired by elements of my culture in addition to religion: dying traditions and customs, superstitions, folklore, and beliefs, lifestyle, dialect — all of which I include in most of my works to show younger generations how our ancestors lived, to remind those my age and older of the old days we share, and to preserve the past. I’m inspired by life and death, real human struggles, my career — so many themes in life to write about. I’m also inspired by a variety of writing genres. This allows me to experiment in writing.

Q. What is your preferred work environment as a writer?
A. I worked as a teacher for 36 years, leaving my beautiful home built by my husband on the land of my ancestors. I retired in 2014 and am living the life of my dreams: working from the comfort of my home surrounded by mountains and meadows. Several times already I have caught a movement in the reflection of my PC, which turns out to be elk or deer peering in the window next to me. There is nowhere I’d rather be.

Q. Who do you most admire and in what ways were you influenced by this individual?
A. That’s a hard one. I can’t focus on anyone, other than Jesus Christ. I admire those who persevere, who are honest, and humble, and who attain their goals through willpower and courage — too many to name individually.

Q. What do you most want visitors to the show to know about you as a writer?
A. I want them to know that as a student of languages and a teacher of upper level English courses I learned the skills I need to tell stories effectively; I want them to know that for me all elements of the writing process bring me joy. That readers appreciate my works is still new and surreal to me. I don’t know that I’ll ever quite believe what I do now isn’t all just a dream I wanted to realize for over 25 years before that first book published. I want them to know that since I became an author, I have mentored and continue to mentor aspiring writers as I write. The teacher in me wants to help those who dream of being an author experience what I am.

Q. Other than this show, where can you work be purchased?
A. All my books are available on Amazon, Barnes & Nobel and Goodreads; they can also be found on a variety of other websites as well as local venues: Tome on the Range in Las Vegas, Op.cit in Taos, Bookworks in Albuquerque and several other locations.

Q. Is this your first year as a P.A.L. participant and what appeals to you about being in this show?
A. The opportunity to meet other authors, readers of my books, and potential readers is the most appealing factor of being a P.A.L. participant. If people from other countries attend this event, I’d love to see what nationalities I can meet as well. The icing on the cake is that I live only a few miles away, so I’m in a place where I’m most comfortable.

Q. What is your one-line invitation to the Pendaries Art League show?
A. For me personally or for my fellow authors and myself, I’d say — Bienvenidos — welcome; come meet some of our state’s finest story-tellers, a New Mexico tradition for generations.

Follow Carmen on Facebook


You are invited:
Pendaries Art League
Opening Reception
Friday, July 5, 2019
5:00 – 7:00 pm

Art Show
Saturday, July 6, 2019
10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Sunday, July 7, 2019
10:00 am – 3:00 pm


 

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