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A CONVERSATION WITH MARTA ELVA

Question: As a writer of historical fiction, how do you make your characters historically authentic, yet relevant to contemporary readers?
Marta Elva: I focus on human behavior. Ego, selfishness, pride, empathy and forgiveness are part of the human DNA that never goes out of style. Emotions traverse centuries.

Question: How do Inez’s family and upbringing reflect your own family and upbringing?
Marta Elva: Inez’s family and upbringing resemble my own. I utilize fiction to probe family emotions that were never discussed about controversial events like my father’s arrest.

Question: Did you find that writing American Tumbleweeds helped you work out past issues?
Marta Elva: Writing is cathartic in general, so, yes, I purged some past issues.  For example, I’ve never considered myself an immigrant, but like Inez I was born in Mexico and raised in America. My blood and genes are Mexican, my heart and mind American, and my soul Mexican-American. How do you separate that?

Question: What is your relationship with the characters you create, both while you are writing and after you have finished a novel? 
Marta Elva: I nurture and probe my characters’ psyche while writing. This allows me to portray their strengths and weakness so the reader can be the final judge. This is my first novel. When I finished writing it, I felt like I was releasing a flock of birds, each with unique plumage flying across the sky spreading their message.

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