Today, we welcome Maria DeBlassie into the hot seat to talk about her novel, Weep Woman Weep, as well as some other thing. Check it out.
1. HRR – Hey, Maria. Can you start off by telling us a little bit about yourself.
Hi! Thank you for taking the time to chat with me. I’m an educator by day, writer by night, witchy always. I write about everyday magic and ordinary gothic, those daily enchantments and terrors that make up our lives and help us work through what we need to work through.
2. HRR – When did you first start writing, and what prompted you to do so?
I always knew I wanted to be a writer. I grew up loving books. I was always reading and crafting tales of my own as a child. It seemed only natural that I started writing more seriously in high school, funny as that sounds. I’d write for twenty minutes every day before I went to school—that’s something I still do to this day.
3. HRR – How do you develop your plot and characters?
Honestly? I spend a lot of time daydreaming and puttering around in the garden. There’s nothing like digging up weeds to untangle certain plot points in a story. Often, characters will come to me first, and the more I get to know them, the more they open up and tell me the story they want me to write.
4. HRR – I enjoyed the La Llorona angle in Weep, Woman, Weep. Do you believe in the legend?
La Llorona absolutely terrified me as a child—she still does to this day. I grew up hearing variations of this urban legend on the playground and often had nightmares of her. I think she’s a real energy, like I write about in this book, something that haunts those of us with Hispanic and Latin heritage, as she represents often hidden cultural and ancestral traumas. That’s what makes her so terrifying!
5. HRR – If Weep, Woman, Weep was developed into a movie or TV show, who would you like to see play the main characters?
Ooohhh…that’s a tough one! I’d have to go with an unknown local talent. We have many Indigenous and Latin actors in the Southwest. I’d like it to be played by someone who can understand Mercy’s plight because they have a similar cultural background. Weep, Woman, Weep is very much a story about place and culture, as much as it is about Mercy, so I’d want whoever plays her and the other characters to understand the heart of New Mexico.
6. HRR – What does your daily writing schedule look like?
When I’m teaching, I sneak in about 20 minutes a day on the weekdays, when I can. If I’m feeling the words call to me more, I’ll write a little on Saturdays too. During the summer, I have more time to focus on writing. I like to get up early and garden, then write for an hour or so. Then I’ll read and do a spot of kitchen witchery, and write a little more in the afternoon. Sometimes the words won’t come to me unless I’m cooking or tending the house and then…the next piece of the story speaks to me.
7. HRR – Can you tell us about any books you are working on at the moment?
I’m currently writing the sequel to Weep, Woman, Weep, called Mercy Road. It’s about Santos, a motorcycle-riding techie-herbalist who falls in love with Mercy and shows her that she can have more in her life than just suffering and survival. We get to learn more about him and what brought him to Mercy. He’s got a wild backstory and a whole lot of trouble he needs to set straight before he and Mercy can be together!
8. HRR – How do you handle negative book reviews?
I’m a firm believer that book reviews are for readers and not writers. Not every book will speak to every reader, and that’s okay. A negative book review is just letting others know about one person’s take on my story so they can make an informed choice about reading it. Sometimes it’s the negative reviews that have made me purchase a book because one reviewer’s dislike of a trope or theme is something that I really love. Likewise, I’m a believer in story magic — those who need the medicine of my books will find it. That’s all that matters to me!
9. HRR – How do you celebrate when you finish a book?
Start the next one. Okay, I will usually pour a glass of bubbly and celebrate first, but then…the next book calls.
10. HRR – Finally, please tell us where we can find and follow you online.
Thank you for these wonderful questions! Readers can find me at www.mariadeblassie.com to sign up for my newsletter and to access my social media info. Here’s to everyday magic!