This week’s featured interview is with Ariane Torres, Author of We are the Kings
We are the Kings reveals a complicated family history through the interwoven stories of three generations of women.
After the sudden death of her grandmother, Marcella unwittingly unearths old family secrets. In sifting through conflicting and fading memories, she puts into words what no one else will say out loud, revealing not only what may or may not have happened, but what is truly at stake when a woman tells her story.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I think when I was about 8. I used to narrate my life in my head, trying to turn everything into a story to tell my friends.
*What is your book about?
It’s about memory and friendship and womanhood. It’s loosely based on the women in my family and how I came to understand them and myself as I’ve gotten older.
Why did you want to write this book?
It’s hard to say! I think I just felt that I had a story in me and that I should try to get it out!
What was the most difficult part about writing the book? The most rewarding?
The most difficult part was finding a way to generate the energy to continue to work when the project felt really hopeless. There were many bumps in the road, and many times where I wondered if the characters or ideas in it would be interesting to anyone but me.
The most rewarding part is harder to answer. There were so many! I genuinely enjoy the act of writing, and I love getting lost in my head as characters and moments come to life. It was also really exciting to share it with people. Having my kids want to read it and talk about it was unreal.
*What do you hope other people will take away from reading your book?
Nothing specific. I love how books affect everyone differently. I just hope people enjoy it!
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
To try to live more by the line my husband always quotes from The Dude and the Zen Master (an amazing book): “hope without expectations.”
How long did it take to write your book?
About four years. I took lots of breaks. I finished the second to last final draft while having very early contractions, and my daughter was born two days later! The next phase of querying and eventually finding Bold Story Press took another few years.
Who are your favorite authors (and why)?
Right now, I’m obsessing over Orhan Pamuk, an old favorite. His most recent book, A Strangeness in My Mind, blew me away. I get totally lost in his worlds, and I’m fascinated by Istanbul. Other favorites are Heinrich Boll, Roberto Bolano, Virginia Woolf, Toni Morrison, Ivan Bunin, and Iris Murdoch. The thing that I love most about these writers is that I can’t ever pinpoint exactly what it is about their writing that I like so much. I just get completely swept up in their stories. I love realizing I’m wildly interested in something I hadn’t previously given much thought to.
What is your favorite book in the same genre as your work?
I really enjoyed Great House by Nicole Krauss, and Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo.
What does literary success look like to you?
Enjoying the process and not obsessing too much over what success should mean. Staying present with the privilege of being able to do something that I love.
What’s the best writing advice you ever received?
To start where you are.
What do you do when you are not writing?
I do some interior design work. I hang out with my family. I read as much as I can with a 3-year-old! I bake. I’m trying to learn how to play guitar. I sporadically take up knitting. And I take long walks with my mom to look at houses.
What’s next for you?
Hopefully another book! I’ve got a decent draft of it, which will need to be completely rewritten. But so far, it’s been fun!
*How can our readers get a copy of your book?
Any book distributor (amazon, Barnes & Noble), or by ordering from your local bookstore.
*What is the best way for our readers to connect with you?
More about Ariane Torres – Torres attended Mount Holyoke College, majoring in Russian Studies and English Literature. Her graduate work at the Corcoran College of Art & Design and Columbia University focused on prison architecture and aging in prison, respectively. Torres has worked in interior design and prison advocacy. She lives with her family in Somerville, MA. This is her first novel.