Name Maria de Jesus Ayala
Where are you from
San Diego, CA
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc
I attended the University of San Francisco and majored in Theology.
I actually ended up taking a bunch of psychology courses, but never officially
Changed my major. I dropped out after 2 years.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
I was a finalist for the Goldie Award in Poetry for 2016!!
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I started writing poetry at age 12.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Wow!! I think that happened in high school. I was the editorial editor of my high school paper, “The Cardinal”. My journalism instructor, Mrs. Lucostic thought I would be perfect for that assignment because I was so opinionated!! In my senior year, I was the editor-in-chief. I had my own column. I really felt like a writer then!!
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
Wow!! I have always wanted my own book. Ever since I first got into the Sappho’s Corner Poetry Series back in 2011, I always wanted my own book of poetry. I am a prolific poet, so I had plenty of poems for my own book. “The Tiger and The Snake”, came out in February of 2015. Everything inspires me to write. That’s just the way it has always been for me.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
Yes, I believe I do!! I am very honest, and open, but simultaneously, I enjoy being subtle, and surprising.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Well, my book was named after one of my poems. That poem holds the central theme of my book. Every other poem is just background information. It was a time in my life that was the worst in so many ways.
Fiona: Is there a message in your poetry book that you want readers to grasp?
I want the reader to fully understand the scope of love and life. Life is both wonderful and painful. That is the mystery of life, of existence itself.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
My writing is always based on my own experiences. I experience the world in a very different way. I am a sensitive soul, like my maternal grandmother was, but I have the writing skills that my paternal grandfather had. So I am the combination of so many things, and this inner world of mine is what crafts my writing. My life experiences are just material to draw from. Every writer at some point realizes this.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
Wow!! I love the writing style of Amy Tan. She is one of my favorite novelists. I don’t read many novels, but hers stand out the most for me. I have discovered common themes, but also differences that intrigue me. I don’t look up to too many people, but if I do, it is because they are exceptional. I am not easily impressed.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest and who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Lately, I haven’t been doing much reading. I am really into films and tv. The new writers I have found, are the writers of shows such as Lucifer, Bordertown, and Murdoch Mysteries.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
Do you mean, like a spirit? My angels are always with me. I know this. I have been so near to death, so many times, that I know how much worse things could have been for me.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Yes. For me it is. It is my life destiny. It is the reason I am here. It is my dharma.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Oh no!! Nothing. I love it so much. Reading it again, amuses me. My life has changed so much since I wrote those poems!!
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Oh yes. I remember reading some poems in elementary school. They were a monthly newspaper that we read in class. I was in the fourth grade. I remember praying to God that I could write like that. I was so impressed by what I read.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Right now I am writing poetry in Spanish. I hope to include the English translations with this next work. I will be finished next year. That’s all I can say for now.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Writing different genres is definitely something new for me. But my inspiration is always there. This is something I want to do before the end of this year.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Not recently, but I am thinking about traveling for next year.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Shadoe Publishing published my book, and arranged for the artist who did the cover.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
I had to decide which poems to include, and which to leave out. I have so much writing, that deciding was the toughest choice. I also had to write the intro for the book. This was something new for me, since it wasn’t structured poetry. Being able to condense themes, and an over-all tone for the book was interesting. I had to start from a story style and weave in the philosophy of that book together. I wanted to do a story style so that the reader could grasp a feeling of who I really am.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I learned that things can happen really fast. I felt like I was caught in a whirl wind after I submitted a sample of 10 poems to my publisher. The book happened so fast. I still couldn’t believe it when I signed the contract. I just learned that life is like that.
Fiona: If any of your books was made into a film who would you like to play the lead?
That is so funny, since film is like my thing. There are different characters in my book, but the lead is me. I don’t know who, since I don’t see myself in anyone. I see myself as such an individual. I think most nerds are like that. Whoever played me, would have to be a nerd.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
You just have to write, and keep on writing. You have to be on social media.
You have to put your work out there, which means, getting published.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I love music. It helps me write. If you are a new writer, you need to find what helps you write. Music has helped me study, while I was in school, and now it helps me write. It helps me focus and concentrate. I am a Gemini, and focusing is not my strong suit.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
That’s the thing, I hardly read. Most of the stuff I read is online. If I read a book it’s about the tarot, numerology, or astrology. Most of the stuff I read are periodicals–I can hold in my hand. I am always writing, so I hardly read, really.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
I think it was, “The Little Mermaid”, by Hans Christian Anderson. This explains why I wanted to be a mermaid when I grew up!!
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Everything makes me laugh. Everything makes me cry. That’s just the way I am. I either love something or I hate it. There is no in between for me. My moon is in Scorpio. This has to be why.
Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would meet and why?
I would love to be with my grandmother again. She passed away before my Quinceanera. I miss her so much!!
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why?
Oh, I don’t usually think about death, which surprises me, since I have been so close to it in the past, but, I want to be remembered for my writing.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
Yes, music, tv, eating, sleeping, and other fun things.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Lucifer, Bordertown, Murdoch Mysteries, Law and Order Criminal Intent.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
All food really, blue, and I love Garbage, Adele, and movie soundtracks.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
I would have been a detective.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
This is the e book version of my new poetry book:
The Tiger and the Snake is a book of prose, poetry, musings of the mind