Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.
Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?
Hello and thank you for having me. My name is Danilo Lopez-Roman and my age is 64, like The Beatles song!
Fiona: Where are you from?
I was born in Nicaragua and moved to the USA in 1985 where I became a citizen in 1996.
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
I am married to Kristabel for 36 years now. We have three daughters, Reima Aleksandra, Danibel Marie and Kristel Fatima. All married to wonderful husbands and with two kids each (a boy and a girl each). Looks like they had it planned!
I am an architect registered in the States of Florida and Texas, with my own firm along with two other partners. I hold an MBA from INCAE Business School and a MFA from the University of Texas.
I love traveling, studying different languages, photography, playing the guitar, watching movies, reading and of course, writing.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
I have two new poetry books out in Amazon, “Extraña Ciudad” written in Spanish and available in Europe; and “Dona Nobis Pacem: Grant Us Peace” written in English, also available in Europe and Kindle.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
When I was 10, my sister brought me a letter from a girl in her school bus. It was a love letter, which was hard for me to process, comfortable only to playing with toy soldiers and airplanes. I asked my mom what to respond. She gave me a book from Gustavo Adolfo Becquer, “Rimas”, and I got hook since then.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Before entering college, I told my dad I wanted to be a writer. He, being an engineer, said “no way, that is not a profession, you will starve to death! You will be an engineer like me”. I compromised, sort of, I decided for Architecture… He was OK with it. But I never stopped writing and publishing. A few years back, I decided to “go pro” and completed a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing at the University of Texas. I have published seven poetry collections, three anthologies, edited the work of nine other poets, and invited to participate in many poetry festivals in several countries. My work, in English and Spanish, has been in numerous web sites and in anthologies in Nicaragua, Argentina, Palestine, the USA and Venezuela.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
It was a sense of urgency. It was a collection of early poems and prose. I wanted to document my journey, to share the experiences. I’m not an easy talker and when I write it becomes easy.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
The title, “Antologia de Tarde” (A Delayed Anthology) meant that I was late publishing, that time was working against me. I had wasted many years with this thing inside that was screaming to get out.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
I always wrote free verse. Although if I apply myself, I can do rhyme. But my preferred form is free verse, prose-poetry. In the MFA program we did everything: chronicles, short stories, short-shorts, movie scripts, theatre, novels, literary criticism. Novel was the most challenging to me, that’s why I decided to make a thesis as novella, a meta-fictional novella. Face your fears!
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Everything I write is based on reality, some stories are more distorted or embellished that others. Things that happened or should have happened… or I wish had happened. It is hard for me to separate diction from reality. What is reality after all? The deeper we get into reality, especially at a quantum level, the stranger such reality becomes. Maybe the reality we perceive with our senses is “in reality” something completely different! What is real? I use a lot of material from dreams, another level of reality we all can relate to.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
The travel is to the self, but also to geographical locations. One of my favourite books I wrote during a trip to Guatemala. It was so inspirational! Poems were pouring out of my pencil, from the brain, from the consciousness. Yeah, the travel is to the self, that is where poetry is born, even though inspired form things “outside” us, they are processed inside.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
I design my own covers. Sometimes I commission an artist, a painter friend of mine, or a photographer. For the Amazon two books I used their templates… but next time I will upload my own designs. I guess it is the architect in me.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Yes. I want them to question the concept of reality, to create the novel with me and to create their own reality each and every moment, wake or sleeping. I want them to question history as it is written in the books. I want them to imagine “what if?” I want them to feel important as Readers, as important as the Text or the Writer or even more. Not just be consumers of the text, but active participants, thinkers. Or they can just read it as consumers, and enjoy it, but it will be more fun if they do it the other way.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? Who is your favorite writer, and what is it about their work that really strikes you?
Each epoch in my life has had a favourite writer. Beqcer of course was the first. As I read more and more, each writer I “discovered” had a certain meaning and importance, each was showing me new things, new worlds, new ways to write and express: Ernesto Cardenal, Pablo Neruda, Jorge Luis Borges, Ezra Pound, William Carlos Williams,Ana Ahkmatova,Anne Sexton, Cesare Pavese, T.S. Eliot, Charles Simic, C.D Wright, Rita Dove, Marta Leonor Gonzalez, and many others were either disruptors of form and theme, or creative geniuses, or protestors of injustice, or chroniclers of their time.
In prose Danilo Kis, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Julio Cortazar, James Joyce, Sandra Cisneros, Lyn Hejinian, David Foster Wallace, are some of my favourites.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
I have to say my professor and thesis advisor Daniel Chacon, at the U of Texas, with another professor of mine, Lex Williford, both accomplished writers. Nora Sandigo from American Fraternity in Miami, and the Miami Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs, helped a lot with grants to publish my work. And then the magazines, printed or electronically, also help. Each time one of my pieces is accepted, I -like any writer- feel great! Hayden’s Ferry Review, Chachalaca Review, Border Sense, Carrier Pigeon, and so many others.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I often wonder what would have happened if I had not heeded my father’s advice and become a writer, a professional writer. But that is water under the bridge. I see myself retired from architecture and writing full time, teaching even in college or at workshops. I love teaching. So yes, I see it as my next self.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
“Dona Nobis Pacem”, my latest in English and “Extraña Ciudad” my latest in Spanish, are pretty well done. I feel satisfied with them. Surely, if I start combing again I will want to change things. Alberto Giacometti saidthat a portrait is never finished. We can say the same about a book. “Leaves of Grass”, “A la recherche du temps perdu” are examples of that. Masterpieces that their authors thought still unfinished. It is hard to be fully satisfied with one’s “final” work.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
I would refer to my novella, “An Echo of Swelling Voices”, which will never be completely finished by the way. In the process of writing it I learned that it could go in so many different directions, that each chapter, it paragraphs each line could become its own novella. A never-ending story, an infinite fractal of stories.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Nooo, I am not a good actor. I was a several plays in school, but. No, the real actors would have to be the people they are based upon. I prefer to see the production behind the camera, as a scriptwriter, even a producer.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
No, but I will accept any they send my way. Actually, one petition: please send your support in the form of poems to the USA and Nicaragua. Both countries currently have heads of government that are destroying democracy, free press, and freedom of speech.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Read as a reader if you want to kill time. Read as a writer if you want to really get into the story. It will be more fun!
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I always have several books in queue and read three or four at the same time. Right now, I have “Seven Brief Lessons on Physics” by Carlo Rovello; “The Rebel” by Albert Camus; “Climate of Hope” by Michael Bloomberg and Carl Pope; and a re-reading of “Ulysses” by James Joyce. In between I read shorter books, like “Palomas Malabaristas” from Marta Leonor Gonzalez and “Rubies” by Rubi Arana. These two last ones are very inspirational.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Yes! It was a prize I won in elementary school, “I am Jonathan Scrivener” by Claude Houghton, in Spanish. I’m not counting the Life of Jesus I asked my mom for in one Christmas season.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Laugh: funny movies. I still enjoy The Three Stooges, Third Rock from the Sun, and Big Bang Theory. Cry: the suffering of the people of my native Nicaragua.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
I’d really like to meet Leonardo Da Vinci and see him create everything from unimaginable machines, to perfect works of art.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
Yes, playing the guitar, table tennis, gardening and traveling. My wife and I, sometimes with other couples, travel each year. Our next trips are to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico in September and a cruise through the Danube in November, visiting several cities from Budapest to Linz.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Besides the ones mentioned above. I now follow original Netflix and Amazon movies or series. All the Marvel movies, Bosch, Fortitude, Jack Ryan, the Expanse. All time favourites include 2001 A Space Odyssey, Unforgiven, Stargate, A Clockwork Orange, Casablanca, Cinema Paradiso.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Food: French, Italian, Japanese and Nicaraguan.
Colors: blue and beige
Music: the 60s
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Hard to imagine. I say that for me, poetry is inevitable. But I would read, for sure.
Fiona: You only have 24 hours to live how would you spend that time?
Playing and talking with my wife, daughters and grandkids. Telling them how much I love them.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
He tried to be and do good.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
And look me up in Amazon as Danilo Lopez-Roman for my latest books.