Enjoy reading our interview with the talented writer and poet Esteban Luis Soto.
Esteban was born and raised in the far West Texas city of El Paso but left at the age of 23 to pursue music in Austin. He was the singer for several bands before he realized, later in life, that singing just wasn’t his calling anymore.
At that point, he decided to passionately pursue the written word. Esteban writes poems and short stories, blending Prose with Literary Fiction.
Interview with Writer Esteban Luis Soto
Q1: When did you start writing? How long have you been writing? When did you discover your love of writing?
I’ve written for as long as I can remember, however, I believe it was at the age of seventeen that I began writing seriously. At first, it started with lyrics for songs which, if you think about it, are little poems in themselves. It was during literature classes at ACC that I began to discover the beautiful works of the great romantics, like Wordsworth, Yeats and Keats. At this point is when my love for poetry began to blossom and I have honed my craft ever since.
Q2: What inspires you to write? Where does your inspiration come from?
Inspiration can come from anywhere but, as most writers will tell you, it’s few and far between. I’m often inspired by songs that stir nostalgia or deep, well-written movies that make you ponder life and all its little cruel and wonderful stages.
Q3: What do you most enjoy about writing?
What I enjoy most about writing is the fact that a writer can create and destroy worlds one story at a time. I relish in the idea that someone, somewhere out there may read one of my poems or short stories and be influenced or moved by it. There’s no greater feeling in the world than having known you have moved someone. I feel that I speak for most writers when I say that writing is also a release of demons, so to speak. There’s a sort of mental calm that comes with finishing a chapter, poem or even a novel for that matter.
Q4: Have you been published anywhere (online or in print)?
I have published a novelette and a collection of short stories that I ultimately pulled from online publishing soon after. There’s a great debate in the writing world as to whether to self-publish or seek a literary agent/agency. There’s instant gratification that comes with self-publishing but there’s also the arduous task of self-promoting that follows, as well. Finding an agent (as extremely difficult as it may be) affords you the opportunity of being shopped to all their established contacts within the industry, which makes success that much more attainable.
I have been published by several online magazines (including this wonderful publication) and have won several awards for poetry as well. If I am unable to secure an agent, I will ultimately self- publish my recently finished collection of short fiction entitled, “Conversations With Shadows”.
Q5: What genres do you mainly write? What have you written so far?
I’ve always been drawn to darker fiction and the genre known as “Magical Realism”. I mostly write fiction peppered with magical elements in the style of the great Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Jorge Luis Borges.
As of this interview, I’ve decided to publish my short story, “A Girl Named Nostalgia” on my website for anyone to read. You can find it at www.estebanluissoto.com.
Q6: What accomplishment/s are you most proud of?
Watching my Father cry as he read a poem (Mi Pappa) that I had written for him.
Q7: Have you won any writing awards or received recognition for your work?
I was a runner-up in Franklin Cristoph’s annual poetry competition a few years ago.
Q8: What are you currently writing? What is your next project?
I have just finished my collection of short stories entitled, “Conversations With Shadows” that I am currently shopping to literary agencies. My next project is a novel called, “Elisa”.
Q9: Are you a full-time writer or a part-time writer? What is your main occupation?
Sadly, I am only a part-time writer. My occupation of the Creative Director for Amorada Tequila takes up most of my time, unfortunately, but – I always have good tequila on-hand so, it’s not that bad.
Q10: What was your first writing experience like?
Horrible, as most writers will tell you.
Q11: What is the hardest part of writing? What challenges have you had to overcome?
Writer’s block! The biggest challenge I have to overcome, on a daily basis, is self-doubt. There’s always the internal question of “but what if my writing is just not good enough?”.
Q12: How do you deal with negative criticism and rejection?
As of recently, I’m up to four rejection letters. It stings at first but once you realize that all the greats were rejected many, many times, it’s easier to deal with. There is always going to be rejection and negative criticism. Don’t worry about them. Just live with the fact that you were important enough for them to mention.
Q13: What’s your favorite environment for creativity and productivity?
Santa Fe, New Mexico by far! Daily, I think back to when I lived there and how creativity flowed out of me. It’s such a spiritually inspiring place. Sadly, I can’t return anytime soon but it’s on the schedule. The stifling heat of Austin, Texas coupled with its ever-expanding metropolis makes writing here very difficult but it does have its perks as well.
Q14: How has your environment, family & upbringing influenced your writing?
Being raised in a close-knit, Mexican family and environment showed me the importance of family. In most of my stories, you will find the beautiful Mexican culture weaved into them, in some way or another.
Q15: Do you ever suffer a writers-block? If so, how do you overcome it?
Absolutely! I’ll usually take a walk or sit outside with tequila and nostalgic music. Oddly enough, in the shower is when I come up with most of my plot lines and characters.
Q16: What writing courses/workshops/classes did you take? Can you recommend any specific writing books or classes to aspiring writers?
I briefly attended The College Of Santa Fe in which I studied under the esteemed poets, Matt Donovan and Valerie Martinez. I feel that writing classes are very beneficial but I’ve never felt that obtaining a degree in Creative Writing is necessary to prove that you are good. For inspiration, I recommend, “Letters To A Young Writer” by Colum McCann and “On Writing” by Stephen King.
Q17: What is your advice to aspiring writers?
Don’t ever give up! You are going to be given many obstacles and many are going to be very hard to overcome but, keep moving forward. Keep the passion and fire for the written word burning inside you, even if it becomes a smoldering coal at times.
Read! Read! Read!
Q18: What are your favorite books by other authors? Which authors do you admire?
My favorite authors are Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Jorge Luis Borges, Isabel Allende, John Steinbeck, Benjamin Alire Saenz, Stephen King, etc.
Q19: Fun Facts: Do you have any unique or quirky writing habits?
I mostly write in a small, tequila warehouse surrounded by Wolf Spiders – seriously.
Q20: What are your favorite writing quotes?
There is no better pillow than a clear conscience.” – Steinbeck
Q21: Tell us a fun fact about a character in your latest story
La Bella Donna is a transvestite Seamstress (El Hombre Del Viento) who dances to Brittney Spears in the small, magical, Mexican town of Santa Catarina.
Q22: What do you enjoy doing when you’re not writing?
Exercising and sitting in the shadows of dark pubs, observing inspiration for my next group of characters. Oh, and drinking Amorada Tequila.
Q23: If you were deserted on an island, which three people would you want to have with you? Why?
Morrissey- for his cunning wit and silver tongue. Anthony Bourdain – for his like-minded wit and “I don’t give a crap” attitude. My father – just for the fact that I owe everything I am today, to him.
Q24: What are your big dreams and writing goals?
Ultimately, I want to inspire readers and make them laugh and cry. I want somebody to hug their brother/sister because of a character, in one of my stories, that reminded them of such. I want to leave a thick ring in the Redwood Forests of life. I want the world to know I existed.
Thank you, Esteban Luis Soto, for taking part in our interview!
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