Interview with Al Lucero Mascareñas

When did you first start writing?
I am 61 and this is my first book. I taught English for 25 years and had a notion of theory and process, but I have written seriously for about ten years.
What's the story behind your next book?
It's about recently living in the San Fernando Valley and people I knew and experiences I had. A lot of crazy shit happened. Themes or subjects may include . . . you know what? The less I say the better.
What do your fans mean to you?
About six months ago I gave a talk on my birth and the unpublished memoir at a gathering in L.A. of Mensa, the high I.Q. society. I'm a member. At lunch this guy I just met said he had been thinking about killing himself, but after hearing my story he decided not to do himself in. That meant a lot to me. A lot.
What do you read for pleasure?
Paolo Coelho, Kurt Vonnegut, P.D. James, the guy who wrote The Windup Bird Chronicle, Canterbury Tales, The Liar's Club by Karr, Frank McCourt, the ten day notice to vacate I found on my door yesterday . . .
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I knew the retail end of the business from starting up a bookstore in downtown San Jose in the Eighties. I was in my fifties when I thought about getting published and figured I was too damn old to go the old route (literary agent, getting shopped around, etc.) and I like technology. I also like control. Know any freaky ladies?
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Cannery Row by John Steinbeck is at the top these days. I grew up on the Monterey Peninsula, where Cannery Row is located. I played in the burned down skeletons of the canneries long after the sardines disappeared. I was born in Salinas, where Steinbeck called home and The Steinbeck Center is, a million square foot interactive museum I enjoy visiting. My Aunt Carmen and he were friends. Mostly though, I share Steinbeck's passion for social justice. Catcher in the Rye. Windup Bird Chronicle. Bless Me, Ultima. Tony Hillerman.
Published 2014-06-10.
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