Interview with Michael Lopez

What do you want your fans to know about you and your work?
I lovingly refer my book as: the girls of the Traveling Pants visit Harry Potter’s world. Here’s the pitch:

Feisty, eleven-year-old Zoey Le Mar finds out that she’s inherited her father’s curse. She scoffs then rejects her familial responsibility and endangers everyone around her, even knowing of the bizarre bedtime fairy tale, experiencing the recurring dreams, and receiving staggering premonitions.

Now, the monsters from her dreams return for real, and her younger brother pays for her defiance. To make matters worse, she accidentally involves her best friends and two fellow classmates, and one by one, they get abducted into a pocket realm ridden with hidden traps and horrors beyond imagination. Luckily, old forgotten magic aids Zoey as each experience inches her closer to saving her brother and her friends, all in the hope of ending her responsibility and finding a way home alive.

In this full-fledged fantasy infused with preteen drama, Zoey drifts aimlessly on a self-made river of denial until she clashes into the reality of monsters, magic, and mayhem. She finally comes to understand how her veil of secrets is unhealthy and dangerous and how reacting without thinking puts her friends and family in grave danger. This story will endear young readers to Zoey as she takes her journey of self-awareness, survival, and redemption.
What are you working on next?
Book 1: Zoey Le Mar and the Veil of Fear and Book 2: Zoey Le Mar and the Wrath of the Anasazi are finished and published. I'm currently working on Book Three: Zoey Le Mar and the Curse of the Nian. I'm driven and inspired to write these books to: 1) give young girls heroes to look up to and emulate, 2) represent girls of color, and 3) show that girls matter and can be anything they want to be.
What's your favorite quote?
“You are the answer. All you have to do is believe.” I take this quote, my quote by the way, to heart. There’s always a solution. I use it to try harder, longer, better. You make it happen. Make it so.
Are you an organized outliner or more of a seat of pants writer?
I am proudly a by-the-seat-of-my-pants writer. Nothing’s planned. Once inspiration comes, I start recording, reciting, or taking notes. I have tried that other method, but it’s not for me. I like the surprise and charge of getting inspired and going with the flow.
When and why did you begin writing?
It was in college, that the real seed was planted. During a children’s literature class (in the late 80’s), a two-day assignment stuck with me and prompted me to write. On the first day, the teacher asked for male heroes from bonafide books/series, i.e. no Disney-made books, comic books, or the like. We filled up the chalkboard. Day two arrived, and we were to list the female heroes from books/series. After an hour, we only came up with four, (my contribution was Nancy Drew). What a shock. Then, to drive the point home, we had to visit a bookstore and try and find any more female heroes. It was sad. Sure, there were books with girls and ponies, a babysitting club, cookbooks or craft books, and teen Harlequin. I left the bookstore dejected and shelved that data for a later date.

The idea of me actually writing germinated after several of my female students from the 00s asked me, “Where are the (smart, strong) girl heroes? Where are the girls of color?” That literature class flashed in my mind. I told them I’d go look, and later that day, I set out for the bookstore again. I was shocked again. Not much has changed. That’s when I started to write about strong smart girls of color as forefront heroes. Several years later, Zoey Le Mar and the Veil of Fear was born.
Published 2013-09-23.
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