Our Latinx community is full of talent. From musicians to writers, and everything in between, Latinx are creative minds that continue thriving in their spaces while opening paths to their audiences to do the same.
It is a fruitful cycle that will only continue to ignite our upcoming talents — and in this case, we see it exemplified through the experience of Florida-born and Bolivian author Isabel Ibañez.
Ibañez made her debut in the publishing world last year, with her book Woven in Moonlight, which TIME categorized 100 Best Fantasy Books of All Time, praising “every detail is rich with meaning and nuance.”
The wave of praise she received for her second book, Written in Starlight, which just came out this month, is much more than anticipated. As a result, we had
(Photo courtesy of Isabel Ibañez)
to dig into Ibañez’s mind to see what and how this author embraces in her Latinx roots, what inspirations she gives to upcoming authors, and of course, how she is staying creative during this pandemic.
Here’s what she had to say!
Tell us about yourself and how your Bolivian roots inspired you both as a writer and in your newest work, Written in Starlight.
Both my books draw from my personal experience of growing up in Bolivia, where most of my family lives. To me, Bolivia is a vibrant and colorful place, with delicious food and incredible art, deeply rooted in artisanal crafting and weaving. Writing about a place I love so much felt natural to me — because my upbringing really shaped me to embrace all aspects of my heritage.
This story is particularly special to me, as it’s primarily inspired by my father and where he was born and raised — the Bolivian Amazon. This book is filled with the foods he ate, what his home looked like, even the bamboo stalks he slept on. It has the river that runs like veins through his pueblo, and where he traveled by canoe.
Written In Starlight also features a lost city — Paititi — that was once thought to be in Bolivia. I’ve always been fascinated by this legend, and I think the last known explorer to go searching for it went into the Bolivian Amazon in 1997, and he never came back out. I don’t know if this city will ever be found and where, but it felt like the perfect home for the Illari, who were largely inspired by Andean peoples in the Bolivian region who were conquered and displaced by the Incas.
Read the full article at Be Latina.