I reviewed Labyrinth Lost a couple of weeks ago for Latinx Heritage Month. It was such a fun book full of adventure set in a fascinating world, with wonderful Latinx representation and a positive portrayal of a bisexual protagonist. By now, you have surely heard of this book. If not, please read my review and realize that yes, you do in fact want to read it!
Zoraida Córdova was previously on Read Diverse Books for my “The Value In Saying Latinx” post, and she’s back again for a Q&A about Labyrinth Lost, her favorite authors, stories about witches/brujas she’s loved in the past and more!
Q&A With Zoraida Córdova
RDB: Can you share with us some of the best moments from Labyrinth Lost’s launch day?
This was one of my most favorite launch parties. There were empanadas, guava puffs, and lots of my favorite people. I felt truly blessed to have such a great support. Better yet, my friend and author Claribel Ortega took some footage. You can view it here:
RDB: When did the idea for this story first come to you?
I wanted to write a Latina version of Charmed. I grew up watching paranormal and supernatural TV shows, but the heroes never looked like me. Even the one time there was a Latinx on Buffy, she was a mummy who almost ate Xander. (Also, come on.) I think one of the slayers in Season 7 was Latinx. So, two out of seven seasons? Yay.
Creating a magic that was new but familiar was crucial to developing this series. This magic is tied to their family and blood and roots and hearts. Book 2 going to be way different from book 1 and I’m proud of that. But the magic is still the same.
RDB: If Alex were not a Latina, Labyrinth Lost would be quite a different story. Did you envision Alex as a Latina from the very beginning? And do you think her identity as a Latina is an integral part of the narrative?
Alex was always Latina. Brujas are ours. I’ve seen non-Latinx authors use them and it feels odd. It’s almost like someone else trying play dress up of you. This is not to say that they can’t be done right by someone who isn’t Hispanic or Latinx. But there’s a feeling. It’s in the microcosm of our homes. The way we speak to each other. The scents and sounds of our homes and voices. There’s a rhythm to books that are #ownvoices.
That being said, Alex is very much a third-gen kid. She’s a New Yorker, but she is very well aware of her roots. As a Latinx, you can assimilate the f*ck out of yourself, but because of the way you look, you’ll always be seen as an other if you aren’t white. Alex’s “other” is her magic. I hope that parallel comes through.
RBD: Do you and Alex share anything in common? Could a teenage Zoraida have gotten along with Alex and perhaps become her friend?
LOL. Alex’s refusal to have her Deathday was 100% inspired by me not wanting to have a quinceañera. It’s beyond rejecting a “party.” It’s rejecting something cultural. Teen Z was super emo and into rock. I hung out with the punk and skater kids and was the shy one. I didn’t talk very much. If anyone knows me now they wouldn’t be able to recognize the same person. I went from being super introverted to super extroverted once I got to college. Like Alex, I have a big family, and I’ve learned to appreciate them a whole lot. Abuela is #Queen, just like Mama Juanita is. Like Alex, I took body-building in high school. I wasn’t much of a group sports person. Fun fact: I named Alex (Alejandra) after my grandmother.
RDB: What are some of your favorite books, TV shows, or movies about witches or brujas?
I’m severely out of touch with TV nowadays. Books: The Witch of Blackbird Pond was one of my favorites as a kid. The Den of Shadows by Amelia Atwater Rhodes was a huge favorite as a teen. Charmed, Sabrina the Teenage Witch were my jam as Teen Z. I REALLY got into the Witches of East End and wish it had gone a second season.
RDB: If you had the chance to create a book club with your favorite authors of all time, which legends or contemporary writers would you want to join your club?
Libba Bray, Junot Diaz, Leigh Bargudo, Sarah Beth Durst, and Hemingway just to have a boozy zombie among us.
RDB: Do you need to be in a specific place or room to write, or can you just sit in the middle of a café full of people and write?
I like noise so sometimes I go to a coffee shop in my neighborhood. Sometimes I write at home when I don’t want to get dressed. I try to give myself a routine so that it feels like I’m responsible and put together.
RDB: Would you ever consider collaborating with another author to write a novel? If so, who would it be?
Definitely. I have a go-to group of people who I love like Dhonielle Clayton, Adam Silvera, and Gretchen McNeil, and Roshani Chokshi. Very different styles, but there are things I love about each and all of their works.
Thank you so much for answering my questions, Zoraida!
I hope you all enjoyed the Q&A and if you haven’t yet read Labyrinth Lost, it’s time to seriously consider adding it to your 2016 or 2017 TBR. 🙂
_About the author_
Zoraida Córdova was born in Ecuador and raised in Queens, New York. She is the author of The Vicious Deep trilogy, the On the Verge series, and Labyrinth Lost. She loves black coffee, snark, and still believes in magic. Send her a tweet: Follow @Zlikeinzorro
Thank you for reading. Enter your email below to receive frequent updates from RDB!