TODAY’S GUEST IS AUTHOR CHRISTINA HOAG
author of Skin of Tattoos, a gangland thriller
I won a prize for “writing interesting stories” when I was six years old so I think writing was something I was born with. I was also a voracious reader so that made me want to write books when I grew up. In high school, I discovered journalism - a career that would pay me to write! I wrote short stories on and off until I really focused on my childhood goal of writing novels about a dozen years ago.
ARE YOU A PLOTTER OR PANTSER?
A bit of both. I like to know where I’m going so I have a loose outline to avoid writing myself into corners. That said, I change stuff as I go all the time. Having at least a mini-outlines, even covering just the next chapter or two, helps to get you started when you sit down at the computer every day so you avoid wasting time wondering what comes next.
HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE IDEA OF YOUR BOOK?
I went El Salvador back in 2000 to do a magazine story on gang members deported from Los Angeles to San Salvador, which most of them really didn’t know because their families had emigrated when they were infants with the result that they belonged neither in El Salvador or in the United States. Their story resonated with me. I could relate to them because I had moved around the world as a child, so I also feel I don’t really belong anywhere. Although my novel is not about deported gang members; it’s the tale of rival homeboys in L.A., the book was inspired by those interviews in El Salvador.
Los Angeles homeboy Magdaleno is desperate to get out of gang life, but if he does, he stands to lose everything – and everyone - he loves.
Night in L.A. can be heavy as a medieval cloak or it can sparkle and crackle. It can burn you with its current, protect you or betray you. It can be like a jaina with a wet pout and curves that clap into your cupped hands. Tonight L.A. was just heavy; swimming in sweet syrup heavy.
I stood on the sidewalk and breathed in a lungful of darkness. For the first time in twenty-six months and thirteen days, I was free to go to the corner store and buy a Snickers. At least that was my excuse for slipping out my first night home, in case anyone asked. But they didn’t. Moms and my sisters went to bed, my brother Frank wouldn’t be home til the next day and Pops was working his night job. I bolted.
The quietness rang in my ears like I’d been punched upside the head. I had to listen to find noise. It was there. A siren whooped, a car door slammed, but they were faded, comfortable noises like a pair of old jeans. Noise wasn't up close like in lockup with all its yelling, buzzing, clanging—the constant rumble of hundreds of angry vatos. And it was dark. No lights blaring into every little crack of privacy all the time.
Find author Christina Hoag at: Website
Find Skin of Tattoos at: Amazon
Christina, you mentioned you moved all over the word--can you share where else you've lived?