Here's part of recent interview done with the author...
(Edited for length)
Question: Please tell my readers a little bit about your book.
CR: A successful, middle-aged attorney, Mexican American, whose practice is tax work (drudgery) gets a nostalgic urge to revisit an area of Michigan that he visited as an adolescent migrant farm worker. The setting is approximately the year 2000. His initial recollections are of an innocent and jovial time. He recalls the strawberry fields fondly, not for their back-breaking labor conditions.
As he begins his physical journey, his memory becomes more focused. His search for the unresolved source and resolution of a conflict with his father begins to take center stage in his nostalgic remembrance. Then, a violent scene of a young blonde woman keeps recurring in his nighttime and day time dreams.
At some point, the protagonist realizes that a murder must have taken place and that he was at least a witness or perhaps a participant. He wonders whether the memory of that event is at least one of the things drawing him back to Michigan.
When he arrives in Michigan, his nostalgia is converted to a painful reality of what life in the strawberry fields was really like. The daily life of the strawberry picker is illustrated in much original detail through numerous vignettes and stories that can also be read and enjoyed independently of the novel.
Question: Describe the genre of this particular title, and is the only genre you write in?
CR: Strawberry Fields is a novel told in stories & vignettes. I am attorney so most of what I write is legal essays and articles. I published a legal article on immigration reform in 1983. I am currently finishing two longer stories and working on a second novel.
Question: When did you start writing toward publication?
CR: With fiction, about 10 years ago. As a college student I wrote for the newspaper. And in law school, more than 30 years ago, I wrote and published a legal article on immigration.
Question: Did you have several manuscripts finished before you sold? If so, did you send them out yourself?
CR: No. Unlike writers who have sold their manuscripts, my book is closer in concept to the self-published writer. We looked around for small publishers and saw the printing quality, very limited units on first edition, and virtually no distribution. We decided to create a publishing company and use my manuscript as the guinea pig.
Question: Why have you become a published author?
CR: At this point, I have the unfair advantage of owning the publisher. Whether a larger, successful publisher will be interested in my work remains to be seen.
Question: What is your writing routine like?
CR: Prefer small quiet areas such as my law office on weekends, or picking a room at home or during traveling longer distance away from home. My writing is very slow. Many, many drafts and rewrites. My best work comes off of a computer once I have a third or fourth draft. I return to the beginning often and redraft.
Question: What sort of promo do you do? Do you have help?
CR:A lot of internet messages, e-mail, blogs, twitter, networking sites, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, newspaper releases, libraries, museums, writer’s groups, book festivals, other Hispanic organizations, book stores, reading clubs.
Question: Having achieved your goal to be a published author, what is the most rewarding thing?
CR: A good review by a sincere, published author is for me the most rewarding. They know the difficulty of writing and know when you are at your best.
Question: Will you share some encouraging words for authors still struggling for that first contract?
CR: Read, read, read. Save your manuscripts regardless of how crappy you feel. There are usually gems you will find later in your work. Often times, a short story published here and there will give you some credibility.
Question: What’s next for you?
CR: Keep reading and reading. Continue to learn to write.
A Note from the Book Boost: Thanks for joining us today. Your book sounds very interesting and I'm sure our readers will look forward to checking it out.
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Chuy Ramirez is an attorney who practices law in the Rio Grande Valley, Texas and is a partner in the firm Ramirez & Guerrero, LLP. He grew up in the Rio Grande Valley and is no stranger to the strawberry fields, to which he traveled over the years with his family and thousands of families from South Texas. Ramirez attended Pan American University at Edinburg, Texas and is a graduate of the University of Texas School of Law. At the law school, he served as Articles Editor for the International Law Journal and published a note entitled, “Altering the Policy of Neglect of Undocumented Immigration from South of the Border, Vol. 18 in 1983.
Strawberry Fields is his first fictional work. Ramirez lives in Texas with his wife of 39 years Aida, who is a retired public school teacher. He has two children and five grandchildren.