1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?
My passion for writing started when I was a little kid, around 8 years old. I would imagine these fantastic stories and I knew that I had to write them. Adding some drawings to illustrate these stories, I would write them by hand and gift them to my family. They were my first “published” books. Unfortunately, my family has been terrible to save them. I’m pretty sure there was good content in them. Then life brought some swirls and made me go on a different path. But deep inside me, I always knew that I would once sit down and become a writer. It wasn’t until probably six years ago when I started to consider it again. Specifically, two years ago I started The Last Families and it has been quite an adventure.
2. What inspired you to write your book?
I always had in mind these landscapes with extremely tall cliffs, deserts, a purple sky, and other characteristics that are depicted in The Last Families. I also wanted to write about an end-of-the-world story with survivors that had somehow developed special skills. These characters had to feel forced to go somewhere else where things would be particularly harsh. I started playing with the idea and soon the story started to develop. Also, I’m a very visual person and most of the promotion of this book is been based on characters’ illustrations drawn by a friend of mine. I wanted those characters to be stunning and different. That is why each family has specific traits not only in what it comes to powers but also physically.
3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?
That in spite of all differences humanity can still carry on if they work together. The Last Families touches on some underlying themes like a post-apocalyptic era, skin color as a survival factor, family superiority, and misogyny. Of course, these topics are addressed in a very specific way in this fantastic world, but somehow they can also relate to some of the issues that our society faces today. I hope that the story helps readers from around the world question not only their beliefs but also imagine humanity’s fate (although the book’s one might sound too far-fetched) if we don’t take care of our current world. With Covid, I think many of us have are able to see fiction as a potential happening.
4) What drew you into this particular genre?
As a voracious reader, I read almost anything and I read in all genres. But fantasy and science fiction have a special place in my heart. However, reading fantasy and science fiction is not for everybody. Good fantasy and science fiction invest a lot in world-building. If you read Tolkien, Asimov, Hubert, and others in these genres, you come to see these writers have invested quite a deal in describing the backgrounds and characteristics of their worlds. When I started writing as an adult, I knew I had some great stories in mind in these genres, but I didn’t think I was good enough to write them. I thought that writing a contemporary story was going to be easier for me as an aspiring writer. After all, I’m still a good reader of thrillers by John Grisham, Lee Child, and others. Therefore I began with a technological thriller about five years ago.
But after some time, I understood that it doesn’t work that way. Writing a thriller is also hard. You have to make sure to research well your location. Since it is a real location, you have to really know about it. You have to make sure your characters talk and feel like they are people from a specific location. It actually became tougher than I thought.
Therefore, I came to the conclusion that for me specifically, imagining the whole location, and better yet imagining the whole world made sense. I have a very good imagination after all.
I’m definitely happy now writing fantasy. I want to explore science fiction but that is for later. I believe these two genres are very important nowadays. Through them, we can imagine certain worlds that don’t exist yet but might exist in the future. Whenever I think of our current world’s inventors and all advances in technology, I’d like to imagine they got some of their ideas of fictions stories they read or saw on film.
5) If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?
This is a tough question. The Last Families narrates the story from several POVs. Some characters like Yarisha, Palista, Malakay, Palista, and Marquesh are more visible than others. Yarisha might take the lead as the main character but I love Malakay. I love making imperfect characters. I like that Malakay is cocky and arrogant. I like how he is feisty and looking to snap at everybody’s comments. In some ways, he feels like the grown-up version of a spoiled brat. Yet he can change. All people change. If could sit down with him, I would probably ask him why he’s taken his mother’s teachings so high. Does he really think his family is superior to everybody else? I guess that as the character’s creator I know the answers. But Malakay is Malakay, and I could actually expect him snapping at me and replying something I wouldn’t expect.
6) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?
I’m still developing my readership but I would say Facebook and Instagram. These two social networks are mostly connecting me with people that I already know, so it is a bit hard to get to other people out there. I started a Bookstagram only one month ago. I wished I had done it sooner. That bookstagram (currently in Spanish but working on getting the English version) has connected me to people outside of my social circle. I’m still growing it but so far it looks like the most promising one.
7) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?
Make sure to have people looking at your writing as soon as you can. As starting authors, we terribly self-doubt ourselves – the infamous impostor’s syndrome. We feel too ashamed to show our writing to others. We are afraid somebody will say “you should work on your writing” “or the story is really poor”. With The Last Families, I had some people take a look at my story, and of course, somebody helped me edit it, but I wished I had had more beta readers. Sometimes we focus too much on getting help with editing that we forget it is also important to have somebody looking at your story from a developmental point of view. We need somebody who will point out plot holes and tell us that a specific scene or dialogue doesn’t make sense, or that a character feels too flat. Also, those beta readers then become a point of contact when you are about to launch your book “your launch team.”
8) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?
While I waited for some people to revise The Last Families manuscript, I started another story. So yes, there is already another story halfway. It is a dystopian story. This time there is not too much fantasy in it, but still a post-apocalyptic turn of events based a bit on our current pandemic. It is located in Bolivia (where I live). I’m pretty sure that people will love the characters. I’m having fun writing them. Of course, it has no title. Coming up with a title was the most difficult thing for The Last Families, so this new manuscript will probably receive its title at the very end of its cycle.
About the Author
Carla Doria was born in Cochabamba, Bolivia where she currently resides. Graduated as an Industrial Engineer, she decided to acknowledge her lost love from childhood: writing. She spends her time working, blogging, writing, traveling, doing yoga, biking, running, and enjoying the good life in the city valley of Cochabamba.
Social media and websites
The Last Families’ website: https://thelastfamilies.com/
My personal author blog: https://carladoria.com/