Daniel Olivas, the author of Devil Talk, writes at California Authors.com about trying to make the transition to novelist while also finding time to be a father, husband and full-time litigator with the California Department of Justice. He had been happy writing short stories, and received some nice acclaim. Publishers kept asking, though: Don't you have a novel in you?
This was a bit maddening because, as all writers know, no one ever asks a novelist, “Don’t you have a short-story collection in you?” Never. Ever. But that’s fine. There are greater injustices in life.
In any event, since I like challenges, I tried to map out the kind of novel I would write. And this is when I started to go a bit crazy. Visions of writing the “Great American Novel” crept into my brain. Once that happened, the very idea of writing a novel seemed like an impossible—and not very fun—job. And then I conducted the Plascencia interview, which shook some sense into me. I suddenly realized that I would not write a novel unless it was fun. If I decided not to move to the longer form, that was fine. So I figured I’d take baby steps. If I were to write a novel, what would be about?
I’ve written about Chicanos of all ages and income levels who confront various challenges from unrequited love to battles with bigotry or economic hardship or you-name-it. I’ve also set stories in Mexico and I haven’t been afraid to dip heavily into magical realism especially in my collection, Devil Talk. And because I was raised as a Roman Catholic and converted to Judaism in adulthood, I’ve touched upon issues of intermarriage, religious tensions and even the Holocaust.