Born and raised in Arizona, SONORA REYES is the author of the forthcoming contemporary young adult novel THE LESBIANA’S GUIDE TO CATHOLIC SCHOOL. They write fiction full of queer and Latinx characters in a variety of genres, with current projects in both kidlit and adult categories. Sonora is also the creator and host of the Twitter chat #QPOCChat, a monthly community-building chat for queer writers of color.”

Sonora is one of the speakers for our YA Symposium, The Young and the Reckless: Writing for Teens. 




Q1: Since your workshop discusses the writing process and how there are a multitude of ways to approach it as a writer, what are some ways you set the mood for your own writing process? Alternatively, do you have any pre-writing rituals that you like to do?

I write best when I have other people around me to body double and get things done together, so my favorite place to write is my local coffee shop! I always start off my writing sessions by talking with whoever is writing with me about what we’re working on. Talking about what I’m about to do before I do it helps me get excited about the words I’m about to put to the page!


Q2: What do you need in your writing space to help you stay focused?

I need a writing buddy! Whether that’s a friend over Zoom, someone in person to write with, or even just going to a coffee shop where other people are studying or writing or being otherwise productive, it helps to have that accountability.


Q3: Being raised in Arizona, how has your experience living in a politically red leaning state shaped your writing for The Lesbian’s Guide to Catholic School? 

I think a lot of my Arizona upbringing has helped shape this book. Many of my own experiences bled onto the pages, like the racism and homophobia Yami faces at her mostly white Catholic school. On the other hand, I also included a lot of the support and community that you find in unexpected places.


Q4: What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to the writers attending the symposium?

Take care of yourself while you’re working on your goals. Don’t forget self-care! Make sure you drink enough water and remember to eat while you’re writing. Take care of yourself after emotionally charged scenes, and let yourself wind down after a tough writing session. Reward yourself, and be proud of what you’ve accomplished!


Sonora’s lecture for the symposium is titled: Is It Really Possible to Write a Novel In Thirty Days?               

Every writer’s process is different, but learning about how different writers approach their projects can encourage you to try new techniques, adapt your own process, or inspire you to shift your gears. This workshop explores a 30-day model for novel writing based on powerful planning activities that support the writing the first draft.

Click here to register for the YA Symposium 

Learn more about Sonora Reyes

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