Cristina worked with me from the very beginning of the Doc Harrison series and has been an invaluable help and source of encouragement!
Her contributions to the series are many, and she’s a wonderful writer herself who is generous with her time beyond compare. I’m so fortunate to call her my friend!
How did you become a reader and collaborator on the Doc Harrison books?
Peter approached me. I am a former student of his and we maintained contact through social media. I’ve always been a fan of sci-fi, fantasy, etc. Plus I enjoy great story-telling. I also have my own book series, so I have experience writing and collaborating. I guess when he decided to take on the Doc Harrison series he thought I was the right person to help along the way!
What draws you to these stories and characters?
Peter is creating his own world (or worlds, I should say!) with their own set of rules. These are places that are so real, you feel like you’re there. But beyond that, he is populating these worlds with unique and complex characters that you can’t help but have an emotional connection to their story.
I am a huge fan of games like Overwatch, World of Warcraft and films like Star Wars, etc. What stands out to me in these is how iconic the settings and characters are. You can create countless stories set in these universes. If you’re a fan of any of them or anything similar, you will love the Doc Harrison series.
Who are your favorite characters and why?
Definitely Tommy — badass Marine who has played the role of father figure for Doc his whole life. I don’t want to spoil anything so I will just name a few of my other favorites: Grandpa, Brave, Mama Grren, Rific, Joshua, Hedera, Keane, Blink, Val and I could go on.
“In the end you learn that a story is great when it touches your heart.”
Do you think reading and critiquing other writers’ work helps you become a better writer?
Absolutely. Writing has the reputation of being a solitary art form, but it’s anything but. The physical aspect of it–the typing–you do on your own–but you can only get better at writing through collaboration. It’s a team effort. Whether it’s having someone proofread your work or scouting for ideas and trying things out, writing is rarely a one person job. Ultimately it is your own story, but you can expand on ideas that someone might give you and just fly with it, maybe even discover things you otherwise would not have on your own.
Sometimes we’re afraid of sharing our unfinished work with others, for fear of being critiqued. But we as writers are harder on ourselves than anyone else! Others have an objective view of our work and can help us figure out if we are on the right path. Same way, reading and critiquing something that is not yours teaches you to look at a manuscript objectively. And it teaches you to appreciate an emotional connection to a story. Yes, spelling and grammar are important, but in the end you learn that a story is great when it touches your heart.
Cristina is originally from Isabela, Puerto Rico. She has a degree in English – Creative Writing and a degree in History from the University of Central Florida. She currently lives in Orlando. Her book series Rocky’s Place has sold in the U.S., Puerto Rico, Mexico and Spain. She released her second book ‘Bienvenidos a Rocky’s Place’ in May 2016.
She started writing at a young age. At ten she wrote a sequel to the movie Encino Man and she created her own magazine (one issue before the magazine folded) called United Youth. Or UY! (the Spanish version of EW!) Even back then she wanted to write books and also scripts. She collected scripts from Star Wars, the Wizard of Oz and shows like The Monkees and The Brady Bunch and more and learned how scripts had evolved through the ages. (She highly recommends reading as many movie or TV scripts as you can if you want to learn the craft.)
Nowadays Cristina continues writing also in collaboration with her mom María Chaves and her brother Cowboii Draven. Some of their future projects include Radio Sobrenatural (Supernatural Radio) and ¿Quién Mató a Pedro El Tuerto? (Who Killed One-Eyed Pete?) and Books 3, 4 & 5 of Rocky’s Place. Although she writes in both English and Spanish, Cristina and her family want to bring Spanish fiction to the mainstream. There is an alarming shortage of fun, enjoyable, iconic books and films in Spanish on the shelves and theaters. With 40 million Spanish speakers in the US alone, there are plenty of folks who desperately need art that represents them and entertains them.