Heart is what drives us and determines our fate. That is what I need for my characters in my books: a passionate heart. I need mavericks, dissidents, adventurers, outsiders and rebels, who ask questions, bend the rules and take risks.
Giving women education, work, the ability to control their own income, inherit and own property, benefits the society. If a woman is empowered, her children and her family will be better off. If families prosper, the village prospers, and eventually so does the whole country.
So firm did Nivea's determination become that she wrote in her diary that she would give up marriage in order to devote herself completely to the struggle for women's suffrage. She was not aware that such a sacrifice would not be necessary, and that she would marry a man for love who would back her up in her political goals.
I write, she wrote, that memory is fragile and the space of a single life is brief, passing so quickly that we never get a chance to see the relationship between events; we cannot gauge the consequences of our acts, and we believe in the fiction of past, present, and future, but it may also be true that everything happens simultaneously..
All summer, I read fiction because you must read for the pleasure and beauty of it, and not only for research. I don't read thrillers, romance or mystery, and I don't read self-help books because I don't believe in shortcuts and loopholes.
Catholics form a majority in Chile, although there are more and more Evangelicals and Pentacostals who irritate everyone because they have a direct understanding with God while everyone else must pass through the priestly bureaucracy.
Two-thirds of those evacuated at that time had been born in the United States and were American citizens. Standing in long lines, the Japanese had to wait for hours in front of the desks of the officials, who took down their names and handed out labels for them to wear around their necks with their identity number, the same as for their luggage.
The pain of losing my child was a cleansing experience. I had to throw overboard all excess baggage and keep only what is essential. Because of Paula, I don't cling to anything anymore. Now I like to give much more than to receive.
I never try to give a message in my books. It's about living with characters long enough to hear their voices and let them tell me the story. Sometimes I would love to have a happy ending, and it doesn't happen because the character or the story leads me in another direction.
Give, give, give - what is the point of having experience, knowledge or talent if I don't give it away? Of having stories if I don't tell them to others? Of having wealth if I don't share it? I don't intend to be cremated with any of it! It is in giving that I connect with others, with the world and with the divine.
From journalism I learned to write under pressure, to work with deadlines, to have limited space and time, to conduct and interview, to find information, to research, and above all, to use language as efficiently as possible and to remember always that there is a reader out there.
Every life of a character is within a context. If I write detached from a social and political background, my story looks like a soap opera where everybody is indoors, not working and living off their emotions.
Full belly, happy heart, was the favorite saying of Padre Mendoza, who had been obsessed with good nutrition ever since he'd heard of sailors suffering from scurvy when a lemon could have prevented their agony.
Feminism is dated? Yes, for privileged women like my daughter and all of us here today, but not for most of our sisters in the rest of the world who are still forced into premature marriage, prostitution, forced labor - they have children that they don't want or they cannot feed.
I tried and tried to sleep, lulled by the movement, the purring of the motor, and the snores of the other passengers, but it's never been easy for me to sleep, and much less now, when I still have residues of the wild life running through my veins.
Reading is like looking through several windows which open to an infinite landscape....For me life without reading would be like being in prison, it would be as if my spirit were in a straightjacket; life would be a very dark and narrow place.
I can't control life for my grandchildren, so how could I control a story? Sometimes I try to force something, and after working and working on that chapter, I realise that I am swimming against the current. I will never get there. So I have to let go of whatever previous idea I had about it and let the characters decide.