Liz DeJesus was born on the tiny island of Puerto Rico. She is a novelist and a poet. She has been writing for as long as she was capable of holding a pen. She is the author of the novel Nina (Blu Phi’er Publishing, October 2007), The Jackets (Arte Publico Press, March 31, 2011) and First Frost (Musa Publishing, June 22, 2012). Liz is currently working on a new novel.
Where does your passion for writing come from?
As a child, I didn’t have any way to express myself until I discovered that I could put my thoughts on pen and paper. God, I was always blushing or stuttering…so embarrassing. Once I discovered how liberating it could be to share my thoughts, I discovered a fountain of imagination. Stories that needed to be told, poems to be written, adventures to go on, characters to meet, places to go…I felt free…unstoppable.
If your passion for writing was a color, what color would it be and why?
Indigo. I think that’s the color of imagination.
How do you keep the passion burning in your relationship with storytelling?
I make sure I always have a pen and notebook close by. I even have a small notebook in my purse in case I get a good idea for a story. I love writing. It’s something that is essentially a part of me. I can write while raising two very rambunctious boys, so that should tell you how much I love my craft. I’m pretty sure that if I didn’t write something every day I would be the saddest human being alive. It’s like fuel for my soul. I love every aspect of the writing process. Discovering the idea. Meeting my characters. Helping them through their journey. Learning about them and myself in the process. The climax. The conclusion. The madness! Everything! I love it!
Gathered within museum’s walls is a collection dedicated to the Grimm fairy tales and to the rare items the family has acquired: Cinderella’s glass slipper, Snow White’s poisoned apple, the evil queen’s magic mirror, Sleeping Beauty’s enchanted spinning wheel…
Seventeen-year-old Bianca Frost wants none of it, dreaming instead of a career in art or photography or…well, anything except working in the family’s museum. She knows the items in the glass display cases are fakes because, of course, magic doesn’t really exist.
She’s about to find out how wrong she is.
Excerpt from First Frost
Bianca got out of her car and ran inside the house. She called for her mother as she searched for her upstairs in all of the rooms. Nothing. She quickly ran downstairs and was ready to go down to the basement when a strange turquoise light caught her eye. She looked out the kitchen window; she couldn’t believe what she saw. Her mother was throwing what Bianca could only describe as balls of turquoise fireballs at a woman wearing a black hood. Bianca couldn’t see the woman’s face, but she could see her pale hands and slender fingers.
Bianca tried to make sense of it all. She kept expecting to see a special effects crew to come out from behind the trees and tell her that it was all part of an elaborate prank. But no such thing happened. All she knew was that a strange turquoise flame was coming out of her mother’s hands.
She knew that her mother sometimes read old dusty books on witchcraft, but she didn’t know she had actual powers. She thought about all the little quirks her mother had. Things that Bianca thought were essentially Rose. Her mother talked to plants and trees. She would sometimes stare off into space as though she were looking at something in another world. Something only she could see. She read tarot cards to random people and would tell them things about his or her life as though she were reading an open book. Bianca always thought she just made really lucky guesses. She chose not to believe in this other world and everything it stood for. Magic represented a life out of the norm, and Bianca desperately wanted to be normal. Just like everyone else.
Bianca pulled herself out of her thoughts. As she looked at the blue and green flashes in the backyard, she quickly realized that this was something she couldn’t escape. Normal was no longer a part of her world. Normal was no longer an option for her.
Bianca didn’t know what to do. She was frozen in place. She was afraid to distract her mother for even a second. She ducked behind the screen door; at least this way she could still hear what they were saying to each other.
“Did you really think I wouldn’t come?” the witch shouted.
“Oh, I knew you’d be back,” Rose replied.
Bianca slowly lifted her gaze and peeked above the screen. She saw her mother standing behind the shed on the left side of their backyard. The witch was still too far away for her to get a good look at her, but Bianca could tell that she was on the far right corner of their yard.
“Where’s the book?” the witch demanded.
“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” Rose replied with a smirk.
“Don’t be coy with me. You know very well what I’m talking about.”
“Sorry. I can’t help you.” Rose’s breathing was becoming more labored and she was drenched in sweat…obvious signs of exhaustion, but Bianca could tell by the look on her mother’s face that she wouldn’t give up.
“The wards in the museum are impressive. I couldn’t get past them. But maybe…she’ll know where the book is,” the witch said as she looked in Bianca’s direction and threw a sickly olive-colored fireball at the screen door.
Bianca shrieked and jumped out of the way. The screen door fell off its hinges and landed on the kitchen floor with a loud thud.
“Bianca!” Rose screamed.