Like Naomi, your background is a mix of different cultures. As a child were you exposed to each of them? Does each culture hold a favorite connection?
Culturally, I was primarily exposed to the Mexican side of my family because they lived the closest so I saw many of them on a daily basis. I saw my Oklahoman grandmother almost every Saturday. My most immediate connections to these cultures are to food like enchiladas, red mole, rice and beans. Or chicken, corn bread, smothered greens and peach cobblers.
Your characters are all so distinct, so one-of-a-kind. Do their traits sprout from your imagination or are they drawn from people you know?
Ideas for a book or fictional characters are similar to a confluence of rivers. The thoughts stream in from various paths and the final idea is the roiling water in the middle of my mind. I loved to make lists when I was a young girl and hang out at the library so those were trait with which I was familiar and they lent themselves to Naomi’s personality. Naomi evolved from personal knowledge and imagination. The same was true of Owen. Over the years, I have known many boys who had traits similar to Owen but no one who had all of his characteristics. I did know a boy who had to have tape on his shirt each day. Another who was diagnosed as a F.L.K. Someone else had similar physical challenges yet an optimistic attitude like Owen. Then, there are a few similarities between Gram and my Oklahoman grandmother. For instance, many of the sayings came from my grandmother and she was a tiny woman, but Gram is much more contemporary and feisty than my grandmother. All the characters are composites, who evolved from many facets, real and imaginary.