Friday, November 16, 2012

NaNoWriMo Guest Post: Carmen Amato

Today's feature NaNoWriMoer is Carmen Amato.

You can visit her site here Author Carmen Amato.

Twitter handle: @CarmenConnects

Is this your first time participating in NaNoWriMo? If so, what made you take the plunge? If you're a vet, how do you feel about tackling it yet again this year?

This is my third NaNoWriMo. Each time I've written a draft of a mystery novel featuring Emilia Cruz, the first and only female detective on the Acapulco police force. The first Emilia cruz story, MADE IN ACAPULCO, is available now on Amazon (Amazon author page here) and the first full-length Emilia Cruz novel, CLIFF DIVER, will be out in early 2013. You can check out the Emilia Cruz page on my website:

I always start with an outline, usually written on sticky notes and stuck on the wall above my desk. This year I got more sophisticated and typed up the outline! I'll stick to the outline until I'm about halfway through, at which point I'll have had better ideas. It takes me 30 days to do a marginal 50k word draft and about a year to edit the manuscript into a real book because I always have more than one writing project going at a time.

What's your project about? 

This year's NaNoWriMo draft is the 3rd Emilia Cruz book, entitled SUN GOD.  A teen-aged assassin leads Emilia and her reluctant partner to a cult devoted to Santa Muerte, regarded in Mexico as the patron saint of death. The cult is the focus of a widening drug war in Acapulco between rival Mexican drug cartels and Emilia goes undercover to try and stop the violence. She doesn't believe in curses, but when the investigation grows more dangerous and her personal life starts to unravel, Emilia will find herself at Santa Muerte's mercy.

How are you approaching NaNo? Are you in the midst of a writing frenzy, or do you have a carefully thought-out plan?

Slow and steady gets the job done for me. I try to write 1500-2000 words a day. On Thursdays I have a morning write-in at a coffee shop with a friend who is also a NaNoWriMo participant and we over-caffeinate and cheer each other on!

Have you learned anything from this experience so far? Is there any advice you would like to share with other NaNoWriMoers?

Write an outline! Don't stop to edit! 

Here is an excerpt from Carmen's current NaNoWriMo project.

Silvio jerked his chin at Emilia in the direction of the door. She got out of her chair and followed him out of the squadroom. He didn’t speak as he led her down the hall past the holding cells. It was late and most of the uniforms were gone. The handful that remained were just starting the night shift and there was the usual joking and coffee drinking going on.

Silvio pushed open the door to the impound parking lot. Emilia folded her arms when he stopped by the side of the building. “We gotta have the same story when they start asking questions,” he said.

Emilia shrugged. “He was wasted. Prade’s probably going to find enough drugs in his body to kill an elephant.”

“He didn’t have a scratch on him,” Silvio said. “Never bled. Nothing.”

“So what do you want me to say?”

“Maybe I’m just checking to make sure you aren’t going to throw me under the bus.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“People do that around here,” Silvio said.

Emilia drew herself up. “That’s the kind of shit you’d pull on me, isn’t it?” she demanded. “You’d love it if the situation was reversed and you could get me in some sort of trouble. We might have to be partners for a while--.” Silvio opened his mouth to say something but Emilia barreled on. “But you still can’t stomach the idea of a woman detective. The squadroom’s just for the boys.”

“Are you with me on this today or not, Cruz?”

“So today you need me,” Emilia was almost so mad she couldn’t speak. “Treat me like dirt every other day but now I’m useful. Well, too bad. You should have thought about that before you decided to be a pendejo.”

She swung around to leave and Silvio caught her by the arm.

“Let go,” Emilia said. “Or I’ll take you on just like I did with Castro and Gomez.” She’d had violent run-ins with both of the two most raucous detectives and had come out bloody but victorious both times. Silvio was bigger and smarter than either Castro or Gomez, however.

“Don’t put me in the same category with either of those two.” Silvio dropped her arm.

“Don’t give me a reason to,” Emilia flashed back.

They glared at each other, both breathing heavily.

“I didn’t kill that kid” Silvio said finally.

“I never said you did.” Emilia folded her arms again and shivered. The sun was just starting to go down on the other side of the wall surrounding the impound yard, sending streaks of faint pink light over the rows of parked cars. The nicer vehicles almost certainly had been linked to the drug trade and were unlikely to ever be claimed by their owners. Emilia drove a white Suburban that had been seized that way. The owners had been a couple of money launderers named Hudson from Arizona. She probably wasn’t ever going to have to worry about giving the car back.

“So what are you going to say when they ask you?”

“The kid was on a drug high and fighting hard,” Emilia said. “Hit his head while resisting arrest. Never denied he killed the junkie either, but was walking around with a pack full of evidence linking him to the murder.”


It wasn’t an outright lie, Emilia reflected as she went back inside. It just wasn’t a detailed explanation.

Thanks for participating, Carmen!

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