Recently, I got a chance to interview the awesome Coert Voorhees, author of The Brothers Torres! Check out my review of The Brothers Torres here! If you still haven't read The Brothers Torres yet, grab a copy some time! It's a fantastic and honest coming-of-age novel about Frankie Towers, younger brother to local soccer star, Steve, as he steps out of his brother's shadow!
1) Where did you get the inspiration for The Brothers Torres?
I wrote a short story a while back in which two kids play with fireworks in the back yard, and because it was a short story, I had to end it. Unfortunately, it ended poorly for the characters, and they were no longer friends at the end. A few years later, I picked the story up again and decided that I didn’t like the fact that the characters weren’t friends. So I imagined a world in which that ending never happened. What if they stayed best friends up through high school? What would their world be like? How would they have changed? And The Brothers Torres pretty much came from that starting point. There’s still a bit of that original short story in chapter two of the book, actually.
2) Were any characters based on any one you knew? Any part of the book on events that happened in your own life?
Most of the “true” things in the book are related to the setting, or to descriptions of people, of the food, etc. I went to soccer camp once with a kid who had only one eye, though. He used to take it out all the time, put it in people’s soup, wash it off in his mouth. That’s where Zach’s eye tricks came from.
3) Will there be a sequel to The Brothers Torres?
That’s a good question. I’ve always thought it would be fun to write a sequel, but tell it from Zach’s point of view. That way we could learn more about him at the same time that we pick up on the next part of Frankie’s story.
4) Do you have a favorite New Mexican dish? (Is it the same as Frankie’s, by any chance?)
Indeed, Frankie and I share a weakness for the stuffed sopaipilla. I’ve actually gotten pretty good at making them, although I don’t have a deep fryer with a temperature gauge, so my sopaipillas aren’t as light and fluffy as I’d like.
5) Favorite Shakespeare play?
I’m a big fan of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. I played Oberon in college—shaved my head, wore leather, had tattoos drawn all over me, and decorated my head and face with 22 different piercings—so I’m partial to that one.
6) Do you have a favorite place to write? Favorite place to read?
I generally alternate between my house, a bubble tea place, and a coffee shop. When I find myself getting too comfortable in any of those places, I know it’s time for a change.
7) Do you listen to music while writing?
I listen to music, but I can’t just listen to any music. Generally, I listen to house or electronica concerts/podcasts I’ve downloaded. They’re two hours long, have few words to distract me, and have a continuous beat that keeps me going.
8) Favorite YA books & authors?
I like Pete Hautman’s Godless a whole lot. I just read E. Lockhart’s The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, which I enjoyed tremendously, and not just because the protagonist is named Frankie.
9) Favorite things/hobbies you like to do in your spare time?
I like to ski and scuba dive, but it’s been a while. I’m a fan of the Denver Broncos and the Universidad de Chile soccer team, but I’ll pretty much go to any live sporting event. I try to get on my bicycle for a long ride as often as possible.
10) Do you have a favorite word?
I like the word “Defenestrate,” both for how it sounds and for its meaning: to throw someone or something out of a window. In Spanish, I like the word “espectacular,” which tends to roll off the tongue.
11) Any advice for aspiring authors?
My only advice is this: if you write, you’re a writer. We tend to want validation from other people before we take ourselves seriously as writers, but if you’re serious about it, then it doesn’t matter what other people think. Put your butt in the seat, do your work, and have confidence in yourself.
12) Is there any specific question you would have liked to answer?
Nope. Thanks a lot!
A few This or That questions just for fun!
Cooking or eating out?
Cooking, mostly. At least I try.
Coffee or tea?
Decaf or Half-caf coffee.
Movies or TV?
Definitely used to me movies, but since my son arrived, it’s TV shows on DVD.
Hot dog or hamburger?
Burger, for sure, preferably from my wife’s restaurant, Becks Prime
Coke or Pepsi?
Vanilla or chocolate?
Vanilla ice cream. Chocolate pudding.
Cake or pie?
Yellow cake with chocolate frosting.
Ice cream or sherbet?
Rainbow sherbet whenever possible. My wife makes fun, but I love it.
City or country?
City close to mountains. Otherwise, country.
Winter, Spring, Fall, or Summer?
My thanks to Coert for a great interview! Now I definitely have to try a stuffed sopaipilla!
Keep you eyes open for a Brothers Torres-related contest soon!
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