Author spotlight: Laurie Vázquez

By Hyenas in Petticoats Press - December 8, 2020
Author spotlight: Laurie Vázquez
This week's anthology contributor is playwright, screenwriter, and author Laurie Vázquez, who answers questions about her story, "Sister Gun," in THE STORIES OF SHE. 
What inspired you to write this story?
My little brother’s kidneys failed just after he graduated college, and learning to navigate the medical system on his behalf as his advocate was infuriating. Especially since I lived out of state and in a neighborhood with high crime and shitty healthcare services. I wrote this story to shed light on that struggle, and offer encouragement to those who are going through it or have gone through it.
What inspired the names of the characters in the story?
Nida Santiago was named to be an every woman: Santiago is one of the most common Puerto Rican surnames, and “Anita” is an incredibly common first name for girls, but for Latina moms with thick accents, it often sounds like “Nida.” James Ortiz was named for some jerky kids on the block behind mine. Benny is named for my uncle.
How did you come up with the title?
A friend suggested it and I loved it. Thanks, Robert!
What do you hope readers will connect with in your story?
I hope they will connect with Nida's desperate journey to save her family. 
Have you written any other books or scripts, published or unpublished?
I’m writing a paranormal YA novel at the moment, which I’m very excited about. I’ve also written 5 film scripts, 8 ½ hour TV specs, and 2 hour TV specs on spec, and a whole bunch of radio plays.
If your story had a candle, what scent would it be?
Smoky gunpowder residue. 
Is there a writer whose brain you’d love to pick for advice? Who and why?
Dianna Wynne Jones (if I could go back in time) because she was so good at fleshing out a world, characters, and moving a story forward at the same time. Her worlds were so imaginative and deep. 
Fun facts/behind the scenes: 
I lived in one of NYC’s most dangerous neighborhoods for 8 years. I felt like an outsider in the beginning -- even though my family had lived there for decades -- but once I started getting to know my neighbors and working with neighborhood organizations, I was accepted. It gave me such a deep understanding of the depth and impact of community, and I will forever be grateful for it.

LAURIE VÁZQUEZ - is a published author, playwright, and screenwriter based in New York City, where she studied dramatic writing at NYU Tisch School of the Arts. In addition to writing screenplays, Laurie says she likes figuring out how things work and explaining it in plain English. She has written a variety of scientific articles for such publications as Popular Science Magazine, Big Think, and the Stevens Institute of Technology. Her story, Sister Gun, is adapted from the screenplay of the same title. It reflects her awareness of the currents moving beneath the surface of New York City and the motives of the young people there.