Born in Michigan, award-winning fantasy author Dora Machado grew up in the Dominican Republic in a family who very much nurtured her creativity and love of books. Her father had a library that he gladly shared with her and her mother was a born storyteller. Whenever they’d take long car trips, she would tell Dora stories about the family and books she had read. “She had a huge imagination and preference for exaggeration, and would always add her very own special touches,” says the author.
A voracious, sophisticated reader as a teen, Dora’s favorite books back then were written by names such as Gabriel Garcia Marques, Mario Vargas Llosas, Isabel Allende, Julia Alvarez, Dostoyevsky, and Hemingway. She pretty much read everything that fell into her hands.
“I think I’ve always been a writer in my mind, but I also have a very practical streak,” states Dora. “The idea of being a starving artist was terrifying, especially because I married young and had little ones right away. So I decided I was going to do it backwards. I was going to raise my family first and then, once my family’s needs were met, I would devote my time to writing.”
And she did.
These days, she’s a fulltime writer with multiple award-winning fantasy novels to her name, including the Stonewiser trilogy and her latest, The Curse Giver, about an innocent healer who, betrayed and condemned to die for a crime she didn’t commit, must ally with the handsome lord pledged to kill her in order to defeat the vicious curse obliterating their lives and the curse giver who has already conjured their ends. The book, just released by Twilight Times Books this month, has already garnered rave reviews.
Dora creates her imaginary worlds in a study overlooking the Weeki Wachee River. “In my study, I keep some of my favorite novels, books and other materials that I reference often. I have a couple of computers on my desk, along with my trusty printer and my favorite writing chair. I’m surrounded by photos of my family and mementos both from my writing and travels.”
The Curse Giver‘s first draft took her about four months to write. Like many other writers, Dora tends to fixates on an idea, letting it simmer until it transforms into a specific concept, scene, or character. It is at this point that she takes notes, and possibly include a loose outline and perhaps a few scribbled paragraphs that wouldn’t make sense to anyone but her. Typically, she has a good idea of the beginning and the end of a story before she starts writing it. “I have a general idea of where the story needs to go,” says the author. “Writing is always a process of discovery for me, which might be one of the reasons why it’s so enjoyable to me.”
She considers her stronger points to be character development, plotting, and passion. Her weakest? Length. “I consistently write more words than I set out to write and I have a hard time compromising on cuts. My stories tend to be longer than I want them to be.”
Dora describes the publishing process rocky at the beginning. While she couldn’t find an agent or a publisher for her first novel, she was lucky to find homes for the Stonewiser series and The Curse Giver with traditional small presses.
What does she find most rewarding about being an author? “The process of writing, the fleshing out of stories, the meeting of characters, the plotting, the first draft, the teamwork necessary to get the novel ready, the continuous learning. But by and large, the readers are my biggest reward.”
Currently, Dora has several projects in the works, including The Misery Glutton, a first try at a contemporary, paranormal romance with a Latin twist. You can visit her and find out more about her work at www.DoraMachado.com.