Episode 202: Crafting Powerful and Authentic Characters — Interview with NoNieqa Ramos

by Gabriela Pereira
published in Podcast

Today I am so excited to be speaking with NoNieqa Ramos on the show!

NoNieqa is an award-winning educator, literary activist, and writer of “intense” young adult literature. She is also a passionate supporter of the #weneeddiversebooks and #ownvoices movements.

Her debut novel The Disturbed Girl’s Dictionary has gotten stunning reception including a  Booklist starred review that called her “a voice to watch” with “exceptional writing and compassionate realism.”

NoNieqa is currently joining us live from the school where she teaches (and where her book is set). Listen in as we chat about her amazing debut and how to create strong characters that elicits an emotional response from readers.

Also, just a quick heads up, for the first time ever on DIY MFA Radio we have a teeny bit of explicit language towards the end of the interview. Due to the nature of the discussion I decided not to bleep anything out, but I wanted to let you know in case you have small children in the room or you, yourself, are not comfortable with explicit language.

Now let’s dive into the interview!

In this episode NoNieqa and I discuss:

  • Tips for getting inside your character’s mind.
  • Why you should make the reader work to piece the story together.
  • The art of writing a realistically flawed character.
  • Using language to show a character’s true voice without losing your reader.
  • The importance of knowing what you are not willing to surrender in your writing.

Plus, NoNieqa’s #1 tip for writers.

About NoNieqa Ramos

NoNieqa Ramos is an award-winning educator, literary activist, and writer of “intense” young adult literature, who plants seeds of mass creation in the minds of impressionable youngsters. She is a passionate supporter of the #weneeddiversebooks and #ownvoices movements.

She resides in Virginia with her soul mate Michael G. Richards, beloveds Margot and Lango Tango, lizard Athantas, nefarious guinea pigs Cookie Dough and Friskette, and two felines, Black Magic and Eartha Kitt.

Her debut novel, The Disturbed Girl’s Dictionary, was released by Carolrhoda Lab in February 2018, and her second novel, The Book of Love, will be released in fall 2019.

To connect with NoNieqa check out her website at nonieqaramos.com.

The Disturbed Girl’s Dictionary

Macy’s school officially classifies her as “disturbed,” but Macy isn’t interested in how others define her. She’s got more pressing problems: her mom can’t move off the couch, her dad’s in prison, her brother’s been kidnapped by Child Protective Services, and now her best friend isn’t speaking to her.

Writing in a dictionary format, Macy explains the world in her own terms—complete with gritty characters and outrageous endeavors. With an honesty that’s both hilarious and fearsome, slowly Macy reveals why she acts out, why she can’t tell her incarcerated father that her mom’s cheating on him, and why her best friend needs protection…

the kind of protection that involves Macy’s machete.

If you decide to check out the book, we hope you’ll do so via this Amazon affiliate link, where if you choose to purchase via the link DIY MFA gets a referral fee at no cost to you. As always, thank you for supporting DIY MFA!

(Right-click to download.)

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Until next week, keep writing and keep being awesome!

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