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An Interview with Rey De La Garza, author of The Oracle: Foundation

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Rey De La Garza is a writer and spiritual advisor. Her debut novel The Oracle: Foundation was a love letter to her inner child. After being a daughter, friend, employee, wife, and mother she has embarked on a journey to release fulfilling roles and performances in other’s lives and learning how to live for herself. She is building a life she wants and enjoys. Sometimes it is unclear what that looks like or where it will take her, but she knows writing inspiring stories is a staple on this journey.

Who/what made you want to write? Was there a particular person, or particular writers/works/art forms that influenced you?

I’d have to say Maya Angelou. In high school I read her book, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, and then as an adult I read The Heart of a Woman and Mom Me & Mom. Each book gives a perspective shift into her life. As she gets older she starts to see there are nuances to life and love. Her writing connected with the human experience so much for me. How she weaved humanity into her storytelling inspired me to expect more out of life and want to inspire others as well.

What inspired you to start writing this book?

I am a biracial Latiné writer but also I am a spiritual advisor. I help people heal generational curses and ground in self. I wanted to write a book that showed the many layers of healing emotionally and how it opens up to ancestral connections and really is powerful. I wanted to write a book series that inspired healing but also getting back to indigenous practices. A book series that empowers the reader to fight colonialism and capitalism as well. I want to entertain my readers while inspiring them. Because those were always my favorite books to read and movies to watch.

Tell us the story of your book’s title. Was it easy to find, or did it take forever?

The title had some transformations definitely. I knew it was The Oracle series but originally I was just going to subtitle them Book 1, Book 2, and Book 3. I think back and realize those were placeholders. Once I sent the book out to ARC readers I realized Book 1 was really about laying a foundation of the characters, plot, and setting. I eventually changed it to The Oracle: Foundation and the second book of the series will be The Oracle: Bloodlines.

What other professions have you worked in? What’s something about you that your readers wouldn’t know?

I was a paralegal for many years in Chicago and ran law firms for attorneys. I also dabbled in Nonprofit Outreach. I am a single mom of five children (four now adults) and raised them in Chicago. My top three favorite foods are pizza, arroz con gandules (as you’ll see in the book) and there is a tie between tamales and amarillos (maduros).

What books did you read (for research or comfort) throughout your writing process?

I read so many books and articles on historical events, as well as, on spiritual practices and lineage. Because my book series is magical realism/historical fiction I had to research people Lolita Lebron and Marie Laveau to weave them into the story. I needed to introduce the primordial beings from Puerto Rico, Mexico, Haiti, and Africa to the reader in a way that wasn’t too in-depth but enough to get them interested. I had to research the Maya people and Taino people and possible trade routes between them. I tried to make sure that each part of the book that wasn’t magical per se gave the possibility of being real to the reader in our current world. I wanted to build a world not the same as ours but definitely a mirror.

What is one thing you hope readers take away from reading your book? How do you envision your perfect reader?

I hope that readers walk away from my book wanting more, but also reflecting on their life journey and relating to some of the characters’ emotions. I hope that they go on to desire more information on the people and “Gods” referenced in the book. I’d say my perfect reader is someone who believes in the magic of healing but also in metaphysical things. Someone who seeks out stories that seem a little chaotic because life is often just that. Someone who reads The Oracle: Foundation and feels seen in its characters. Whether it be Deyanira the main character from the island of Puerto Rico, her hothead sister Maribel, Big Mama from the south side of Chicago, Lottie from NOLA or the Haitian seer that speaks to Papa Legba.

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