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From Tabachín Trees to Written Dreams: An Interview with Sharon Steeber, author of But Do You Love Me With Locura?

Steeber

Little did I know where enrolling in a Spanish course back in high school would lead. Years later, I went on to raise my children between central Mexico and California. I still divide my time between the two countries. Now retired, I taught college English and co-authored a series of textbooks, Reading Faster and Understanding More. I’ve also published a family saga, The Jews, and magazine and newspaper advice articles for teenagers (before I had any!). More recently, I’ve been writing short plays and have had a number of them produced.

You can buy But Do You Love Me With Locura? here.

Are you a writer, too? Submit your manuscript to Atmosphere Press.


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

Here’s what the title means: You say you love me, but do you love me with “Locura”? With wild, passionate love, including maybe a touch of madness? That’s something my husband used to say in a teasing tone. The word “locura” is related to the word “loco”—crazy. One day early in the writing process, the sentence popped in my head, and I felt it fit. It applies not just to the love story in the novel but to the other relationships and to one’s career.

How did it feel when you first saw your book cover? Or when you first held your book in your hands?

I love the vibrant tabachín flower on the cover. A friend in Mexico painted it, and the art department at Atmosphere Press worked their magic to make the most of that image. The city of Cuernavaca, often called the City of Eternal Spring, is the setting in Mexico where the story opens. Cuernavaca abounds with those flashy and gorgeous tabachín trees. Here we sometimes refer to them as flame trees or poinciana. I am touched and grateful to the hands that brought that stunning cover into being.

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

Being a reader and having parents who were readers is what made me want to write. I loved to read from a young age. I don’t know if this is what made me want to write, but when I was six years old, I was told the lady who lived across the street and a few doors down from us wrote books for children. I was entranced. I never met her, but I was fascinated by the idea that there was someone in our seemingly ordinary neighborhood who created enchanting worlds for children. I have thought of her often over the years. I’m still just as curious about her as I was then.

What was the most rewarding/meaningful part of publishing your book?

This book was a long time coming. I actually started it in the 90s, then put it away for a number of years, then picked it up and put it down multiple times over many more years. Finally, during lockdown in the pandemic, I knew I had run out of excuses for why I was too busy to finish it. I just had to finish it to be able to live with myself. It was a “now or never” realization. I’m relieved and happy and proud that it’s finally done, that I chose the “now” door instead of the “never.”

If your book had a soundtrack, what are some songs that would be on it?

Most of the music would be Latin, from irresistible dance music to wonderfully sentimental ballads. During a romantic scene in the story, Juan Ramón puts on the cassette player (remember, it’s 1985!) a song called Un Cariño Nuevo, which means “A New Love.” They lyrics are beautiful and poetic, and they would definitely be heard at certain key points in the story.

What new writing projects are you currently working on? Or, other projects that are not writing?

I have another short play in the works and have started another novel. I pray that this one doesn’t show signs of taking as long to finish as the last one!


You can buy But Do You Love Me With Locura? here.

Are you a writer, too? Submit your manuscript to Atmosphere Press.

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