Each week this summer, we will be showcasing our authors to give a more in depth background and insight into their minds and their work. This week, we focus on A.B. Lugo, whose Spanish Coffee: Black, No Sugar, was released on May 9, 2017. It can be purchased here, here, and here.
" In 2015, A.B. Lugo, award winning actor and playwright, suffered through the deaths of his parents only months apart. To cope with his grief, he dedicated himself to writing a poem for each week of 2016. Little did he know he would be chronicling an historic year, one of social strife and tragedy that would culminate in the election of a man whose movement brings new awareness and fear to A.B. as an Afro-Puerto Rican. Spanish Coffee: Black, No Sugar, much like its title, is a bitter experience, as life can be, but also one that gives us the energy and power to make it through each day. More worn, for sure, but also stronger, and hopefully, wiser. A collection of poems influenced by history and inspired by the depths of the soul, Spanish Coffee: Black, No Sugar is as unforgettable as the year it chronicles."
1. Could you explain your style and approach to telling this story?
When it came to the poetry, I played with different styles, but kept them within a framework. I had to write about the week that was occurring or had just passed (sometimes I wrote a poem 1-2 days after the week had ended; most times, I wrote during and about the week that was occurring). I left myself open to style (free verse, haiku, spoken word/performance, acrostic), as long as I wrote about that particular week.
2. What ideas drove you to write your story and what do you hope readers take away from your book?
My parents died within eight and a half months of each other in the same calendar year. In the grief that ensued this book was born. I hope readers can guide themselves through the darkness of the grief to the light that is on the other side.
3. What character/section/story challenged you the most and why?
Celebrating the anniversaries of the birthdays and death days of my parents. It was challenging at first, to write about the topics, and then, honor the subjects in a truthful, objective way that also honored my feelings.
4. What is your literary philosophy?
Tell the truth, and if not, tell an exquisitely crafted lie.
5. What is your advice for young writers?
Experience life. Observe people. Don't ever be too safe when writing. If it scares you, write it (you can always edit it later). When writing, overwriting is better than underwriting. Don't forget that writing is rewriting. Writing is an art, but it is also a craft. Finally, you may need another pair of eyes to see your work objectively.