We had the good fortune of connecting with Karina Flores, MFA and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Karina, how has your background shaped the person you are today?
I am native to the Rio Grande Valley, more specifically McAllen, Texas— a town located along the border of Mexico. My upbringing was enriched with Mexican culture. Being Mexican myself, I understand the importance of storytelling. From the classic folklore to familial histories passed down through generations, these stories helped to shape my identity and worldview. As such, I feel that I translate that into my writing. Many of the characters in my current WIP (work in progress) are Latin@, for a couple of reasons: I feel that is important to represent my culture in my works— these characters are an extension of who I am. And I want to show that these characters can exist and thrive well within the current body of literature that’s out there. Along with storytelling, growing up in the Valley instilled in me the value of keeping a tight-knit community. And that is something that I’ve found through writing, a community. It is so refreshing to see that Houston has a wealth of writing groups that are eager to welcome new up-and-coming writers/authors. I maintain my relationships with my Valley writers and continue to build my network here in Houston.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I am currently writing a young adult novel that focuses on the adolescent LGBTQ community and how a community at large responds to these youths. The working title is “Toget(her).” My idea focuses on telling the story of two young girls discovering their sexuality in a repressive, highly religious Latin@ society— touching on topics such as societal pressures, familial issues and how young adults are affected by those imposed expectations. What I hope to do by writing my novel is contribute to the YA literature world through a LGBTQ Latin@ lens. I feel that there aren’t enough stories told for LGBTQ youth— and it is important to write characters such as the ones that I’m writing to help guide young adults come into their own sexuality and individuality. I also want to show that themes of love and coming of age are universal, and stories like the one I’m writing can help to exemplify that point.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
On my website, I wrote a short piece entitled, “ABANDONED HOLY PLACE: What Houston’s Chong Hua Sheng Mu Holy Place Tells Us About the Immigration Story” In it I talk about Chong Hua Sheng Mu Holy Place, and while it may not be a traditional sight to see in Houston— I think its story alone warrants a visit. Check out my piece to learn more about it. For more sights, you should check out the Orange Show and Smither Park, right next to each other. Would also recommend checking out BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir (a Hindu temple).
Food: Govinda’s, Indian vegetarian/vegan that’s some of the best food I’ve had.
Coffee Shops: There’s an eccentric biker-themed coffee shop that you should check out called Wolfsmiths Coffee. Motorcycles and coffee, what more could you ask for?

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would not be where I am if it were not for the mentorship and guidance from my former professor, Dr. Christopher Carmona. His time, encouragement, and dedication to his students (including myself) is so very rare and must be protected at all costs. He has been such an important figure in my writing career, and I could only hope to be that for someone one day. I also need to thank Dr. David Bowles who has also been a wonderful mentor in my writing. Do yourself a favor and check out their works, they are both brilliant authors.

I also want to take this time to recognize the Houston Independent Authors group, their time and dedication to the writing community does not go unnoticed— they put in so much hard work and effort to teach the Houston writing community about topics that range from building your platform, how to get published, and even delving into the craft itself. They’re an amazing group and if you’re a writer in Houston, you need to check them out.
Also want to give a shoutout to Writespace, they offer immersive workshops that I’ve had the pleasure of participating in, I’m excited to see them start back up again!

Website: https://theearthboundmisfit.home.blog/

Instagram: the_earthboundmisfit

Linkedin: Karina Flores

Twitter: @the_earthbound

Facebook: Karina Flores

Youtube: The EarthBound Misfit

Image Credits
First Image: Mizzael Avila Comic Panel: Nico Rodriguez Final Image: Karen Antonacci

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