We had the good fortune of connecting with Christopher Soriano-Palma and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Christopher, we’d love for you to start things off by telling us something about your industry that we and others not in the industry might be unaware of?
Writing is a drafting process. Whenever someone picks up a book at the library or their local bookstore, what they are holding in their hands is the final product. What they don’t see are the struggles they had to go through to write that book. They don’t see the doubts they had, the changes they made for each draft, the number of drafts themselves, the countless rejections from agents and publishers before finding the one that says yes, and so on. There’s a lot that goes into one book alone, one screenplay alone. It’s not an easy process. It takes time and effort.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
If there are three things I’ve learned about being a writer, it is that it’s not easy, it takes time, and that one has to be kind to themself. As a writer, I am always excited about my next project. I consider myself primarily a novelist, though I also like to write screenplays, creative nonfiction, and poetry. (I cannot write short fiction to save my life, however). I chose to become a writer in 2010 after graduating from high school and earned an MFA in Writing in 2017. Since then, I have been working nonstop, managing to publish a few pieces in small publications, become a fiction editor for a literary magazine, and a contributor for another one. I’ve also been working on longer projects and am close to having a screenplay produced and am planning to solicit literary agents for my first novel soon. And yet, when I chose writing as my career, I did not expect it to take ten years to get where I am. I didn’t think it’d take seven years to finish one draft for my first book. I didn’t think I’d be working part-time in retail with a master’s degree, much less in Los Angeles. I didn’t even think I’d be interested in screenwriting. I thought a lot of things would be different. But everything takes time. It took a while for me to get to where I am. And though I’m not satisfied, I am grateful for the steps I have taken from where I started. I had to learn to be patient with myself and not rush the process. I don’t have to write every day. I am allowed to take my time.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Being the book nerd that I am, the first place I would love to show my friends if they would ever visit me in LA would be the bookstores. The Last Bookstore in downtown LA is particularly one of my favorites. It’s just so beautiful. There’s also the Illiad Bookstore, Book Soup, Other Books, BookMonster, and Skylight Books. There’s just too many of them. Otherwise, I would take them to several of the popular locales, including the Grove Farmers Market, the Glendale Americana, Burbank Town Center, Little Tokyo, Koreatown, the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the Santa Monica Pier, and so on. There are also some museums such as the Museum of Dream Space and the Foodie Place where you can go in and just take pictures with your friends. I’ve only ever been to one of those places, but it was surprisingly a lot of fun. I wouldn’t mind exploring more of them with some friends. There’s just so much to do here in Los Angeles. We would need more than a week to explore it all.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
As unoriginal as it may seem, I’d like to dedicate my shoutout to my close group of friends. I have not been the best human being. I have made a lot of mistakes and dealing with mental illness has made me a terrible friend by alienating myself from those I used to know. It’s hard to know when you are wanted, genuinely wanted, mostly because you can hate yourself so much that you don’t give yourself a chance to be wanted because you don’t believe you’re deserving of love. Yet despite all of that, there are people in my life who are willing to give me a chance. My friends have shown me that it’s possible to love myself, almost necessary. You are deserving of love, whether you like it or not. And I thank my friends every day of my life for showing me that. So here’s to you, my friends. I promise to make you proud.