Erika L. Sánchez: “I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter”

The A.P.E.X. event season kicked off with a visit from poet, novelist and author Erika L. Sánchez on Sept. 12. Sánchez discussed what started her journey as a writer and her debut young adult novel, “I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter.”

Sánchez discussed the reasons behind writing this novel. YA fiction is not readily recognized by many as a respectable genre, and most universities avoid it entirely when teaching English. 

“It was important for me to write a book that transcended, that everybody could enjoy,” she said. “But what was most important to me was that it reached young people.” 

Representation is important in her novels, as she never felt as though people like her were accurately depicted or even discussed at all. She decided to write a character that she would have identified with as a young girl.

“I never had books like this when I was growing up,” said Sánchez. “I never had a book about a feisty, difficult, 15-year-old brown girl. I felt that I needed to write the book that I needed at that time.”

When asked about what began her love for writing, Sánchez credits Edgar Allen Poe. The lyricism behind his work as well as his depictions of solitude resonated with her, inspiring her to become a poet and portray the things she had felt as an “introverted kid.” 

Before ending her interview, she closed by urging others to seek community. 

“It’s alright if you can’t get through it alone; no one can,” she said. “We are all interconnected. There are people who love you. Reach out to your friends and family.”

The next A.P.E.X. speaker will be Al Farrow, a sculptor whose art is currently on exhibit at SUMA. This exclusive event will feature his experiences behind-the-scenes of his exhibit. For more information on upcoming events, visit the A.P.E.X. website.

Story and Photos by: Alex Greenwell