Vizcaya is a special book for a number of reasons, but mostly because it was a book that was created out of the perfect conditions that every writer dreams about, but rarely ever finds in order to write a book. Every writer dreams about an imaginary world where three things exist for them so they can sit and write. Those three things are time, security, and inspiration.
Time and inspiration might be self-explanatory, but security is just as important. It’s tough to write when you’re worried about bills getting paid, losing your home, losing your job, or worrying about your health. Sure there’s the stereotype of the “tortured artist” writer, but even they find their perfect moments away from the drama in order to sit and write. Vizcaya was a story born from this perfect combination of things.
In December of 2008, I was laid off from my job of 8 years. This meant I had plenty of time to write while I looked for a new job. Since I had worked there for a while I was given a severance package that would give me at least a few months of financial peace of mind until I found new employment. That was enough security to allow me to devote the next three months to sitting down and writing a book, so all that was left was inspiration.
A few months prior to being laid off, I had started imagining scenes that would randomly pop into my head as I drove to and from work. I wasn’t sure how it all connected, but I knew that the scenes were taking place in Miami and I knew that they involved three teens. One day while I was driving, Vanessa Carlton’s cover of U2’s “Where the Streets Have No Name” came on my radio. The song starts with a symphonic introduction that is suddenly accompanied by a rather playful piano. In my head, my three teens were frolicking to this whimsical song while they played on the ocean, visited Vizcaya, and hung around the city of Miami. It was my own mental music video. (This method is actually the genesis of most of my stories. I can’t help it. I always wanted to be a music video director as a kid!) Then I started paying attention to the words: We’re still building then burning down love. And when I go there, I go there with you. It’s all I can do.
Inspiration came pretty quick at that point as I sat down and started pouring all these scenes into my Word document. Curious about Bono’s own inspiration for writing the song, I came across this quote he gave in an interview.
“I was just trying to sketch a location, maybe a spiritual location, maybe a romantic location. I was trying to sketch a feeling.” -Bono
And I realized that that’s exactly what I was doing as I wrote Vizcaya. Everything about it was centered around this almost mythical location where Nikki, Nelli, and Diego loved, lost, and matured. And like Diego, I was trying to sketch a location with words, and ultimately a feeling. In one scene, the three teens go to an island, a place where not only do the streets have no name, but there are no streets to begin with. In that way, I feel Vizcaya is almost a modern day fairy tale, and yet it was important for me to make sure that it was as realistic as could be. Teens wouldn’t be teens without issues with school or their parents. They have insecurities, dreams, and major disappointments, but in this story, they also have the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, and somehow that makes everything else in their lives a little bit more bearable.
And maybe that’s ultimately why all of the perfect writing factors came together so that I could sit down and write this book. Maybe we all need our own little piece of Vizcaya to make the tough things in life a little bit more manageable. Or maybe we just need that perfect escape. Whatever the case, Nikki, Nelli, and Diego are on a journey, and I want everyone who reads this book to go on that journey with them. After all, as Bono sang, it’s all I can do.
Here’s the link to the CreateSpace page for Vizcaya! Order it and tell your friends about it!
Order Vizcaya on CreateSpace!
I also put up a video thanking all of you for your support! Check out linarivera.com to watch it, or click the YouTube link below.
Thank you for believing in Vizcaya!