How to Communicate a Message Through Literature: Dámaso Avilés Opens Up About His Writing Process
Interview with Damaso
Hi Damaso! Tell me, is this your first novel?
This is actually my second book. The first book I wrote was more of a social commentary about Puerto Rico that was supposed to challenge the thinking of the readers as it came to cheating, fraud, swindling, etc. This is the first novel I wrote that I intended to be the first as part of a series. It still has social commentary but is more story-driven than the other book.
So what genre would you classify your latest novel, The Yanira Island as?
I would classify it as fantasy. Without getting too deep into it, it's basically about gods overseeing the Earth getting into a fight and creating a huge giant rock that is lodged that neither gods nor humans cannot move to access water. The only loophole there is to solve this problem is for a demigod to come in and push the stone, so this is the challenge of the protagonist in the story.
Wow, that's interesting. I've never heard of anything like it. What inspired you to write something like this?
I always loved fiction and fantasy as a child. I started this book three years ago. I was inspired by the waterfalls from Puerto Rico, where I'm from, and my imagination basically took off from there.
Is the novel available in English, Spanish, or both?
It will be available in both languages. I am trying to grab as broad of an audience as possible.
How much does having been raised in Puerto Rico influence your book?
Well, I was raised in the countryside, northwest of the island, where everything grows and we get the most water. As I developed, I began to understand the significance of water as a resource and wanted to write something, like my book, where other people could understand its significance as well.
What message are you trying to get across to your readers?
From the inception of my idea, I knew I had to get two messages out to the readers. First, I want people to understand the significance of protecting water and what will happen if we take our resources for granted. I want people to keep our oceans clean. If you're from an island, it's probably already in the forefront of your mind, but for all those who aren't from an island, it can be helpful to be reminded. Finally, I want to educate the readers on anger management, given that the whole premise for the conflict in this book is the gods creating this stone on Earth out of anger. I want readers to see that their impulsive actions can have long-term effects.
So who is your audience for in this book?
It is my belief that the book can be enjoy by anyone over 11. I work with 7th graders, so I am attuned to what they like to read. However, many adults would also appreciate the metaphors, messages, and fantasy conveyed in my novel.
How long is this book? How long will your intended series be?
This particular book is a pretty short but intense read. I'd say it's about 100 pages. I intend to write 10-15 more books that stem from this original book to have a complete fantasy series.
The great thing about the release of The Yanira Island, or La Isla Yanira, if you choose to get it in Spanish, is that you'll be transported to this mystical world that Aviles worked hard to create. Your imagination will expand, as well as your consciousness of the role water plays in our lives. To learn more about this author, check out his author website below.
Official Author Website
- Dámaso Avilés Website
To learn more about The Yanira Island and tune in for its official release date, check out