Let the touring begin…
Release date: November 3, 2016
Helllllllloooooooo Erin ;)
Thanks for having me! It’s a relief (and kind of exciting) to finally be talking at length about Luchador, since I first started working on it three years ago! I’m really honored by the announcement from PW, and I’m still trying to form words, other than to say that I’m incredibly grateful.
Luchador is my second book. My debut, Sotto Voce, is also set in a world that I have a lot of love for—the independent winemakers of Sonoma County. I’m a winemaker myself, and I am a big fan of the somewhat smaller and mellower half of Northern California’s wine country.
Luchador is, no surprise, set in the world of lucha libre, or Mexican masked wrestling. But don’t be put off by the sweat, blood and Gatorade. Luchador is really a coming of age story of a young man who is looking to chart his own course in a world with set rules. There’s also Lycra.
What is the biggest thing people think they know about your subject/genre that isn’t so?
People, especially in the US, see luchadores and lucha libre as some sort of comedy act.
I can understand why this happens. Lucha libre is largely unfamiliar to US audiences. Their only exposure to it may be the movie Nacho Libre. It was a sweet movie, but Jack Black making jokes about his stretchy pants isn’t exactly a nuanced representation of this art form.
Art form? Why yes, I think lucha is a form of performance art. It is a form of storytelling, with themes of the good guys, taking on ruthless villains. The técnicos represent the honesty and hard work. The rudos, or heels, represent powerful and unethical entities. Lucha has played a role in political movements in Mexico, particularly the role of exóticos—luchadores who are typically openly gay and perform as gay characters—in moving Mexico toward marriage equality.
What are some references you used while writing this book?
I spent an enormous amount of time researching lucha libre for this book which not only included attending lucha events in both the US and Mexico, but reading everything I could get my hands on. One of the best resources was a PhD thesis on lucha libre, written by an American woman who studied to be a luchadora. It was a great source of fundamental information on lucha libre that I kept in mind while writing.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I’ve enjoyed writing as long as I can remember, including a grade school reimagining of a children’s book. Who would have know at the time that it was basically Misty of Chincoteague fan fiction? Where did that originate? I’m going to credit Dr. Seuss. Those books made words come to life for me. I still love them, and can still recite Green Eggs and Ham from memory.
What do your plans for future projects include?
Did I mention how slow I am? My next project is probably a nap! After that, I have a couple of ideas that are purely in the stage of “thinking about”.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I’ve had several early readers tell me that they never would have considered reading a book about lucha libre until they read Luchador. (Thankfully, they enjoyed it.) Here’s the thing, Luchador is more than a book about lucha libre. In fact, I’d argue that it’s not about lucha at all. The ring is a backdrop, a metaphor, in the larger coming of age story of Gabriel Romero as he goes on a bit of a quest for his authentic self—from behind a luchador’s mask.
Each week, Gabriel Romero’s drive to Sunday mass takes him past “El Ángel,” the golden statue at the heart of Mexico City that haunts his memories and inspires his future. Spurred by the memory of his parents, Gabriel is drawn to the secretive world of lucha libre, where wrestling, performance art and big business collide.
Under the conflicting mentorships of one of lucha libre’s famed gay exótico wrestlers and an ambitious young luchador whose star is on the rise, Gabriel must choose between traditions which ground him but may limit his future, and the lure of sex and success that may compromise his independence. Surrounded by a makeshift family of wrestlers, Gabriel charts a course to balance ambition, sexuality and loyalty to find the future that may have been destined for him since childhood.
Categories: Fiction, Romance, LGBT, New Adult, M/M
Publisher: Interlude Press
Cover Artist: CB Messer
The new wrestling troupe was already assembled when Gabriel arrived: the Bam Brothers, rudos from East L.A. whose costumes of torn T-shirts and camouflage pants looked more thrasher rock than lucha libre; CaCa, a mini dressed like a parrot whose gimmick involved fake bird droppings, and his wrestling partner, Super Hiss, whose Lycra costume was covered in a snakeskin print. Gabriel’s opponent arrived last, burrowed into a dark, oversized hooded sweatshirt and warm-ups.
The wrestler unzipped the sweatshirt and removed the hood to reveal a curvy and intimidatingly fit woman with dark hair and a rock-solid scowl. Standing about five-foot five, she had the cut frame of a professional athlete and the attitude of a CFO.
She walked up to Gabriel and held out her hand.
“You must be Ángel,” she said. “I’m Lola, but in the ring, they call me Electra. I’m your rudo.”
Gabriel had never seen a luchadora square off one-on-one against a luchador, and the prospect of fighting a woman left him off balance. His words tripped off his lips.
“Gabriel,” he said, taking her hand. “I mean no offense, but there’s got to be a mistake.”
“And here we go,” Lola huffed. “Are you saying that no one told you I was going to be your first opponent?”
Ray stepped behind Gabriel, clasping his shoulders in his hands.
“You don’t want to hold back against Electra, Gabe. Lola here used to be a serious boxer—the light welterweight champ.”
“Two years running,” she said, finishing the sentence.
“She’s badass, Gabe. She can hold her own.”
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It’s all about the author…
Erin Finnegan is a former journalist and winemaker who lives in the foothills outside Los Angeles. A lifelong sports fan and occasional sports writer, she has had to dive out of the way of flying luchadores at matches in both the U.S. and Mexico. Her first novel, Sotto Voce, received a starred review from Publishers Weekly and a Foreword Reviews Indiefab Silver Book of the Year Award.
…and stalking them :)
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