DiversifYA: Mónica Bustamante Wagner

MonicaToday, the wonderful Mónica Bustamante Wagner joins us! Mónica and I have been Twitter friends for quite some time now, and she is a wonderfully sweet, enthusiastic person! You may also know her as one of The Writer’s Voice’s fantastic judges!

Mónica is a YA writer represented by Lauren MacLeod and a freelance editor. Follow her on Twitter and read her blog to get to know her better. (And trust me, you want to!)

1. How do you identify yourself?

I wear many hats! I’m a mother, a wife, a writer, a freelance editor. I’m Peruvian and Chilean (I have double nationality). I’m a klutz when it comes to cooking (I burn, spill, and spoil). And my husband calls me a witch sometimes, though I’m not sure why.

But most of all, I’m a family-oriented gal who doesn’t have a religion but loves to read about spirituality.

2. What did it feel like growing up in Chile?

At first, it was hard! I arrived in Chile when I was eight, and even though people speak Spanish in Peru (where I was born) and in Chile, I barely could understand Chileans. Chileans speak quickly and skip letters in some words, and of course there were new words for many things. But luckily, I adapted and made friends and started to understand this different culture, and now I can say that I just love Chile. I now live in a rural area and I have hens and dogs and my kids have a lot of places to run and play hide and seek.

3. What are the biggest challenges? Conversely, what are the quirks/perks?

I live near a small town, and as some people say, Santiago is Chile. So sometimes we have to travel to Santiago (which is at about 5hrs from here by car) to get, say, especial medical attention. Like once, my son needed to see an endocrinologist, and we couldn’t find one that fit our needs in town.

The perks about living in Chile? It’s a small country, but we have many different climactic zones and everything is within reach. Like, you can be at the warm beach in the morning, and in the afternoon you can go to the mountains and find snow. We have lush woods and lakes in the south and one of the most arid desserts in the north. We have glaciers, and geysers, and volcanoes, and ski resorts. It’s a really beautiful country.

4. What do you wish people knew about living in Chile?

Having come from another country, I realized that Chileans are really sweet and kind and warm.

5. What are the biggest cliches/stereotypes you’ve seen?

Sometimes people from other countries ask me about soccer players in Chile, because, apparently, they are hot! Though, I wouldn’t know because I barely watch soccer. Also, when I go to some other place where people speak in Spanish, they tease about the way I speak now. Like the normal way to say “How are you?” in Spanish is “¿Cómo estas?” but in Chile people say, “¿Cómo tai?” See? It’s really different! 🙂

BONUS: What is your advice for writers writing diverse characters?

Take your time to research, and most importantly, have fun doing it!

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