Today we’d like to introduce you to D.L. Cordero.
So, before we jump into specific questions, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I am a writer. When I was young, I carried notepads and pencils with me while walking to school, shopping for groceries, and cooking for my family. I jotted down plot ideas and characters, constructed marvelous epics, and drew rough sketches of the worlds inside my mind. Over time, I realized all of these early narratives had an underlying theme: someone fighting to find their place in this world. Someone tossed aside, hurt, made to feel insignificant. And yet, that same person believed in their strength so much that they were able to transform their resolve and resilience into tools, things they then used to build their own identity, their own kind of peace.
It took me years to understand that I was writing about myself. About my difficulties navigating the world as a queer, transgender person of color. But such is the case with outsiders. We are not taught to value our own experiences and histories. In many cases, we are actively discouraged from discovering who we are. But we who live in the margins, we can and do find wholeness. We overcome the silence, find our voices, and through our power and grit, we execute our agency upon the world.
I continue to write because representation matters. My goal is to provide readers with exciting and engrossing stories they can identify with, and know that they are not alone in striving for the victory of self-love. Real people are complex and varied; characters should therefore embody internal complexity and also reflect the richness of identity we see in the world. In my stories, persons with intersecting identities are in positions of power. They are the primary characters, battling alongside allies as equals, and growing as they work toward their goals. Their identities are also not the crux of the story, as is the pitfall of many books I’ve read that incorporate queer or trans characters. I write about warriors overcoming obstacles, people who are also Brown and Black, queer and trans. Because we outsiders do much more than grapple with who we are. We remain true. And together, we create the new.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It took me years to understand why I was writing, so I did not attempt to have any of my work published until 2019. Since taking the leap, I’m excited to say that I’ve had some success. Three of my poems were published by independent journals, as was my first short story. I’ve also been a featured author at The Art of Storytelling Denver and was an invited reader for the [margins.] conference’s launch party. One of my full manuscripts was requested three times last year, which is such an exciting start for a newbie like me.
Yet, there’s been consistent struggle when submitting my work. I use Spanish-English hybridization, they/them pronouns, and have a host of characters with varying races, sexual orientations, genders, and abilities. There’s a dearth of diversity in publishing, and while I seek to improve that, many of the gatekeepers in the industry are not always receptive. For example, I’ve had more than one literary agent tell me I needed to include appendices for the Spanish words in my work, failing to make the same suggestion for words pulled strictly from my imagination. Additionally, workshopping my pieces with writing groups has not been a smooth process. Oftentimes, my work was torn apart for the same reasons it was unique: identity and culture. I’ve been lucky enough to find a writing group composed of talented, like-minded authors, but finding a home for myself in the Denver writing scene was often discouraging. I’m glad that I’m not the only one working to change this pattern and I remain optimistic that the future can be different.
We’d love to hear more about your work.
I love toying around with the idea of monsters. Part of that stems from getting called an abomination more times than I can count, despite the fact that I am decidedly awesome. So, a lot of my work is intended to make readers wonder, “what makes a monster a monster?” I’ve written stories about insect-human hybrids navigating snowy apocalypses, space-time duchesses recovering memories through the help of kinky, submissive lovers, and rejects who can see magic but can’t cast a spell to save their lives.
I am currently finishing a full length novel about squeamish demons who fall in love with very damaged humans, with a plot that centers around how we define ourselves after trauma. I’ve thrown in a lot of dark humor, prickly angels, severe violations of inter-dimensional law, and I’m proud to say that am loving this exciting and impactful supernatural thriller.
Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
There was a sunshine-filled day where nothing went wrong. I played with my friends from across the street, chalking giant, fuzzy creatures into the pavement before weaving flower crowns out of dandelions and lacing them into our hair. In the afternoon, my parents took us to a playhouse that had a jet-black slide. Every time I slid down it, I felt like I was zooming through space.
- Website: dlcordero.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @dlcorderowrites
- Facebook: @dlcorderowrites
- Twitter: @dlcorderowrites