Lupe Ruiz-Flores is a children’s book author who discovered it’s never too late to tell a good story.
LatinaLista — Being a published writer was Lupe’s life-long dream. Growing up with little money, especially to buy such luxury items as books, Lupe’s earliest inspiration for storytelling was from listening to the stories her father and grandmother would weave for her family’s entertainment.
But with a family of her own to raise and a 26-year career busily devoted to being an aerospace engineering technician for the Department of Defense, Lupe’s dream always seemed to be pushed onto the back burner.
Author Lupe Ruiz Flores
It wasn’t until Lupe neared retirement that she allowed herself to think of the possibility of foregoing a life of deserved leisure, and instead got serious about realizing her dream.
Knowing that all she needed was the family computer, a printer and her imagination, she began writing and writing and writing.
She didn’t have to look far for the subject of her first stories.
“Everyone has (family) memories,” Lupe said. “These are your treasures. Write about them.”
Yet, Lupe knew that she would have to do more to chisel out a writing career than just make a time investment. So, she searched, paid the fees and began the process of honing her skills by attending writers’ workshops.
She signed up for writers’ clubs, registered for writers’ conferences to learn more about the writing and publishing process. She subscribed to writers’ magazines.
“In other words,” Lupe said. “I immersed myself in the writers’ world.”
But the hardest part was yet to come. Swallowing her pride, Lupe put aside her fear and took the plunge of submitting her work to publications.
Less than two years after making up her mind to go after her dream, Lupe received her first publishing credit in the national magazine Guideposts – at the age of 55.
“At first, I wasn’t sure I could really write anything that might be good enough for publication,” Lupe shared. “I entered writing contests in magazines to test the waters. To my surprise, I actually won a few.
“One time a UPS truck appeared in front of my home unloading box after box of patio deck items. I had won a contest for writing about my patio deck. That gave me the confidence to enter a writing contest in a national magazine.
“I was one of 15 winners out of 5,000 and won an all-expense paid trip to New York to attend a weeklong writing seminar. I have been writing for that same magazine ever since. That was 1997.”
That initial success encouraged Lupe to try other genres of writing. Soon, she was dabbling in poetry and seeing her byline (name) in poetry anthologies.
Then a thought struck her: Why not write for children?
It wasn’t long before Lupe wrote her first bilingual picture book, “Lupita’s Papalote.”
Published in 2002 by Arte Publico Press, Lupe’s first picture book story was inspired by her father Francisco and was born of a childhood memory when Lupita and her father made their first kite out of comic books because the family couldn’t afford a store-bought one.
She followed with a second book, “The Woodcutter’s Gift,” due to be published in the fall of 2007.
These days, Lupe is working on conquering yet another new genre — a novel for middle school students.
Looking back, Lupe marvels at how far she’s come.
“I thought I was too old, and that my age would be a problem,” Lupe confessed.
However, Lupe found out that it’s never too late to get started and just HazLo.
Lupe shares three tips for realizing your dream of becoming a writer:
1. Write with passion.
2. Immerse yourself in the writing process and all that it entails.
3. Believe in yourself and never give up.