Gabriela Martins is a Brazilian kidlit writer whose stories feature Brazilian characters finding themselves and love.
GABRIELA MARTINS is a Brazilian kidlit author and linguist. She was a high school teacher and has also worked as a TED Ed-Club facilitator, where she helped teens develop their own talks in TED format to present. She edited and self-published a pro-bono LGBTQ+ anthology (Keep Faith) with all funds going to queer people in need. When she’s not writing, she can be found cuddling with her two cats, or singing loudly and off-key. Her debut, Like a Love Song (Underlined/PRH), is a contemporary YA romance that comes out in summer 2021. She also writes in the licensing and younger IP space as Gabhi Martins.
Visit gabrielawrites.com to find out more and follow her on Twitter at @gabhimartins and on Instagram at @gabhi.
When and how did you start writing?
The first thing I remember writing was fanfic at the age of nine, in which basically all of my favorite books starred a girl suspiciously similar to me. I guess even back then, I realized there was a gap where representation should be, and I fiercely wanted to fill that with my stories and characters.
Can you remember the first book that made an impact on you? Who were your childhood storytelling heroes?
Many books were powerful for different reasons, but the first time I read O PRIMO BASÍLIO, by Eça de Queirós, I realized that not all main characters need to be heroes, and that was a shift turning for me. To know that a character's flaws can be just as interesting as their virtues made my imagination spark. It was the first time I'd seen vile and selfish characters occupying the central role. But that was in my teen years. In my childhood, I read Mauricio de Souza religiously.
Can you talk us through your career so far? What were the key moments?
Back in 2013, one of my short stories was selected for a local anthology and the books were distributed at the Porto Alegre Book Fair (the biggest in all of Latin America). They made a stand for the authors of the anthology to distribute autographs. My bisa (great grandmother) came, as well as several of my students, and lots of family and friends. It was a really special moment. My first published work, and my bisa got to hold that book in her hands. My students in line chanting that I was their favorite author, without having read anything from me yet. That was one of the most important moments of my life, and solidified my desire to keep going. Although there were six years between that moment and me signing with my dear agent Chelsea, I feel like the path was paved with key moments of learning and growing. It's been great! :')
Describe your writing day. Where do you write? How do you organize your time? Where do you look for inspiration?
Can I get back to you with that? Gosh, I don't really know. I do this thing where I spend several days or even weeks without typing a single word, and then suddenly I'm possessed by a writing demon and write 10k a day for a week. I've been trying to find balance, and write a little bit every day instead of attacking my keyboard (lots of letters you can't see anymore lol), but it's . . . been a process.
Are there any tips you could give aspiring writers who are looking to get published?
Get comfortable with rejection and keep writing. No matter what, keep going. I queried for ten years before I signed with my agent. I wrote eight novels in that time. I got four short stories published, but hundreds rejected. You got this!
Can you describe three aspects of writing craft that have been most important as you’ve developed as an author?
Developing lived-in characters, being flexible to everything except the core of the story, and getting out of the shower fast, since all of the best ideas seem to come right at the point where I start washing my hair.
Which favorite authors would you invite to a dinner party?
Megan Abbott has always been and will always be one of my favorite authors. I love how dark her stories are. But then I also feel similarly about Maurene Goo, because of how hopeful her stories are. I think we'd make an awkward dinner trio that would end up having a lot of fun together!