We're starting off February with a bang! Today's guest is Indra Sena, author of the memoir, Closet Full of Coke. You can visit Indra Sena’s website at www.closetfullofcoke.com. Indra is currently working on her second memoir. It covers two years in her twenties, where she joined the Rainbow Family and traveled the US and abroad.
Narrated by the teenage girl who lived it, Closet Full of Coke tells the true story of how a New York suburban fifteen-year-old girl's savvy and wit helps turn the small-time drug business of Armando, a Colombian drug dealer, into a multi-million-dollar cocaine operation that puts them on the DEA's Wanted List.
This intimate diary gives readers a fast-paced glimpse of the couple’s speedy rise to riches, and their inevitable descent.
These wannabe drug lords of the 1980s New York-to-Florida drug scene end their story only three years later with an untimely death, betrayal, and revenge.
Here is a true account of drug dealers whose obsession with money, power, sex, and glamour drives them to a lifestyle of deceit and recklessness, ending in tragedies that destroy lives forever.
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Can you tell us what your book is about?
It’s a memoir about my life as a teenager. I lost my home when I was fifteen and I got into crime. The story is written in a diary format but it reads like a thriller novel.
Why did you write your book?
I’d planned to write it for nearly 25 years, since shortly after the events in my book took place. I was startled at how much they resembled the plot of a fiction novel. It was really strange, it seemed like life was imitating art.
It took me decades to begin writing it because I needed a lot of distance for perspective.
What kind of message is your book trying to tell your readers?
My book is for entertainment purposes only.
Is it hard to publish a nonfiction book?
I self-published and yes, it was hard. There are a great many details to publishing a book many of them are unknown to anyone not in the industry. Standardizing my book to the Chicago Manuel of Style might have been the hardest. It took weeks, was grueling and mind numbing, and normally the job of an editor at a publishing house that knows the rules of the CMS by heart.
Which author(s) do you admire?
I love Erica Jong for her frankness and brilliant prose. I also love the simple style of Jane Austin and Laura Ingalls Wilder. Gogol always makes me laugh out loud and he has great stories.Finally, I absolutely adore Dostoevsky. His portraits of people are so familiar and sublime I feel I know every character from his books personally.
If we were to meet for lunch to talk books, where would we go?
I’d likely invite you to my house since I live far from civilization. Cooking is also one of my hobbies and I’m quite good.
What do you like to do for fun?
I’m a big outdoors person. I like hiking, skiing, kayaking, just being in nature and on the water really relaxes me.
What do you like the most about being an author?
I love having a legitimate excuse for being a serious bookworm! I also like working in quiet and getting lost in a thesaurus or dictionary for hours. After my work was published my favorite part was getting emails from readers who were moved by my work. I consider that a bonus, some writers never get a chance to connect with their readers. I save those notes in my inbox and read them over and over again.
What kind of advice would you give other non-fiction authors?
Although I wrote a non-fiction memoir, I employed all the elements of fiction so my advice best applies to a novelist or memoirist.
My advice is to be a writer first. You have to be in love with words, with language, and with the craft of writing. Study all the time. While you’re reading notice what the writer is doing. While watching television pay attention to the dialogue, in scripted shows it is all created by writers. Practice writing every chance you get, even with email.