After a school program, an excited second grader named Mateo came up to me and asked, “Have you written any books about conquistadors?”
I hadn’t, I told him. Then I suggested, “If you are interested, you could do some research and write about them yourself.”
Eight years later, Mateo e-mailed to tell me that he had done just that.
Intrigued by Mateo and his writing project, I had a conversation with him. Here are some snippets:
1. After eight years, what propelled you to begin researching and writing about conquistadors?
During Quarantine I had a lot of time to reflect, and so I made a list of things to accomplish. I had made a promise to begin this project, and I always keep my promises.
2. What did you enjoy most about this work?
When I was a kid I always wanted to learn more about the conquistadors, so accomplishing this long time goal of mine was a grand reward in the sense of making “childhood me” happy.
3. Is there anything about conquistadors that especially surprised you?
I think the thing that really surprised me was the exceeding amount of mutiny and betrayal found among them.
4. What aroused your curiosity about conquistadors?
I really think that my curiosity was originally sparked by Scooby Doo Mystery Incorporated (my favorite show at the time). The show’s main mystery was the disappearance of the conquistadors, the founders of their town Crystal Cove. Back then, I really couldn’t tell the difference between fact and fiction.
5. You told me that Real-Life Sea Monsters changed your feelings about reading. How so?
Before your book I hated reading. But your book changed my view. The incredible artwork grabbed my attention. And when you turned fiction to fact that really amazed me and made me enjoy reading more and more every day. It showed me something that I had not previously seen. Now I realize how much we can truly learn from books.
6. What are your favorite types of books?
I love history, fiction, science fiction, biographies, mysteries, adventure, monster horror, dystopian, survival, and science.
Thank you for reaching out to me, Mateo. We often do not know what influence our books have. You are an inspiring person!