Interview with Andrea Chapela

Raquel Castro, Gabriela Damián, and Andrea Chapela on the Mexican Female Horror Writers panel (Sent by Julia Rios; photo by Kateryna Barnes)

Where did you grow up, and where do you live now? Where can we find you on social media?

I grew up in Mexico City, but I'm living in Madrid, Spain with an artists fellowship from the Residencia de Estudiantes. My social media is @AndreaChapel on Twitter and my facebook page.

What kind of creative work do you do?

I'm a writer and when people let me I'm also a translator.

Had you ever been to a Worldcon before?

I had never been to Worldcon before this year, but it was amazing, and I hope I get to attend many times more in the future.

Andrea Chapela at the Mexicanx Initiative English language group reading (Sent by Julia Rios; photo by Kateryna Barnes)

What did you expect being part of the Initiative would be like? How did your experience compare with that expectation?

I had attended Clarion West the year before so I knew more or less that the F&SF community was really welcoming and nice. I wanted to see friends that I had met the year before and bask in that culture once more. But above all I wanted to hang out with the Mexicanx. Because I've lived abroad for several years, I hardly ever see many of the writers and I wanted to hang out with the ones I knew and meet many new ones. All of this came true, but it was more than that. Everyone in the Mexicanx Initiative was really welcoming from the start. Panels, meals, parties, conversations, every moment was a blast and I felt that I had found a group of people that not only shared my interests but also my language and my culture. Dreaming of ever making a con like that in Mexico was also quite fun.

Raquel Castro, Gabriela Damián, and Andrea Chapela on the Mexican Female Horror Writers panel (Sent by Julia Rios; photo by Kateryna Barnes)

Tell us about a highlight of your Worldcon experience.

I have many favorite moments. The panel I was on with Gabriela Damián, Pepé Rojo, and Raquel Castro about Female Mexican Horror Writers was one of them. It went by so fast and we got to speak about so many awesome writers that so many people haven't heard about. The audience was super responsive. An hour later I had to do in the moment translation for Iliana Vargas’s panel about the Shadow and Body of Imagination. It was one of the most difficult things I've done on the spot, because Iliana is brilliant (and speaks in super long sentences). Still the panel was one of the most interesting ones I got to attend and I loved being part of it. Finally, the last few songs of the Losers Party when the Mexicanx Initiative just took over the party in music and body is a memory I treasure.

Recommend any or all of the following: a song, a written work, a piece of visual art, and a movie. Tell us why you love them!

Song: I have had this song, well actually a YouTube video, stuck in my head for the last week. It is Dimash Kudaibergenov singing “S.O.S” and breaking every rule of singing in the process.

Written work: On the eighteen hour flight that took me from Madrid to Oakland I read Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik. I love her fairytales. And there is Amparo Dávila's book that is coming out in November in the US that we recommended all over the place during Worldcon.

Visual art: I discovered Gabriel Dawe's work by chance, but he is a Mexican artist and I love his work. Especially the plexus series. It is an installation made of rainbows and color and light. Here is his Instagram.

Movie: I guess I can recommend a series, too? The Dragon Prince written by the writer of Avatar: The Last Airbender on Netflix is very good. I really liked it and the animation has grown on me.

Andrea Chapela and Gabriela Damián Miravete dancing at a party late Saturday night (Photo by Julia Rios)

What was the funniest thing that happened during your trip?

There's a picture in someone's phone of me dancing in the middle of a hallway after sharing a lot of prosecco. The picture is super blurry and it encapsulates that night very well. I fell down many times that night and laughed a lot. So I count it as funny.

Where should new people start familiarizing themselves with your work.

You can check out one story of mine in English in Strange Horizons and one in Spanish here

Pablo Defendini