Leticia Sala: Absolute Emotional Commitment to Writing the Piece

Author, screenwriter, and lyricist Leticia Sala shares her best advice for fellow writers, what happened on the night of her engagement in Rome (besides getting engaged), her feelings on healthy love, and more!
Publish date:

Leticia Sala writes poetry and prose. Her first book, Scrolling after Sex, was published in 2018. She is a regular contributor to Vogue Spain, for which she writes poems as well as think pieces. She is also a screenwriter and lyricist. 

Leticia Sala (photo credit Alexandra Nataf)

Leticia Sala (photo credit Alexandra Nataf)

(Karol Hoeffner: Writing stories when they're ready to blossom.)

She finds ideas in flowers, airplanes, and supermarkets. Leticia lives in Barcelona with her husband, Pau, and their dachshunds, Greta and Science. In Real Life is her second book and literary debut in the United States.

In this post, Sala shares her best advice for fellow writers, what happened on the night of her engagement in Rome (besides getting engaged), her feelings on healthy love, and more!


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Name: Leticia Sala
Literary agent: Katherine Latshaw and Erin Harris, from Folio Literary Management
Title: In Real Life
Publisher: Andrews McMeel
Release date: September 1, 2020
Genre: Poetry/Novel-in-Poetry
Previous titles: Scrolling After Sex (published only in Spain)

Elevator pitch for the book: It is a book about love in the Silicon age.


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What prompted you to write this book?

I’m married to a man that I met through a ‘like.’ It’s not an epic story, but it is something new. Internet fascinates me when it connects with feelings and emotional ties.

The search for healthy love is one of the main themes that have dominated my thoughts, precisely because of the difficulty I have found finding it. This book is the result of the union of two things that fascinate me: the Internet and love of truth.

How long did it take to go from idea to publication?

The night that we got engaged in Rome was the same night that literary agents from New York wrote me to suggest working together on my literary debut in the US. That was at the beginning of 2018 and the book was not published until almost the end of 2020. 

We were clear at all times what the substance of the book would be; what kept changing was its format. We finally decided that the form that did the most justice to the story was a book of poems, which, if read from the beginning to end, would tell a story. A novel-in-poetry. 

(Writing flash fiction that's short but not slight.)

If one reads the poems in order, you can see the evolution of the characters’ story, but the connection between each piece is subtle, and each poem can stand alone.

Were there any surprises in the publishing process for this title?

The fact that it was a long process meant that my relationship to these pieces, as their creator, went through different phases. At the beginning was the attachment and then … detachment. The fact that the book took so long to come out facilitated in some way the assimilation once and for all of the fact that our creations are no longer ours once the creative process has finished. The day the book came out I went shopping for china.


Were there any surprises in the writing process for this book?

I don’t know if it was a surprise, but it was certainly a realization. I was guided by my own emotions and those of a very few people close to me in order to choose which pieces remained in the book. This process of elevating emotion to a rational measure that made the decisions for me seemed interesting. I think that this is of special importance for the genre of this book.

What do you hope readers will get out of your book?

No matter how much it tries to paint a portrait of love as it collides with our social networks, the book ultimately is about something more universal, which is the search for healthy love. What I’d like is for the reader to be touched by a somewhat different way of seeing healthy love, daily love, and for each reader to carry this mentally into their own experiences and memories.

If you could share one piece of advice with other authors, what would it be?

I would tell them to base themselves on the reactions of their own body in order to write. If while they write or re-read, they cry, or feel pain or excitement, then this is the text that is worth it: whatever they say, whether it is published or not. 

(21 authors share one piece of advice for writers.)

I think that in order to be a better writer, emotional commitment to the piece must be absolute. That is not always easy. As Salinger would say: Ask yourself if all your stars light up.

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