The Writer’s Desk features the desks and writing practices of Gemini Ink faculty, visiting authors, teaching artists, volunteers, students, interns, staff, partners and more.  Receive new posts in your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter at

Join David Bowles on Monday, July 8, 15, & 22nd in person at Gemini Ink for his workshop Make Your YA Novel a Reality with David Bowles. Participants will learn the process of taking their novel from a concept to the first chapter. They will also receive guidance on stylistic elements and pitching to agents and editors.

Has your preferred place to write changed over the years? 

No, I have written every one of my books in the same study where I work today, which my wife built me twenty years ago. 

What is your secret talent? Does it ever pop up in your writing? 

I can play multiple instruments, sing, and compose music. Those skills do indeed show up in my work, through protagonists that are also musicians, like Güero Casas or Nezahualcoyotl.

Is there anything that you’ve been listening to lately—an interesting podcast, a song list, or album? 

I’ve been jamming out to the latest albums by Itzy (Born to Be), The Japanese House (In the End It Always Does) and Charli XCX (Brat.)

What theme or symbol often emerges in your work? Why are you drawn to this theme/symbol? 

The balance of order and chaos. It’s the central concept in Mesoamerican philosophy, and I’m fascinated by worldviews that center that duality instead of the good-evil binary of Western thought.

What is your motto? Does it also apply to your writing? 

The universally human arises from the specifics of every lived experience. This motto informs my work, as I avoid making generic characters who live in generic worlds, even if that limits my readership, because the particular intersectionality of my characters is the keystone to every story. 

Do you like things to be carefully planned out or do you prefer to just go with the flow? Does this also apply to how you lay out a story? 

I am definitely a planner, both in my personal life and in my writing. I need to understand in advance the contours of my days, my vacations, my stories, my novels. I leave room for organic riffing and unexpected twists, but I’m not one just to start with a blank page and just a vague idea. 

What are some misconceptions about being a writer that you can discredit? 

You will never stop feeling impostor syndrome. There are always better known, more accomplished, more respected writers. Stop worrying about them and be who you are. Do what only you can do. 

What is your next project? 

My next publication will be The Hero Twins and the Magic of Song, the second book in my graphic novel series Tales of the Feathered Serpent, illustrated by my daughter Charlene. Right now I’m working on fresh Spanish translations of the popular Rainbow Fish picture books as well as a couple of YA novels of historical fiction.

If people want to learn more about your work, where should they go? 

My website is their best bet: – but I’m also all over social media using the handle @DavidOBowles.

David Bowles is a Mexican American author and translator from south Texas, where he teaches at the University of Texas Río Grande Valley. He has written over three dozen award-winning titles, most notably They Call Me Güero and My Two Border Towns. His work has also been published in multiple anthologies, plus venues such as The New York Times, Strange Horizons, Apex Magazine, School Library Journal, Rattle, Translation Review, and the Journal of Children’s Literature. Additionally, David has worked on several TV/film projects, including Victor and Valentino (Cartoon Network), the Moctezuma & Cortés miniseries (Amazon/Amblin) and Monsters and Mysteries in America (Discovery). In 2017, David was inducted into the Texas Institute of Letters. He now serves as its vice president. In 2019, he co-founded the hashtag and activist movement #DignidadLiteraria, which has negotiated greater Latinx representation in publishing. In 2021, he helped launch Chispa, the Latinx imprint of Scout Comics, for which he serves as co-publisher. David’s literary representation is Taylor Martindale Kean and Stefanie Von Borstel of Full Circle Literary. His Hollywood representation is Sandra Ávila of Inclusion Management. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram: @DavidOBowles

Ella Kelly

Author Ella Kelly

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