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Q&A: Dandy Cabrera-Gonzalez, aspiring novelist at RMP SMART

December 13, 2023
By Sully Barrett

Meet Dandy Cabrera-Gonzalez. He’s a sophomore at Rocky Mountain Prep SMART and already has a BIG dream. When he’s not in class, you can likely find him plugged into his music, tapping away at a computer. Dandy’s goal? To write and publish a novel by the time he graduates college.

RMP’s Manager of External Relations Sully Barrett sat down with Dandy to find out what, how, and why he writes.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

SB: Why do you want to be a writer?

DCG: My creativity. I have a lot of stuff that I have in my head. I think of so much stuff that I want to do — it’s like a movie going on in my head. And I want to write it down to capture it on paper so other people can see my creativity and see what other people think about it. I mostly get inspired by movies, especially superhero movies. 

SB: What’s your favorite superhero movie?

DCG: That’s a hard one. A childhood one was Spiderman.

SB: The Tobey Maguire one?

DCG: Tobey Maguire. He was always my favorite Spiderman. And my second favorite was Hulk.

SB: Are you interested in writing superhero books, or any other genres?

DCG: Superhero books, and other stuff too. Stuff that I’ve seen on the internet, different dimensions, this and that — I like a lot of weird stuff.

SB: What are you reading right now?

DCG: I’m reading a book called Super Powereds [by Drew Hayes]. It’s a big book. There’s one [in the series] for every year of college.

SB: Nice. I’ll have to check it out. Is that similar to what you’re writing?

DCG: Yeah, I’m writing a novel about a superhero. He has an old-fashioned outfit, but it’s very futuristic — nanobots, all that.

SB: How much have you written?

DCG: I’m about three pages in. I have to do a lot of schoolwork and I can’t really write while I’m working on that. But I’m trying to write more, especially on the break. When I leave school, I start typing.

SB: What does your writing routine look like?

DCG: Sit down, put on some music. Music helps me concentrate. And then I just let my mind go wild and just type everything down. 

SB: And why writing? Why books, rather than a screenplay or something else?

DCG: I don’t really know. I feel like writing for a book is easier. It helps me write everything down, everything I’m thinking about, more quickly.

SB: Has school helped with that?

DCG: Yeah. My classes like reading and writing intervention, ELA — those help me with my grammar, make the book more detailed, and use better language.

SB: What kinds of materials have you read in your classes?

DCG: One book was Things Fall Apart [by Chinua Achebe]. It starts normal, and progressively things get worse and worse toward the end. And things start literally falling apart.

SB: Great book — I read that one myself in high school. Where do your story ideas come from?

DCG: Movies and books. Reading different things, watching different things. I want to make a story of my own, and that’s inspired by other stuff.

SB: Do you ever have time to write at school? And if so, how do you stay focused?

DCG: Sometimes when I finish my work early, I just go straight to writing. Music helps me calm my mind down and think about what I want to do. I just sit there for a minute, thinking about what I’m going to write next. And when it comes to me, I start writing.

SB: Who supports you in your writing? Who’s the first person you’re running to with your work?

DCG: My mom. I’ve always wanted to show her what I’ve created and make her proud of me. That’s a goal for me. Even though she already is, I still want to make her proud by showing her a book I made and got published.


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