“Not so long ago, a person seeking books by Latino authors had to mine the bookstore shelves for that rare but rewarding find. Today, the Latino literary field is thriving and has become quite visible, thanks to the growing recognition across various communities that our writers are dynamic, engaging and continually attuned to the politics of the present — something Latino readers have always known”, writes Rigoberto González, NBC Latino.
González wrote a wonderful who’s who on Latino writers for a Hispanic Heritage Month piece:
CTLN’s Brian Woodman Jr. spoke with one writer in Connecticut with a talent for telling supernatural stories.
Love, Death, Evil and Magical Trees
Colchester resident Estevan Vega speaks proudly of how his ethnic heritage (he is half-Puerto Rican), his literary tastes and his spiritual side have influenced his work as an author of supernatural thrillers.
“I am a Christian but I think I’m a skeptic at heart,” said Vega, who was born in Meriden but raised in Portland and Middletown. “Like most people I am at war with both sides of myself.”
His best known work is perhaps the “Arson” series, which was written for young adults. He releases his books under the auspices of his company Capulet Entertainment, which also promotes concerts.
“The ‘Arson’ saga is very important to me,” he said. “I was 21 when the first one came out. It is about a teenager who has the ability to create fire with his mind. He is raised by a bipolar, borderline-schizophrenic grandmother and thinks himself a freak until he befriends a unique neighbor named Emery who feels more comfortable wearing a mask every day than letting the world see who she truly is.
The series is one part drama, one part superhero epic. ‘Arson’ was released in 2010, ‘Ashes’ in 2012 and ‘Arise’ in 2014. Part four was supposed to be released a few years ago but I’ve taken a sort of unintentional hiatus. I’ve got a ton of ideas I’d like to unleash upon the world but time will tell.”
He said F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby” profoundly affected him while in high school.
“I reference aspects of that novel throughout my ‘Arson’ saga because of that,” said Vega. “The works of Ted Dekker have also played a major role in shaping me as a writer and a reader. Any good book can help shape a writer. Good writing in general can inspire.”
He described pain, squandered potential, theological questions and love lost as recurring themes in his work – this includes the young adult novel “White Sparrow.”
“It’s about an artist who suffers a mental accident that causes her to awaken a dark, spiritual side she did not realize was within her,” he said. “It’s also about love, death, evil and magical trees.”
“I love exploring these complex ideas and coupling them with a supernatural angle,” he said. “Not everything I write involves otherworldly elements but it is prevalent.
Vega said a fifth-grade school assignment sparked his interest in writing.
“We had to write short stories for our English assignment and I was terrible,” he said. “I wrote a couple, realized I desperately needed help and my dad helped me write a few. It as quickly apparent his writing skills far exceeded my own, so we kept ‘co-writing’ until I got the hang of it and forced myself to employ my imagination more. I went on to write about 12 chapters for that project and it led me to the wild notion of thinking that I could someday publish a book. So when I was 12, I decided to begin writing one.”
He admitted that he tries to forget his first book, “Servant of the Realm,” which he self-published at 15. The book features a teen-ager who injects himself with a magical serum that gives him visions of the future.
“I was so young and didn’t know a thing about writing or the publishing industry,” said Vega. “I just knew that I wanted to write. So if anyone can find a copy, have mercy on me.”
He wrote the supernatural serial killer novel “The Sacred Sin” at 18 but later revised it and retitled it “the Forsaken.” He described the revised version as a vast improvement.
His more recent efforts include the short story collection “When Colors Bleed” and “Music Box” – an apocalyptic meditation on mortality and one of Vega’s personal favorites.
He said that while productions companies have approached him regarding his books, no film adaptions are immediately pending.
I’d love it if Blumhouse would take them on,” he said. “I’ve followed Jason Blum for years and the dude has been completely successful.”
Publisher’s Note: Watch for Hispanic Heritage Month (9/15 – 10/15) special reports focused on community, arts & culture, education, economy, and politics.