Good to see you again!
Put down that pen, grab a coffee, and get ready to dive into another interview!
Now I have C. E. Flores dropping in. C.E. Flores, also known as Millie Flores, was born in the Eastern United States and now resides in central Mexico. She attended the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, where she earned a Bachelor's degree in Education and met her husband.
After several moves throughout the United States, Flores and her family settled in rural Mexico, where they lived off-grid without access to utilities for ten years. She worked long hours and finally earned enough to invest in a solar panel system and satellite internet for her home.
With her experiences, Flores wrote a series of books to help women ex-pats and herbalists navigate life in Mexico. A Woman's Survival Guide to Living in Mexico series is designed for women who unexpectedly find themselves in the middle of nowhere Mexico and have to figure out how to adapt. The Exploring Traditional Herbal Remedies in Mexico series was an offshoot of the first series, as she had to find ways to keep herself and her family well, which meant learning about natural remedies.
Flores has also written several children's books under the pen name Millie Flores, illustrated by her talented friend Claudia Guzes. Despite the challenges she has faced, she has been able to create a life she loves in Mexico and continues to research and write about her experiences.
Where you can connect with me:
Surviving Mexico https://survivingmexico.com/
C.E. Flores https://ceflores.com/
Coffee, tea, or cacao? Cacao definitely! Did you know that chocolate has a fascinating history dating back to the ancient Olmec civilization in 1000 BCE? Legend has it that the god Quetzalcoatl himself gave this divine plant to his chosen people, the Toltecs, after stealing it from the gods. Quetzalcoatl enlisted the help of the rain god and the goddess of fertility and vegetation to nurture the plant and ensure its bountiful growth. He then taught Toltec women to roast and grind the cacao beans into a fine powder, which was mixed with water and whipped into a bitter, frothy drink called chocolatl. So sacred was this drink that only priests and royalty were allowed to enjoy it.
Favorite hangover recovery recipe? Menudo, Mexican tripe soup is not only delicious, but it also has some incredible health benefits. First off, it's served hot, which can help reduce dehydration - perfect for those post-drinking recovery days. And if you need a little extra kick, the chili pequin spice will perk you up whether you're feeling it or not! But that's not all. Menudo also contains hojas de aguacate (avocado leaves), which have been used for centuries to ease headaches and fatigue, and epazote, known for its ability to calm an upset stomach.
Where do you get your information or ideas for your books? I live in rural central Mexico. I have several book series and a children’s book that tie into my life here. The Woman’s Survival Guide to Mexico series highlights all the things I wish I had known before I moved to Mexico. This information would have made my life much easier! La Yacata series and Animal Antics South of the Border series are books based on my life in off-grid homesteading. The Exploring Traditional Herbal Remedies in Mexico series contain research I’ve done on native and naturalized plants used medicinally in Mexico. Finally, Abuelita ¿Qué Vamos A Hacer Hoy? Let's Make Rosca de Reyes! is an illustrated story about cultural traditions where I live.
What is your work schedule like when you’re writing? I can’t say that I have a set work schedule. I have several part-time jobs, and writing (and all that goes along with that, such as research, editing, proofreading, formatting, and marketing) is something I slip between those employment responsibilities. I typically have at least two writing projects that I’m actively working on at a time. That way, if something isn’t falling into place immediately, I can spend those precious “between” minutes working on the other writing project.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing? When I’m not writing, I love to be out in nature, always on the lookout for more plants to research! Mexico is such a biodiverse country. We also have a small farmyard consisting of a single horse, and several chickens, goats, sheep, dogs, and cats. They need quite a bit of attention.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books? I’m constantly surprised at the proven medicinal properties of plants that have been used in Mexican herbalism for centuries. I often wonder how long it took for healers to determine these beneficial uses before scientific experiments made it simpler.
How many books have you written? Which is your favorite? According to Amazon, I have 26 books under the pen name C.E. Flores and 8 as Millie Flores, although not all are currently available, as I’ve unpublished a few to rework them. Abuelita ¿Qué Vamos A Hacer Hoy? Let's Make Rosca de Reyes! is my favorite children’s book. The three books in the Exploring Traditional Herbal Remedies in Mexico series are my favorite non-fiction books.
What literary pilgrimages have you gone on? I suppose I have to say that my move to Mexico has been a literary pilgrimage. I have personally seen and experienced the things I write about. I didn’t set out with this lifestyle change in mind when I made the move, but here I am.
Does writing energize or exhaust you? Writing is my passion. I love it! When I start researching or writing about a new plant, I even find myself humming. Editing and proofreading, now, are completely different matters.
Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym? I don’t use my full name for any of the books that I have written and published. I have two pen names, C. E. Flores and Millie Flores. I might decide I need another pen name or two down the line, but they will be versions of my given name rather than totally fictitious.
Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you building a body of work with connections between each book? I seem to write in series. The works in progress and ideas for future manuscripts fall into one of the five main categories. Exploring Traditional Herbal Remedies in Mexico and The Mexican Apothecary series both center on herbalism. Abuelita ¿Qué Vamos A Hacer Hoy? is intended to be a series as well. The Woman’s Survival Guide to Mexico series is a guidebook set that mirrors experiences in La Yacata series.
How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have? At the beginning of 2023, I reviewed my half-completed drafts and found I had 13 possible NEW manuscripts. I set myself a writing challenge to complete several of these during the year because you can’t sell books that aren’t published yet.
What does literary success look like to you? As evidenced by my choice to use pen names, I’m not really into writing for fame. My goal continues to be to provide information that is useful to certain groups of people without my ego getting in the way. So literary success to me is knowing that those books have reached the right readers and positively impacted their lives.
What do you have coming next?
I am currently finishing up Volume 4 in the Exploring Traditional Herbal Remedies in Mexico series and Book 2 in The Mexican Apothecary series. The draft for the next book of the Abuelita ¿Qué Vamos A Hacer Hoy? children’s book series is ready to send to the illustrator. The Woman’s Survival Guide to Mexico series may also be getting a new addition before the end of the year.