Back in Peru. the mexican author Flor M. Salvador arrived in Lima last Friday, on the eve of its presentation at the 26th International Fair of Book from Lima. The creator of “Boulevard” is excited about her long-awaited reunion with her national readers, who have been expressing all of her support through social networks.
in conversation with Trade, Flor (23) confessed to having started her love of reading with the “Harry Potter” saga, written by the British JK Rowling. Also, contrary to what her fans believe of her, her favorite literary genre continues to be fantasy-fiction, even about romance. Although, her current favorite book is “Hush Hush” which gathers love and fantasy within her pages.
Behind “Boulevard” there is a secret. Had it not been for the supportive messages from its readers, the story would have been removed from Wattpad entirely. When she was going in chapter 11, Flor decided to archive the history of the platform. However, some girls asked her to enable it again and, thanks to that little push, the Mexican decided to continue with the work that is the leader in sales in Peru. Learn more about her, her success on Wattpad and some curiosities about “Boulevard”, here.
—You are a success story in youth literature. Was your dream as a child to become a writer and travel the world signing your books?
No not at all. It never crossed my mind to say “ah, I also want to write books like these. Maybe when I grow up I’ll do it.” No. It wasn’t until when I was 15 years old that I said “I’m going to write something”. But it was more for my entertainment, to hang out. It was only recently that I said “yes, I really like writing, I would like to dedicate myself to this”. At the age of 14 I started writing poems, I like them a lot. The first was called “Dear” and was on the platform for two months, hence I deleted it.
—So, writing was present from a very young age. How did the story you narrate in “Boulevard” come about?
“Boulevard” was born in 2015 because, when I start learning about Wattpad, I start reading the fanfictions. I said “I would like to do something similar” with my favorite artists. It’s where I start writing “Boulevard”, simply because I wanted to do something like the others on the platform. Creating stories with my favorite artists which, back then, was One Direction and Five Seconds of Summer. I chose the vocalist of the band 5SOS, Luke Hemmings. Luke from “Boulevard” is inspired by him. I was also inspired by the Green Day song “Boulevard of Broken Dreams”.
—Wattpad gives you various alternatives, did you choose to write the entire story in your personal repository or did you go by chapter on the same platform?
I went chapter by chapter. In fact, before I did not write in Word, but in front of the platform from my cell phone. Or sometimes when I was on break I would write some scenes, chapters and so on, and upload them. Around chapter 11 I took it off the shelf, put it in drafts until some girls told me “continue the story”. Thank God I continued with “Boulevard”.
—Did receiving comments from readers on Wattpad influence the course of the story? Or did you have it all planned?
I already knew how it was going to end. Funny thing is, when I was thinking about what “Boulevard” was going to be like, I knew how it was going to end, I didn’t know how, but I had to get to that ending (with the Hasley and Luke story) because that’s what I wanted.
—Flor, you mentioned that you write stories that you would like to read, but there were several romance stories already published on Wattpad, what is that magic touch that you decided to give to “Boulevard”?
Sometimes we read a story, but every reader says “I wouldn’t have liked it to end like this” or “I wouldn’t have liked him to make that decision”. So that’s what we come to. If you believe that there was another course or that there was another option, it is good to write something of your own and say “I would have done it this way”. It is there that we began to write from our tastes. When I started with “Boulevard” I said that I wanted to write something sad, I wanted to get out of the pink endings and do something tragic and dramatic.
—Why “Boulevard” -from your perspective as an author- has become a phenomenon in different countries of the world?
I really do not know. Sometimes when my constituents arrive at the signatures I ask them what they like about “Boulevard” and they say “Luke”. I imagine that (much of the success) is because of the main character. I also try that my protagonists have my essence, that they feel real. For example, Luke has my likes and also experiences the problems that I had. I imagine that this is something that he has made several like, to the point of how much the book has made them feel.
—The cliché stories have become a constant in youth romance literature, do you like the cliché? Do you feel that “Boulevard” is within that category?
I love the cliché, I adore the cliché, I live for the cliché. I like too much the stories of the good girl, the bad girl and the boy who changes for her. I’m a fan of it. And yes, I feel like “Boulevard” has its own cliché (which is reflected in the relationship between Hasley Weigel and Luke Howland).
But it also has its detractors…
I feel that, at the same time, it is something very repetitive and perhaps they are a fan of what is more alien to the cliché or that is not repeated as much. That’s why I always tell them that if they don’t like the story they’re reading, sometimes it’s good to create what you’d like to read. Still, I feel that many are fans of the cliché, but do not want to admit it.
—Not only have you managed to have the physical book, but you are preparing a film adaptation of “Boulevard” together with Wattpad Webtoon Studios, what do you feel when you achieve this so young?
A lot of emotion really. Sometimes it seems surreal to me because I didn’t start writing because I wanted to receive something in return. I just wrote as a hobby to see if I could also be a part of the Wattpad platform. That was my only purpose. My goal at that time was to get into college and that’s it. So, everything that has happened to me has been very surprising. It has been almost unreal, I keep saying that I am surprised by everything that has happened, the way in which my readers continue to receive the second book. Some who were with me from the beginning are with me now and it’s nice to grow up with them. They are watching something grow that they also saw being born.
—Almost six years have passed since the creation of “Boulevard”, how do you feel that you have evolved both as a person and as a writer?
As a person I think I have learned to understand many things that happen in life. Whereas, as a writer, I like to learn. Currently, my interests in writing are other, I would like to try other genres, get out of romance. I don’t want to pigeonhole myself. I would like to try something else because sometimes it is good to try something different and see how it goes.
—In the style of Anna Todd, creator of the “After” saga, do you define yourself as a Wattpad star?
I feel like someone who is writing for other people. I feel that I am growing with many readers who accompany me. Maybe I feel like a star or an important figure on Wattpad, not yet. Maybe at some point. For now I still feel normal, I feel that nothing has changed since the girl who was writing on Wattpad, and that she continues to do so, only that she continues to learn.
—Do you think you could have connected with readers if you published directly with a publisher?
I think not. I feel that Wattpad gave me tools to be more intimate with my readers. They are also people who have followed me since before and I can chat with them. For example, on Wattpad I wrote some messages at the end of the chapter asking how they were and we could talk in the comments. Instead, in the physical book you can’t do that. The relationship I was going to have with my readers was not going to be as intimate as I have through Wattpad.
—Your second time here in Lima, and you arrive to present “Boulevard, after him”, how do you experience this opportunity? How do you feel the atmosphere for your arrival at the FIL?
I am very nervous because the last time there were little things (altercations) and the situation was intense. I was too surprised. Now I hope that everything is calmer, more orderly and that I also have time to get to know each person who attends. May they leave with a nice memory. I will receive them with a smile, sign them and leave with a good taste in my mouth, and so will I.
—More than 300 people have signed up to have your autograph at the Lima International Book Fair…
It makes me self-conscious and scares me, but it also makes me too excited because I keep saying that I find it very surprising that the book or I, I don’t know which one, makes readers want to come. It’s pretty, but it still scares me (laughs).
—Finally, what do you recommend to all those young people who, like you, want to start their path in writing?
I have always said that they write what one likes, what one wants. Do not get carried away by the comments, because in the end you are writing for yourself. The point of writing is not to please others if you are not liking yourself. If you like it and you are doing it from the heart, rest assured that others will like it and you will connect with them through what you are going to narrate. It is normal for you to have insecurities, but the smart thing is to know how to control it and say “I am the one who controls my emotions and decides what to do”. You have to dare because if it doesn’t work, you keep the experience; but if it works. You don’t have to stay with a “would have” or a “maybe”. So go ahead. I hope that anyone who wants to fulfill her dreams or who has one in mind will do so. I may not be present there, but spiritually yes and I will be celebrating.
Lima International Book Fair 2022
Flor M. Salvador
The Wattpad author will be at FIL Lima 2022 presenting her book “Boulevard. After him.”
The book signing will take place this Saturday, August 6 and Sunday, August 7. The activity is run by Penguin Random House.