In conversation with François Bereaud

Our readers would like to know your inspiration (or story, if any) behind The Joy of San Miguel de Allende.

The Joy of San Miguel de Allende is adapted from a chapter in my novel, Borders. I spent part of two summers in that Mexican town (about six weeks total) and fell in love with the place. While the plot of the story is very fictional, the setting details are as real as memory allows. I love the place and hope an element of homage comes through in the story.

Tell us more about your creative process in general.

I don’t know that I have one. I write when I can, less than I like. Sometimes it’s morning, sometimes evening, really no pattern. Each story I write might have a different inspiration: an experience I had, a story someone told me, an image I saw, a character I want to invent, or an idea I’d like to explore. All of those have cued stories for me. All fiction comes from somewhere inside but some are less fictional than others.

Do you have any creative influences? What do you like the most about their work? Does it have a discernible effect on your writing?

Gosh, I feel like an idiot not knowing how to answer this question. There are so many writers I admire, here’s a few. Short story: Deesha Philyaw, Sherman Alexie, Edwidge Dandicat. Dana Johnson; Novel: Dan McCall, Barbara Kingsolver, Jonathan Evison, Paul Beatty. Junot Diaz. Lousie Erdrich. And that’s a tiny fraction of the list. Their work takes me places. Those places cross geographical, historical, sexual, racial, and class lines. They spur my imagination and make me fall in love with their characters. Does it have a discernible effect on my writing? Surely. But I can’t quite pinpoint how.

Are there any creative genres, forms, themes, techniques etc. you wish you could employ in your writing which you haven’t yet?

I’ve written magical realism in one story and I’d like to play with more. I’d also like to write something in the historical fiction genre but I think that would involve a level of research for which I don’t have time at the moment. Maybe when I retire.

What are you looking forward to in your creative career?

My first full manuscript comes out in September. It may sound corny but it really is a dream. I’m beyond excited and preoccupied with plans on launching it. And nervous. Hard to think beyond that milestone.

François Bereaud is a husband, dad, full time math professor, mentor in the San Diego Congolese refugee community, and mediocre hockey player. His stories and essays have been published online and in print. In 2024, Cowboy Jamboree Press will publish his first full manuscript, San Diego Stories, which is the realization of a dream. You can find links to his writing at