I am fortunate to have been trained by one the top ten writing teachers in the US, the late Leonard Bishop, and author of Dare to be a Great Writer. I owe my love of writing to him. How The Water Falls is my second novel. Although I’ve been writing since my childhood, I have a BA in history. I love studying history as much as wanting to evoke stories. I like to believe that after decades worth of introspection we have learned more wisely than something that happened yesterday, because what happened yesterday affects how we live today. Although I’ve been writing since my childhood, I have a BA in history. I love studying history as much as wanting to evoke stories. I like to believe that after decades worth of introspection we have learned more wisely than something that happened yesterday, because what happened yesterday affects how we live today. That’s why I love history: To learn. To question. To redeem our humanity. Submitting to a moment in time allows us to remember, or to muse even, over our society’s past. Although writing can educate as well as entertain, yet what makes art incredibly amazing, to that of paintings, photographs, and music, it transposes emotion into another form of humanity, and therefore, it is our humanity which keeps all of us striving for an improved future. In addition to writing, I draw, paint, create graphic design, and am an amateur photographer.
What inspires you to write?
I encourage this philosophy: “Submitting to a moment in time allows us to remember, or to muse even, over our society’s past. Although writing can educate as well as entertain, yet what makes art incredibly amazing, to that of paintings, photographs, and music, it transposes emotion into another form of humanity, and therefore, it is our humanity which keeps all of us striving for an improved future.” I believe writing about history in a fictional context can be intellectually, spiritually, and humanely liberating. Fact or fiction, the art of lying unveils misconceptions about ourselves, our humanity, and our future. We lie, we reinforce. We gossip, we self-destruct. We seek, we fail. We grow, we die. But always we hope. To escape. To learn. To rediscover. To reinvent. It matters, all, it matters because we are here. In the spirit of Will Ferrell: “How awesome is that?”
Tell us about your writing process.
First I let ideas fester in my subconscious and when I’m ready to commit to writing, I begin researching about the time period and culture, and once I acquire enough information to get started, I begin writing incomplete scenes to see which part of the story feels right. It often starts out like puzzle pieces where I just pick out pieces and lay down a basic foundation until I start seeing how the story falls together. I don’t work with outlines; too restrictive. I only come up with who the people are, their backgrounds, and how they interact with each other. The historical references comes into play according to their personality type.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I never had imaginary friends growing up, so I didn’t engage with imaginary conversations! I do, however, hear unique voices in my head, thereby allowing these voices to carry on the conversations. Some of the conversations do surprise me, though, leaving me to wonder, “where in the heck do THAT come from?” Especially from characters who are bigots and violent.
What advice would you give other writers?
Writing is not an easy means to make money. Be determined, because it is a long road of rejections, dismissals, and criticisms. Seek support from other writers. Authors like Amanda Hocking who literally have had overnight success are rare. John Locke had even admitted he struggled for a year, spending around $25,000, before gaining popularity. For the rest of us, we must toil and endure! Not that it’s bad thing. What keeps you toiling is the innate belief that you have something worthy to share with the rest of the world. You need to have that unwavering faith in order to endure the publishing business. Money and time are the two key components which defines our endurance. You do need some money to invest into your book and marketing, and you need to allot the time to facilitate your investment. John had the money to spend. For the rest of us on a shoestring budget, we need to get a lot more creative with our time and beg for money on crowd-funding sites such as Indiegogo.com. During intervals of waiting for reviews, network with other authors, tweet, facebook, get interviewed, guest blog, and blog yourself. It is a virtual juggling act at which at some point you’ll start gathering a curious crowd, and then you will start gaining recognition. That’s how you stay in the limelight. Even if just a glimmer at the beginning. Give yourself a time-frame to juggle, then start working on another book. I’ve had other indie authors tell that the more books you write, the higher your sales grow, which makes perfect sense. The more you have to offer, the more you’re going to sell.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
After five years worth of rejection from agents, not from publishers because I never did make it that far, and after hearing a couple of stories of how medium level authors were dropped by their publishers and agents, that only solidified my belief in taking matters into my own hands. When I had the opportunity to ask John Irving how confident he felt with the publishing world today, his reply, “Not confident at all.” He later explained a discussion he had with his agent about the possibility of publishing his earlier works today versus forty years ago, and questioned whether his novels would even be published by today’s standards. When his agent said his work would still be published, John told his agent, “Buillshit!” That night I knew I would self-publish.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
Amazon has the big publishers upset for a reason: they are redefining how books should be published, how authors should be paid, and allowing freedom in both the artistic and financial worlds that is desperately needed in the 21st Century. I simply LOVE it! If I waited for an agent who would have to wait by the big publisher’s standards, I wouldn’t be be in the process of publishing my THIRD book this year, with a goal of publishing a FORTH next year! Seriously, man, power to the people!
What do you use?
What genres do you write?
historical fiction, thriller
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print
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