Exclusive Interview with
When did you start writing?
I started writing in middle school, many, many years ago.
What makes writing your passion?
There's a connection between thought and words that fascinates me. No two people experience language in the exact same way, and it amazes me how little geographical distance is required for monumental shifts in vocabulary. It excites me when something I write engenders different interpretations from person to person. Even if one loved it and one hated it, or they all loved or hated it, it will be for completely different reasons.
How long have you been writing?
I shall abstain from a direct answer but offer this clue—Mr. Gorbachov, tear down this wall!
What was the feeling when you published your first book?
It has been a goal of mine my entire life to write and publish a novel. I've written a few but allowed them to languish in editorial hell, not having the strength to cross the finish line. The fear, loathing, and despair were reserved for the writing and editing process. Once the book was published, there was numb relief followed by amazement as I got my first sale, then my first review.
What’s the story behind your choice of characters?
I went into this book utterly blind. I had no plot, no goal, just a vague sense of a problem. The characters grew from there. I just kind of thought about what each situation called for and plugged in a character. My first draft was 58k words, and really just a very detailed outline. I refined the characters, removing some, adding others, throughout the rewriting process. That's a long-winded way of saying the story behind my characters is there isn't one.
What annoys you the most in pursuing a writing career?
The gatekeeping. I understand publishing is a business and publishers should choose what they buy carefully. The problem is that everyone has such a rigid set of rules regarding what qualifies that a lot of really great stories aren't being experienced. Language, and writing, in particular, are always evolving. Adverbs used to be taboo to the point of zealotry, but now, I think they're more acceptable. Just not to traditional publishers. Let the story speak for itself.
How do you get over the “writer’s block”?
I always have two or more projects going. If I get stuck on one, I turn my mind to another. I find that while writing one thing, I'll think of something that fits great with another story. When I stumped, it usually isn't writer's block, it's burnout.
We all know the writer’s path is never easy, what makes you keep going? What advice would you give to new authors?
It's a hobby, simple as that. I would love to make this my career, but I have a stable job so it's not the end of the world if it doesn't take off. That's the advice I'd give new authors. Keep your day job. This is an unforgiving business, and for every J.K. Rowling, there are millions of average Joes.
If you could go back in time and talk to your younger self, what would you say?
Date more, study harder and enjoy the precious gift that is youth.
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with the bad ones?
Absolutely. For the most part, I don't think there's such a thing as a bad review. Every comment has its purpose, and the ones which are designed to be hurtful rather than informative are pretty easy to spot and ignore. I bask in the glow of a good review for a bit, but I dwell for ages in a negative one. That's where the gold is if it's constructed well. I compare what the reader said to my own expectations and analysis and use it as a tool for improvement.
What is the feeling when you get a good review?
It's like your first love note. By the time you're tired of reading it, you could recite it from memory.
Have you ever incorporated something that happened to you in real life into your novels?
All the time. Sometimes consciously, sometimes not.
Which of your characters you can compare yourself with? Did you base that character on you?
All of my characters have something of me in them, none of them are me.
What do you think, the book cover is as important as the story?
People buy packaging. If the content matches, great, but we consume with our eyes first. If the covers is abysmal, the book won't ever be experienced.
Do you connect with your readers? Do you mind having a chat with them or you prefer to express yourself through your writing?
Not something I've experienced yet.
How do you feel when people appreciate your work or recognize you in public?
Not something I've experienced yet.
Who is your favorite author? Why?
Way too many to list. Because they tell great stories...simple as that.
What’s the dream? Whom would you like to be as big as?
The dream is exactly what I'm doing. I don't strive to be as big as anyone. So long as my growth does not stagnate, I'm as big as I need to be at any given time.
Would you rewrite any of your books? Why?
I would rewrite them all. They all suck...in my own mind. That's every author everywhere. I've never met one that said, "You know what, I nailed that one...wouldn't change a thing."
If you could switch places with any author – who would that be?
None. I am my own, and they are theirs.