Exclusive Interview with
When did you start writing?
General fiction writing became a new personal challenge when I suddenly couldn't do either of those passions for a while. I hadn't taken up writing (seriously) until the COVID-19 pandemic. Before then, I had written short plays and film scripts for myself and my friends.
What makes writing your passion?
The challenge. There's often this perception that one must study for years (if not their whole life) to become something. While it is true in many cases, I think that some can surpass expectations by simply doing.
How long have you been writing?
Technically most of my life. As I mentioned before, I've been writing scripts for as long as I can remember. I think that we are all writers in one way or another.
What was the feeling when you published your first book?
Nervousness, excitement, pride, caution, and relief.
What’s the story behind your choice of characters?
I draw a lot from my personal experience along with many influential people in my life. I tend to make combinations of people I am fortunate to know personally and fictional characters who mean a great deal to me. For example, my main character Maya is heavily influenced by my older sisters and Nausicaä from my favorite Hayao Miyazaki film.
What annoys you the most in pursuing a writing career?
I think it would have to be the ridiculous demand for too much experience. While it is an excellent factor to consider, the plain fact is that it's too complicated for new voices to be heard. New talent needs more opportunity than it is granted in this modern age. If someone desires to shape words into something exciting and show at least some talent, they shouldn't be ignored because they don't have a bachelor's or haven't written for any other platform before.
How do you get over the “writer’s block”?
Time and patience. Sometimes the best thing to do is to step away from your project and allow time to develop something worthwhile. Epiphanies are often the most significant parts of writing, requiring time to strike.
We all know the writer’s path is never easy, what makes you keep going? What advice would you give to new authors?
Don't be afraid of your first draft. You tend to want your first draft to be completely perfect and ready to share with publishers. The sad truth is that all first drafts will always be terrible, no matter who wrote them. To quote one of my favorite movies, "You write the first draft with you heart, which you then rewrite with your head. The first key to writing is to write, not to think." Your first draft will be terrible, and there's no escaping that. You make it better by seeking outside input and editing. Don't be afraid to take in outside input, even if you don't think you want to hear it.
If you could go back in time and talk to your younger self, what would you say?
Just start writing. Stop assuming no one will care.
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with the bad ones?
I enjoy reading my book reviews—especially the bad ones. Good reviews are excellent, but you learn more about how to improve as a writer from the bad ones. For example, one of my biggest criticisms so far is that I tend to write for a more visual (i.e., cinematic) style, which is true. I tend to write mostly with visuals and movie potential in mind, as that's what I enjoy the most. While I am proud of my particular style and will continue to utilize it in some ways, I recognize that I might benefit from learning more about "traditional" prose and novel writing styles. Be yourself, but don't be afraid to reevaluate yourself sometimes.
What is the feeling when you get a good review?
Accomplished. I'm happy to see when someone recognizes and enjoys my story's intentions and execution. While I am always happy to hear how I could continue to do better, there's nothing like hearing another person share your feelings about your work. It's an excellent way to remember that we are not alone.
Have you ever incorporated something that happened to you in real life into your novels?
I tend to take bits and pieces of my personal life as a skeleton for my stories but rarely do I put any direct connections. For example, my first novel is primarily inspired by my first solo vacation to Oregon. That trip influenced many of the feelings and ideas suggested in the story.
Which of your characters you can compare yourself with? Did you base that character on you?
I think self-insert characters is the worst thing any writer can do. In my opinion, any writer that inserts themselves into their work too much is not genuinely interested in telling a compelling story but only in venting their baggage at the cost of readers' patience and desire for a compelling escape from the real world.
However, if I were to name any character relatively close to myself, it would probably be Inari the Fox. Despite writing her as female, I identify with her more than with any other characters. Like her, I consider myself playful, eager to help and enjoy being the silly adult appealing to children.
What do you think, the book cover is as important as the story?
The cover should give as much information about the kind of story the reader is in for as possible. It should draw their attention and make them feel the story is worth it! It's the first thing they will see and will likely determine their decision to pick up the book.
Do you connect with your readers? Do you mind having a chat with them or you prefer to express yourself through your writing?
I enjoy chatting with folks who have read my story and hearing their input. I am always interested in listening to feedback and discussing how the story resonated with them. This not only allows me to learn how my writing has reached someone, but it also gives me some much-appreciated insight into how I may improve myself. I honestly wish it was easier to do.
How do you feel when people appreciate your work or recognize you in public?
I haven't had that experience yet, but I'll be glad to share my feelings about it when it happens.
Who is your favorite author? Why?
What’s the dream? Whom would you like to be as big as?
I want to make a decent living with my artistic abilities alone. Be it a writer, actor, or critic, I don't have a preference. I want to survive the modern world through my choice of arts.
Would you rewrite any of your books? Why?
I would likely rewrite my first novella, "A Most Mutual Bond." While I am still proud of that story and what it means to me, I don't deny that it could use much more improvement and additional material for better story texture and character development. Maybe I'll revisit that story someday.