What does fantasy mean to you? or how would you describe it?- Fantasy reminds me an incredible world, where reality takes a backseat and nothing is impossible. I believe that you people can do anything. That’s why we have creative drive and imaginations.
Where do you get your ideas? I am gifted with an overactive imagination. But like most authors, I am inspired by the world around me, people in my life, events in my life, and medias that are beloved to me, such as anime, manga, and fairy tales.
What is your writing process like? I work as an elementary teacher in addition to Sunday school, running the anime club at my district’s high school, and also summer school. I write when three beautiful components come together: inspiration, motivation, and time. Oh goodness, time managing! I do outline the goals I want each chapter to achieve and key quotes I plan to use, but I also let the characters lead me in certain situations.
What advice do you have for writers? First off, go for it! You are a shining star! Only you can write the story in your soul and the world wants to read it. Don’t know what to write about? I suggest to my students start with what you know and what you love.
Does a big ego help or hurt writers? In anything in life, if you do your best and have passion in your craft, you should be proud. However, big egos turn me off when I encounter them in general. Writers need their fans, people to give them a chance, no matter their experience or level of success. We should love our work, but be humble and grateful to those who support us, always ready to improve and do our best.
What is your writing Kryptonite? Marketing. I really should have gotten a business degree with my teaching one. Actually composing a work? Transitions can be tricky for me for some odd reason.
Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want? I have a story and characters that are begging to come into the world, so I write what my soul has created. I might take certain scenes into consideration for what readers want, but I allow whatever flows out of my being to show itself.
Do you think someone could be a writer if they don’t feel emotions strongly? Absolutely! If you have something to share and an urge to write, by George, tally ho!
Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book? I have a writing style for sure with each of my series and works, but I also tweak them to have their own voices thanks to the characters and their target audiences. I just want my audiences to find some happiness or a connection in any of my works. 🙂
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be? Go get a marketing degree! I am partly teasing. I would tell my younger writer self to not be afraid to write anything you want because you have a rep of being a ‘goody-goody.’
How did publishing your first book change your process of writing? I learned about the process of editing, truly editing and having to take criticisms for someone who wants your work to succeed, but a manuscript is an author’s baby and at first, you are protective of it. Over time, I am more willing to listen, but also not afraid to defend something I am passionate about. Like everything, communication is key to everything.
What does literary success look like to you? When I have someone come to a convention to see me and beg for my next book or a selfie. When I have someone draw fan art of my characters or want to marry Umbra or Jeremey or even be like Val or Stary, my heart is so full, my soul complete. Seeing students I do book talks with come to me timidly to tell me they are starting a story and wanting to write, asking me for any advice or thanking me for not giving up on my dream, it makes me see that I do belong in this world.
Do you view writing as a kind of spiritual practice? For sure. I have to get inside other characters’ heads, people I have created from nothing, beings that would not exist without me. So, I have conversations with imaginary friends in my mind all the time. And they boss me around and tell me what to do. Then you have to research types of flamethrowers and how long an intestine would roll out if slashed open then run over by a car and you start to question your morals. Balancing all this is such a delightful challenge. How can it not be spiritual?
What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex? I think fully getting into someone’s head is a challenge. I am lucky that I have brothers and have always gotten along well with guys, gaining insight to how they would handle certain situations. I think the hardest part of writing as a guy for me is their lingo sometimes, especially in emotional scenes because I know media puts a lot of pressure on men to be these romantic leads, an unrealistic sappy women (like myself) want!
How do you select the names of your characters? Names are critical to me. I always am seeking names that are unique, but still fairly easy to pronounce. And the meanings for the names have to reflect the character, usually their personality or a deeper destiny for them.
If you didn’t write, what would you do for work? I would still teacher, but I also have an interest in voice acting and charity work involving cosplay. Or a tour guide for Graceland. Elvis is my king.
If you had to do something differently as a child or teenager to become a better writer as an adult, what would you do? Take spelling and grammar a little more seriously earlier in life. I waited until I was 15, when I decided to try to write a manuscript, that I needed to practice and care for it.
Do you believe in writer’s block? I have this often! It’s when my imaginary friends decide they don’t want to talk to me or proper wording fails me. It is annoying.
Do you Google yourself? *Shyly raises hand* Guilty.
What one thing would you give up to become a better writer? Stress!
What is the most difficult part of your artistic process? We are our own worst critics. Being proud of your work, the world only you can mold, but still wanting your reader to see all the love and work you put into it. Knowing what you did was worthwhile.