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Where were you born and what were you like when young? Any interests or early signs you would later put pen to paper?
I am the second of 6 children (5 boys and 1 girl). I was born in Los Angeles, California, a chubby kid that loved rice and sweets, which I still do. But I exercise more these days so I am not chubby anymore. I was always into creating things, I loved to draw and I loved music. I always wanted to sing, but I never pursued it. My parents enrolled me in tap-dance and piano classes, but I didn’t have the appreciation for it that I do now, so I gave up on those things. Of all the things that I did enjoy, nothing pointed to a possible career in writing.
Can you share a bit about your journey to becoming an author?
Early on, I would say around the 4th grade, I was encouraged to explore creative writing. I have always had a love of telling stories but like I said in the previous question I never would have imagined making a career of it. The boys in my family all played basketball growing up, so naturally I figured on playing pro ball as a career like so many other young men, but of course that didn’t happen. In fact, at age 13 Earvin “Magic” Johnson told me to make sure to get my education, because pro basketball wasn’t likely to be in my future. He meant it as a reminder of just how tough it is to make it playing pro sports and I took his words to heart.
In the 10th grade my English teacher Arthur Schulman and my creative writing teacher, I forget her name, both encouraged me to continue to sharpen my writing abilities. I guess they saw something that I didn’t at the time. Honestly, my thoughts were still on playing basketball.
It wasn't until much later that I considered writing as a serious endeavor. The start for me was a children’s book for my oldest niece; Sock n Boots Adventures. I got a rush from the way children and parents responded to the characters and the short stories. From there I began to explore a wider variety of topics and genres.
Where do you find inspiration for your storylines? The characters you create?
The best stories come from real life. I look for things that by themselves wouldn’t make a good story, but with some creativity and a cast of compelling characters can be built on. For example, I ran into a good friend in a Barnes & Noble one day. He was reading a book on lucid dreaming. From that brief exposure to the topic of lucid dreaming, my curiosity grew into a book that I will be releasing later this year. The story has been described as a cross between Inception and Back to the Future. The story centers on a created theory that the human mind can interact with the past through memories. I titled it, Actuality. That’s just on example of how random thoughts can spark a story for me.
The same for the characters. I watch people. I see how people respond to situations and listen to the things they do and say. Some traits are interesting and just fit with a particular story. I take one or two basic traits and from there I let the character evolve. Some characters are created or evolve based on the progression of the story. It’s weird, I just try to keep the characters authentic without being too structured in how I create them.
How do your organize your time when working on a new book? Research? Working on Manuscript? Pre-marketing?
My writing process in totally unconventional. I don’t do character sheets, I don’t do tons of research in advance. I just write. As the story calls for research, I do it. But rules tend to kill my creativity. Once I get an Idea in my head I start writing and let the story lead me.
The pre-marketing/Marketing process for me has become refined over time. Once the project is edited, I go about setting up blog tours and reaching out to major reviewers and news media. I don’t spend much time on it, because I’ve found that there are only a few marketing tools that are worthwhile, interviews like these are amongst the most effective. So I would like to thank you for having me.
As an author - what do you enjoy most about writing process? What feels like a chore?
The single most exciting part of the process to me is actually watching the story evolve. Like I said earlier, I let the story lead me, so it is an adventure. A close second is cover design. The cover for Mind Over Bullies is simple, but it’s powerful. So many people have commented on how they would be curious about the book just from seeing the symbol on the cover.
Marketing is by far, the biggest chore. It is a necessary part of the process, but I would prefer to be creating. The one exception is creating marketing tools, promotional items. I loved
Mind Over Bullies is your first YA book. It offers thrilling action, but also a strong anti-bully message. I know that message is one you feel strongly about. Please share a bit about what lead you to write this story? Is Mind Over Bullies the first of a series?
I began reading various articles about “Bullycide” (suicide caused by bullying). The shocking thing for me was that it was happening so frequently that the media had coined a name for it. In fact, I’ve read about at least 3 new incidents of bullycide since May of this year. The news stories I was reading just broke my heart. These young kids felt like life wasn’t worth living. I began to think about my nieces and nephews. What if they ever began to feel that way because of being bullied? I wondered.
So, the motivations were mainly my little nieces and nephews, and just a sadness from seeing teens kill themselves because of being bullied. My hope was to create a story that would point to there being a life worth living after suffering through bullying. One character in the story experiences that and I want readers to grasp that point. And yes, this is part 1 of 2. Part 2 is going to have even more action and one major surprise amongst the other plot twists. It should be ready for release sometime in 2016.
What would you most like readers to know about you.
I want readers to know that I greatly appreciate their support and I am looking to hear from them all. I love crowd reaction, it’s one of the main reasons that I write. Here is a link for them to preview the first 3 chapters of Mind Over Bullies: A MOB Forms http://tiny.cc/MOBPreview. I would love to hear what they think of the preview by emailing the publishing company at Info@KHAMICOM.com or they can tweet me directly @A_MOB_Forms It all goes to the publishers, but I see it all.
Simple, tell stories that excite you first. Don’t write what you think people want to hear, write what you feel. The stories are more exciting that way.
And I would like to thank you for taking the time to interview me today. Getting a chance to interact with bloggers like you and by extension, your readers, is at the heart of what makes writing stories worth it.
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