It can start in a number of different ways. Sometimes I come up with a title that I think is catchy or interesting and work around it (brainstorm) and see what I come up with. Other times I might have a character sketch. I ask what happens to the character? Why? How? When? Who? Sometimes I see a powerful scene in my head and build a story around it. It can also start with a dream ( I have many bizarre dreams.) So for me, dreams can turn out to be a free writing prompt! I don't have a set-in-stone process of writing. Maybe that's what makes writing so interesting for me.
How do you approach cover design?
Up to now, I've designed my own cover. They don't look fancy/professional but they don't look horrible either. I get royalty-free images online and I use GIMP which is an opensource program I highly recommend. Often times I will make multiple covers and choose my favorite one. If I use an image on my cover, I make sure it's relevant to what my story is about. For example, I wont put an ET on the cover or a whodunit murder mystery set in the 1920s!
Who are your favorite authors?
Vladimir Nabokov, Franz Kafka, Albert Camus, Sylvia Plath, Edward Gorey, Christoper Isherwood, Dr. Suess, Stephen King
What are your five favorite books, and why?
1. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov - Nabokov is one of my favorite writers and he is clever with words. In Lolita, he can make you feel sorry for a criminal! 2. The Trial by Franz Kafka - Kafka has a huge influence on me. Many of my stories are what you might call "Kafkaeque." 3. On Writing by Stephen King - Great writing tips and laugh-out-loud hilarious. Highly recommended for aspiring writers. 4. The Girl in the Flammable Skirt by Aimee Bender - Very visual and absurd. You just have to read it to see what I mean. 5. The Stranger by Albert Camus - I read this in the summer before high school and I really felt an affinity with this book. I'm not sure why...
What do you read for pleasure?
I enjoy short stories, books on writing/publishing (how to, nonfiction guide), conspiracy-related books, books about classic actors/actresses (Greta Garbo, Marilyn Monroe, Jean Harlow, Marlon Brando, etc.)
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I only own a Kindle wifi with a keyboard. I've had it for years and have been using it with no problem. I enjoy downloading my own books and short stories onto it and using the text-to-speech capabilities to hear Microsoft Sam (or his cousin?) read me my own work. Good for laughs.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I will usually use the BROWSE function to find ebooks in topics that interest me OR I will look up specific authors and see what I find.
Describe your desk
I have a tiny metallic blue Acer Aspire One connected (HDMI) to a larger Acer flat-screen monitor. There's an Epson Stylus NX300 printer to my left on the elevated portion of the desk. I have an external Hitachi hard-drive that I never used (not sure why) and there's the usual clutter: 4 or 5 flash-drives, random pens I am too lazy to put back into the pen/pencil holder mug which is a mere few inches to the back left of my netbook, post-it notes everywhere, crumpled up napkins, and a Christmas travel mug full of coffee.
When did you first start writing?
I started writing in elementary school. My writing consisted mostly of horror stories (ghost stories), thrillers and mysteries. I was really into the paranormal. I say was... but I still am. I was reading a lot of R. L. Stine's Goosebumps and Fear Street books and watching all the scary TV shows and movies back in the day. Luckily my parents didn't try to stop me.
What motivated you to become an author?
I've always known that I was born to work in the Arts. Growing up, friends and family would tell me they enjoy my strange stories and tell me that I was unique so I thought: why not put the stories down and share them with the world?
What are you working on next?
I'm interested in doing something with illustrations next. Either a comic book or an illustrated book of short stories or fairy tales. I also considered taking my best short stories and illustrating them and making an anthology. We shall see.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Guilt. Honestly, the first thought I get in the morning is that of guilt. I think of how late it is and how I should get up earlier and how other people have to wake up earlier. I wake up with this awful assumption that I will waste the day so the least I could do is get out of bed... even if I don't end up wasting the day.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I've read a lot about traditional publishing and how little your really get paid for all the hard work you put into it. I liked the idea of having more control over MY work and getting a bigger cut. Sure, the fallback is that you don't have the amazing marketing of a standard, well-known publisher but that's fine. I feel like if my writing becomes something for the masses and catches on, they'll find me. I don't like the feeling of begging (submitting my work everywhere and getting rejected).
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I think completing a piece and reading over it. I guess, deciding that the work really is complete. That it's the best that it can be and ready to be read by the public.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Tokyo, Japan and I remember hearing a lot of ghost stories and even bizarre, gory news stories. These really got me interested in all things scary and bizarre.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I like to watch movies, and of course reading. I also like to listen to the radio. Radio is great. I like to listen to Coast to Coast AM when they have strange topics on like alien abductions, mind control, etc. I also am a crafter (ie. I make crafts). I like to crochet and I recently learned to knit. I can also sew. I've been painting and drawing since I was young (well, I guess most of us have but I stuck with it!) I like to play with my cat, Kiki. I think I'm her favorite person in the house. I feed her and she follows me around. And everyone in my family has accidentally called me Kiki at least once.
What do your fans mean to you?
Everything. Without fans you're nothing. Well, you know what I mean. Sure, we can all say that we write for ourselves but let's be real: we also write for others. I want to entertain people. I want people to remember my stories and want more! I want them to read something unforgettable. I want them to be excited about the next book. Fans are great for encouragement.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.
Fire Boy is a short story about Jeremy Scott, a thirteen-year-old, bed-wetting pyromaniac with a grim home life and an awkward social life. What can become of such a sad creature? (Print length = 15 pages)