Interview with Jonathan Aquino

What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Writing is about creating something original. It's about sharing a part of yourself through characters that reflect your own, or about sharing the experiences you went through and the insights you've gained along the way. I feel keenly the need to express my thoughts that I even have a journal. Writing a diary is like a mystical revelation: I achieve detachment, yet my senses are heightened so I live more fully in the Moment.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
As a kid, I grew up reading Enid Blyton's The Five Find-Outers and Franklin W. Dixon's The Hardy Boys during grade school. But the first adult book I read was Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird so it's special to me. Then, when I became a teenager, two other books also became part of my life. I was the same age and going through the same adolescent angst as Finny in John Knowle's A Separate Peace and Euripides in William Goldman's The Temple of Gold.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Wayne Dyer's Your Erroneous Zones changed my life and made me who I am now: one who values his own worth without the need for other people's approval.

Richard Bach's Jonathan Livingston Seagull gave me the freedom to be who I want by showing me that my true nature is more important than how others expect me to conform.

Carlos Castañeda's Journey To Ixtlan is the first to open my eyes about the infinite mysteries beyond the everyday world and made me see Death in an entirely different way.

Trevanian's Shibumi became my favorite novel because never have I identified to a literary character so viscerally as with the semi-telepathic protagonist Nicholai, except for the assassin part.

Shirley MacLaine's Out On A Limb set me off on my own spiritual journey. I came across a battered copy last year through serendipity. Then I found an out-print-copy of her Dancing In The Light too. I believe that "coincidences" happen because there is a Higher Power that guides us.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in the Philippines, in Antipolo, about 40 kms. east of Manila. But I have lived in so many different places since I started living alone when I was fourteen. It's my travels and adventures that shaped my character and brought out the artist in me, so to speak. There was no "Eureka!" moment. I just came to accept as a matter of course that all I want to be in life is a writer.
What do your fans mean to you?
Let me tell you a story. There's been a lot of times when I'd be in a bookstore but I don't have the budget to buy everything I want. I promised myself that when my books get published, they will be worth people's hard-earned money. I'm a freelancer so I'm used to my manuscripts being rejected or ignored, so I am deeply grateful to folks who would take the time to check out my books. I don't think of them as "fans" because I find it condescending. I think of the eBook industry as a community so I'd rather think of them as "friends," and I hope they won't find that too presumptious.
Published 2017-07-08.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Why The World Needs Heroes
Price: Free! Words: 26,110. Language: English. Published: March 15, 2015. Categories: Essay » Literature
"I always remind myself that I'm a spiritual being having a physical existence, which I learned from Wayne Dyer, and not the other way around as I used to. I practice a form of Zen meditation called mindfulness, which I learned from Buddhist master Thich Nhat Hanh, where my senses are heightened as I focus and become fully aware of the present moment, or what Deepak Chopra calls the Now..."
A Wonderful World
Price: Free! Words: 23,610. Language: English. Published: March 11, 2015. Categories: Essay » Literature
I looked at the pile of books for a while, going into a heightened state of awareness. I then reached out and allowed the right ones to find me. I just knew that I was then ready for whatever will come. I found three books that I feel perfectly symbolizes who I am and what I have become at this stage of my spiritual journey. They are about angels, healing and ancient secrets of wisdom.
A Celebration of Life
You set the price! Words: 74,830. Language: English. Published: February 8, 2015. Categories: Essay » Literature
"Water is softer than a rock yet it can tear down mountains without force. The Tao is like water, gently flowing into everything. Water, like happiness, cannot be grasped. You just allow it to flow. It's about letting go and letting it be. Allow things to happen naturally, like a river flows into the sea..." ~from A Celebration of Life
Fisherboy and Other Stories
Price: Free! Words: 30,310. Language: English. Published: May 4, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Anthologies » Short stories - single author, Fiction » Alternative history
Enter a world where unforgettable characters from a page emerge as real human beings. These stories, even the ones about the young telepath and the old man in the cemetery, are inspired by true events.
The Way To Inner Peace
You set the price! Words: 45,990. Language: English. Published: December 14, 2013. Categories: Nonfiction » Reference » Personal & Practical Guides
Why did Richard Bach, Og Mandino and Mitch Albom became best-selling authors? I believe it is because people from all walks of life need to be inspired, to find some guidelines to help them cope with the uncertainties of everyday life.