I could really elaborate on this one, but long story short, for about 20 years, I dreamed of creating a masterpiece (at least to my own expectations). I wanted something so unique and set apart, no one could ever compete with me. I needed it to be everything I’ve ever wanted. Something beautiful, something surreal and something everyone could take away from. I wrote and wrote and wrote and nothing turned out to be what I dreamed it ought to be... until one day, I experienced the miracle of all miracles (at least in my own life). It’s something now largely known the mainstream, yet what happened with me was so unique, set apart and Holy that the event just screamed for it to be told as a story! It started killing me on the inside that I wasn’t able to explain this event to all to the people in the world in which I know need to hear this message! I started writing the story... and when I was done... to my realization, this story had been everything I ever wanted... everything I had ever longed for, searched for... blood, sweat and tears for... it was the story of my life the entire time. A memoir/testimony of my journey as a follower of Christ. When I was done, I realized... it's my own story... but it's not even for me! It's for you.
What is the overall message to your book?
That's a very hard question to sum up into a short answer. I can tell you a small portion, but I can't give you the long answer because then I would just be writing the book again... but in the Q and A section of Smashwords. The message in general is this, no one, not one person's life on earth is without a reason and a purpose, because my own testimony proves that. Another message is that, if you're ready to be "unplugged" (if you're not already), as they said in the movie The Matrix, the hope in Christ is not far off. and it's not exclusive to certain races, ethnics, other religions, tribes, tongues or nations. It's available to anyone on planet earth. If you're human and you're alive, than the message is for you.
What sets your book, "Born on Purpose by Mistake" apart from any other book?
This isn't just a memoir, it's a 27 year testimony. I was born in 1982, the book starts in 1986 and the book ends in 2013. There's a dedicated timeline of events which give insight into a larger picture, which will then give an important message, a crucial message... maybe you could even call it 'an awakening' of sorts. However, this book isn't a sermon, I'm not a preacher, it's a series of events according to my own history of the things I've learned, heard, seen and experienced. I can literally promise my readers that, if they're not already up on some of this information, they are DEFINITELY in for a mega-big surprise... or they will just think I'm some crazy dude that wrote from the depths of a padded room. :)
Considering the content of your book, do you expect a lot of criticism?
Yes and no. Born on Purpose by Mistake isn't a book written by a professional pastor. It's an account my history. I drive a taxi! There might be some scuffle over the introduction, but it's really just where I stand on the issue of Christianity and where I've come from through it all.
What are you working on next?
I'll likely begin an extension of the last chapter of my first book. I think it really should be elaborated since I'm talking about some pretty heavy content.
Who would you recommend this book to? Any specific audiences?
I would recommend this to anyone with a humble, open mind for starters. However, if I can be more specific, I would say the first chapter would be a real blessing to war veterans as it deals with something that is very common among returning soldiers. As for others, let me give you an idealistic list: Abortion survivors, "accident babies," the grieving, the hurting, folks in poverty, women who have had miscarriages, people afraid of death, conspiracy theorists, people looking for more to life than sports-money-sex and material and things alike, anyone wanting to separate themselves from the cliche mainstream mindset or collective conscience, anyone wanting the know-how on breaking free from the system of social-status importance, the suicidal, the hopeless, the lost... I could go on forever.
It seems you really have a high regard for this book. Why did you choose Smashwords instead of getting an agent to get it into the hands of major publishers?
First of all, I didn't have time or money for agents or big publishers. Secondly, I don't want to sell my book for $15 or $16. I want it to be cheap ($3.00) so that more people can get access to it. I didn't write it so all kinds of corporations get a cut, I wrote specifically for my reader's good.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I'm poor... and I couldn't wait on any big name publishing companies to do their thing. My sense of urgency to get this out to the world essentially drove me to do it myself. As they say, "if you want to get it done, you gotta' do it yourself."
What do your fans mean to you?
It means they "got it." My mission will then be accomplished in them.
How far do you hope your book will go?
From the beginning of creating this book, my motto was, "If I sell only ONE copy.. I've done my job." It's not about money, it's not even about me as a writer, it's about YOU, the reader, 100%.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Thinking of how the content of my book will effect lives and what will come of it all.
How long did it take you to write this book?
Two years. I started hand writing shortly after "the amazing thing" that happened in Chapter one." After a year and a few months, I started typing and it took me nine months. (Funny isn't it? 9 months? The birth of a book... 9 months of brain-pregnancy... hey, not to mention, it'll also be released on September 9th, my birthday! So weird!!)
How do you approach cover design?
With love, enthusiasm and consideration. In my opinion, it should be like a movie poster. It’s got to have all the main elements in it to tell a story on its own. Who wants to read a book that is plain and bla? Maybe the content would be plain and bla? When it comes right down to it, I would hope that the cover accurately represents the story and having that said, the story should have the reader’s best interests at heart. A book should by no means EVER be written so a writer can make money. Even from ancient of days, scrolls and manuscripts where not meant for entertainment, they were meant for value for one another. It’s about giving back to your community and helping your neighbor... whether with valuable information, offering inspiration or just sharing a story in which the world can learn from.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
Since I was 5, I grew up in Prince Edward Island, Canada. Living in PEI, there was never much to do outside the summer, so watching movies was the best way to kill time when I had nothing else to do. This sparked my imagination and I wanted to do something awesome. Around my town, it always seemed like everyone was willing to settle for second best. Nothing ever seemed astonishing or over the top. This town was so insanely conservative in their ways, no one would dare to step out and do something super cool. This made me want to do that great thing in hopes to change the mentality around me. It was my town, but I couldn’t see eye to eye with anyone. I wanted to change the hearts and minds of everyone around me... and since writing was cheap, I set my heart on changing the world... one word at a time.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Yeah, when I was 10 years old when I read the novel ‘The Mystery at Cranberry Farm.’ Oh my, that book took me to a world I had never seen before with the vivid descriptions of the mountains, the trees, the orchards and even the food the characters ate along with all the little clues and strange happenings going on around them! It made me hungry, curious and to top it off, it greatly inspired my imagination and that’s what made me want to eat, learn and write. It’s an amazing, fun-loving book of innocent adventure and even if you’re adult, I give it two thumbs up, it’s must read! (It really should be adapted into a screenplay!)
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I work, pay the rent and work some more. The question should be, ‘what do you do when you’re not working?’ My answer... writing!!
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yep, grade 4, it was called, “Lost in the Woods.” It was a simple story about getting lost, away from civilization and finding paradise in the most unlikely place... the woods.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
My greatest joy of writing is creating a particular message that no one will ever forget. I want my readers to feel what I felt and experience in their minds what I went through. I want what I have to say to stick with you, teach you and haunt you for the rest of you life... with all abandonment.
When did you first start writing?
I was 10 years old, started in grade four... in class. No, sorry, I mean grade one... I still remember my teacher telling us to write something on Anne of Green Gables... and I remember jotting, "Anne was the..."
I don't know. A red-haired, temper-mental orphan from Halifax? Ha ha!
Who are your favorite authors?
Eric and Leslie Ludy, Max Lucado, Rob Parsley and Rick Warren.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
By being free to publish.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.