Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in a typical (very) low income neighborhood. My surroundings were old army barracks which had been turned into low income dwellings for families. It was in a (sort of) valley, tucked away, and surrounded by an industrial area. The river, which was down the street, was filled with dirty sewage, oil, and garbage - and we played there. It was our area. We didn't have buses nearby, most people walked (a long way) to catch a bus to go to work, or they had to have (cheap) cars- because of the hours they worked, or because the area where they worked had no transit near it. I witnessed a great deal of struggle, fighting, depression, and frustration- as well as some frightening things, and some abusive experiences. It was, I thought, not uncommon in neighborhoods like ours (poverty-ridden). It was what I believed that 'all of life' was - it was certainly all that I knew existed. There were also some funny moments, and some fleeting happiness... "Fleeting happiness", I believe, is what inspired most of my frustration (the fact that life was only, for all I knew from experience, touched with fleeting happiness on rare occasions). Writing about my experiences... well... I had to get it out, had to talk about it, I needed to be heard.
When did you first start writing?
I started writing very young, as soon as I could get my hands on note paper. Writing was my way of 'taking' about the things that I could not say out loud. Writing was my way of creating better worlds for myself (and others), as well as a way of channeling some expressions of things which were awe-inspiring to me (love mainly).
What's the story behind your latest book?
Right now I am working very hard on addressing some societal issues, and talking to people from similar backgrounds as my own (poor, low income). I am trying to find better ways to address some long-standing problems, and I am opening up discussion for a life of thriving. A life beyond the standard model.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I have always been a writer, I just never had the 'formal' education (mainly because I could not afford it, in many ways)- and I feel differently (than some people) about 'formal education'. School doesn't make one an author, writer, or anything.. being those things makes you that. School can help with some technical aspects, but you can also get help from people around you. I've learned a lot just by studying alternative avenues: reading books from the library, researching the internet, talking to other writers, etc. All of those aspects are what I consider indie. Independent study, learning, and (finally) producing my books. I guess the processes were something which were already on my path. Rather than making a fully conscious effort to "Become an indie author", it just sort of happened - and I am happy to be a part of that group of (hard-working, passionate, diverse, experienced) people.
What kind of writer are you? What can people expect from reading your books?
There are an awful lot of ideas about what a "writer" is. There are also a lot of opinions about what a writer "has to be", or how they "have to write.". I don't like boxes, and those ideas of what a writer is, or does, are outdated.
My books are a conversation. It's a conversation that I can have with a lot of people, in the most comfortable way for me. Just as I wouldn't expect someone to tell me how to talk, or discuss, I don't expect them to tell me how to use my writing 'voice'. I like connectivity and being genuine. Genuine to me is not wearing a mask. Genuine is not always polished either, it can be really raw... especially if the topic has any depth to it. My books are open discussions, why should I try and hide behind restrictive formality?
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The joy comes when it does. I don't force it. There are things which are more igniting of my passion, and it can lead me to slow down and take time to notice things, and enjoy them (which can lead to a great deal of joy for me). Muses, a particularly beautiful sunset, a certain scent in the breeze.. those things can carry me away into (the joyful part of) my writing. I would say that my favourite would have to be [romantic] love.
What do your fans mean to you?
I don't really feel comfortable with the idea of fans. I like connecting with people, and the idea of fans feels more detached and distant. I guess my work (writing) is more of a conversation, one that I can have in the most genuine and unguarded way. Reading allows for time, privacy, intimacy with your thoughts, and it is not as intimidating as trying to converse in a crowded room- where your attention can be limited.
What are you working on next?
I have three books which I am [currently] working on. It's a strange writing habit that I have. I can't just sit down and focus on one single subject (or piece). Like many things in life, my writing has to keep my attention. I suppose this happens by having more than one project at a time.
Right now I have a non-fiction in the works (a third in the "I am" series), a fantasy (fiction), and a book of my poetic works.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Truthfully? Right now I am (and have been for years) battling ill health, and still struggling with money. I get out of bed only because it is something which needs to be done. I would like to get to a point where I am (for once in my life) truly eager to greet the day. It's a work in progress, and I work very hard. It may not be a "slap a smile on" answer that people look for, but it is a truthful answer, and truth is something that I value a great deal.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I am a creative person. I paint, study, maintain my apartment, cook, clean, and talk to people. I also read a lot, and I watch some programs or shows that interest me. I was a tattoo artist (and studio owner) for some years, and I have worked in manual labour vocations. One of the things I enjoy is watching a good thunder and lightning storm, for however long (or short) they are- when they roll through. I used to chase them (storms).
How do you approach cover design?
I am a creative person and I have done my own painting, drawing, tattooing, and textile designs- cover design was not that much different as far as creativity and implementing my ideas into book format.
What do you read for pleasure?
Pretty much anything (except horror, violent material, or 'adult' material). I like books that make me feel good, and I like learning about other people and their experiences (biographies of regular people mainly, but I have read some well-known biographies). I also really love poetry and sonnets.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.