Interview with Gabriel Mendez

Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yeah. Well, sort of. I remember listening to the audio book of Chelsea Handler's Are You There Vodka? and thinking, no joke, I could do this too. I can write funny and interesting stories just as well as Chelsea Handler. As far a specific story goes, no, I don't remember which was the first. Once I sat down to write, thinking I could possibly be just as funny as Handler, so many stories just started pouring out of me.
What is your writing process?
I play video games to help calm my brain long enough to start going over story ideas. Somehow, I become very zen when shooting zombies or hunting treasure. When I've got some good ideas, I start to build outlines in my head. Then, I eat tons of candy and cake and procrastinate for as long as I can. Maybe I'll watch a movie or two. If I'm still feeling good about the story after ignoring it for a while then it's a keeper.
Personally, I NEVER stop writing a story until it has an ending. If that means not sleeping for a few days, then so be it. For me, once the writing begins, I build a momentum where ideas and jokes are just coming to me at lightening speed and I don't EVER want to waste that. It's so hard to regain the same kind of mood or headspace you were in when you were on fire blazing through a great story.
Also, I NEVER force it. Sometimes I'll tell myself, "today I'm going to write." Doing that just builds expectations in my head. If I can't write when I said I would, then I feel disappointment and shame. It's best to just let it happen when it happens. Also, Since my stuff is funny, if I'm not in a funny mood, then my jokes will not land and the story suffers.
Finally, I edit as I go. This is a huge no-no and a terrible habit any writing teacher will tell you to immediately break, but it works for me. For some people it tends to hurt there momentum and they lose ideas or focus. In my marathon style of story writing, editing as I go is the equivalent of taking a pause to run in place. I may not be going anywhere, but I have chance to take in and appreciate the scenery.
How do you approach cover design?
K.I.S.S.: Keep it simple, stupid. I do my best to approach everything with simplicity. Yes, the cover is the first thing people will base their choice to buy or read the book, but there's no need to over complicate things. I tend to play more with colors than with pictures or fonts. In fact, I'd prefer to avoid using pictures, especially of myself, altogether. The Masturbating with OCD cover image was something that I thought was too good to waste and after a long conversation with a friend, it became the cover.
What do you read for pleasure?
I'm not a very strong reader. Thank god for audio books. Since I'm an auditory learner, I much prefer to listen to audio books, pod casts, and NPR. Really, the only thing I can read with any speed is comic books and microwaving instructions.
The last (audio) book I enjoyed was Jenny Lawson's Let's Pretend This Never Happened. I also LOVE All things Considered on NPR and the Welcome to Night Vale podcast.
I do sometimes make it all the way through a Cracked article.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Intimidation. I just bombard people with text messages, emails, tweets, Facebook posts and phone calls telling them to buy my book or they may find themselves with four slashed tires and a fat lip. I stole this technique from the people who hold my school loans.
Describe your desk
Currently, my desk contains my computer, a lamp, a half empty Dr. Pepper can used as an ashtray, and eight different kinds of lip balm. Above my desk is what's left of my ancient CD collection that I built while in high school, some old school He-Man action figures, and some vintage gay porn novellas.
What's the story behind your latest book?
In 2006, after a series of debilitating panic attacks, I saw my first therapist who diagnosed me with a myriad of issues. Thinking he was wrong, I saw my second therapist six months later who diagnosed me with the same problems. I quit therapy and progressively got worse. I saw my doctor and a third therapist who both agreed on medication and continued talk therapy treatment for what the first two therapist also said I suffered from: depression, OCD, panic and anxiety, claustrophobia, control issues, anger, and hypochondria. This book is a detailed account of how these afflictions affect my everyday life and how I've used wit, humor, and charm to survive.
Basically, it's me making the most of a bad situation. You've got to laugh to keep from crying, right?
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Making people laugh. I never get tired of hearing how I made someone laugh through their depression. It's such a compliment.
Published 2013-12-27.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Ask a Gay Guy: Vol. 2
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 13,720. Language: English. Published: January 8, 2014. Categories: Nonfiction » Sex and Relationships  » Sexual health, Nonfiction » Gay and Lesbian » Sex and health
Some people have questions. Why not Ask a Gay Guy? Be sure to grab 2013's collection of hilarious and informative questions and answers.
Masturbating with OCD
Price: $7.00 USD. Words: 31,260. Language: English. Published: December 19, 2013. Categories: Nonfiction » Gay and Lesbian » Essays, Nonfiction » Entertainment » Humor and satire
A collection of essays about one (emotionally damaged) guy doing his best to make the most of a bad situation.
Ask A Gay Guy
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 16,460. Language: English. Published: November 7, 2012. Categories: Nonfiction » Gay and Lesbian » Dating and relationships, Nonfiction » Entertainment » Humor and satire
After one year of answering questions from you, the readers, the Q&As have been collected to create the first ever "Ask a Gay Guy" book. You can find answers to some tough questions about life, love and some really gay stuff. From "does it hurt?" to "how do I find a date?" you can get all your questions answered here. We all have questions. Why not "ask a gay guy?"