Interview with Dan Hayashi

What inspired you to begin writing children's books?
I know our children represent the world's future. They symbolize the core of spirit & promise. Therefore, we not only need to set a wonderful example for them to follow, but must take care to inspire from within them, the best they can bring to the surface.
What do you read for pleasure?
Spiritual materials and true life stories.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
A tablet and/or kindle fire
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Word of mouth and handing out promotional materials.
Describe your desk
Somewhat chaotic.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
North Hollywood, California. As a young preteen I spent my spare time drawing and illustrating people, animals and cars. I fell in love with old black & white romance movies from the 40's & 50's. As a youth, I read love poems and I carried my faith in true love well into my adult years. I found it in my soul mate & only wife - Sue. I felt that this faith in general ideals became the foundation of my spiritual convictions. From personal experience, I believe that all children can be similarly inspired to bring forth their own form of rock solid spirituality from deep within themselves. I also wholeheartedly believe, that naivete and innocence are the virtuous by-products of our inborn, inner spiritual power, which we all need reclaiming or maintaining for a beautiful world to prevail.
What's the story behind your latest book?
An orphaned otter named Otto befriends a tiny hedgehog named Sunna. Together they go on an unsanctioned adventure to the city, which gets them into trouble, yet teaches them to consider others' feelings. However, Sunna's godfather, Mr. Sun keeps a careful eye on them, while his premonitions bring them to safety. It is a story of believing in something greater than oneself, while persevering despite apparent obstacles.
When did you first start writing?
In high school I was inspired by my creative writing teacher. She always told me to express my innermost ideas to paper.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
It has enabled me to produce books electronically which would otherwise be difficult and more time consuming to publish in paper. Although from what I have read, hard copies are still preferred 80% of the time. The predictions are that this will change dramatically in favor of ebooks over paper books in the very near future. We shall see.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Expressing the ideas & thoughts I have always had throughout my life, by a combination of story telling combined with illustrating those ideas and images.
What do your fans mean to you?
With writing, an audience is everything. It is more important for your readers to enjoy the subject matter and go away with a feeling of emotional, sentimental & mental enrichment. I hope to thoughtfully inspire, in children and the young, a sense of unlimited imagination. That all successes begin with dreams, which must be set into goals, we then pursue with perseverance. Fans are simply the side benefit of one's successes in story telling. If I can do any of these things, then God has blessed my pen.
What are you working on next?
A animal story about a unusually small giraffe, born on a tropical island. She overcomes adversity & personal slighting to become a friendly giant and a guiding light for all who know her.
Who are your favorite authors?
My tastes are broad. I love some old English classics. But do not have a limited list of favorites.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Life's innocence and all of its beauty. Seeing children's innocence at play & nature's indescribable beauty unfold. All the while, knowing it gets lost, if we mature - falsely thinking as adults, that we are negotiating peaceful coexistence with others, when we subvert it with stipulative conditions to prove that mistrust of those we claim we desire to share peace. We have created a world of endless laws to guarantee that our word is kept & our intentions are written in stone, whether we truly mean it or not. It is not laws or lip service which has run amok, but our thoughts. Therefore, I submit, our thoughts are everything. Thoughts are the birthplace of how our tomorrow's shall take shape collectively. The ideal of love, innocence & universal acceptance is the only pathway to heavenly coexistence. Call me naive, but the need of brotherly love & universal acceptance has never changed since time immemorial. It's the Golden Rule. Every great teacher & wise man, past or present, has supported this position.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I photograph, paint or illustrate as pastimes.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I mostly read hardcopy books. Rarely do I read electronically, although I do own & use an electronic tablet. I mostly use the tablet to see how successfully I have laid out my children's stories and how clearly my characters and art come across when viewing them on an electronic screen. The tactility of paper books is more ingratiating and pleasurable to my sensibilities, as a story takes me away to some far away place & I thumb through those pages. I would rather hold my wife's hand or embrace my son & daughter, than look at electronic pictures of doing those things.
What is your writing process?
I always carry a notepad. When I get ideas, I scribble them down. Sometimes I sketch a character, draw a scene or write down a storyline. Those ideas usually become new stories when I address them later.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
First novel was The Scarlet Letter, which rattled my mind with its religious condemnation, persecution and judgements. Then Catcher In The Rye, startled me with it's rawness & struck me so indelibly with its narrative power. I looked for characters like Holden in college & found his characteristics, here & there, scattered over multiple personalities I then knew & experienced.
How do you approach cover design?
I always want to depict personalities with child-like naivete. The straight forwardness of their expressions should be insights into the book's possible content.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
My desire to reach young, pliable minds through the ageless eyes of dreamlands and fantasy. These are the glorious virtues in life's simplicity, which unfortunately, only some of us rebirth as aging adults and/or grandparents.
Published 2015-03-01.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.