Interview with Ivan Figueroa-Otero MD

What's the story behind your latest book?
My latest book is an adaptation of my first one, in which I attempt to veer off the traditional religious nomenclature, by attempting to use the technological views and jargon of tekkies, to carry the spiritual message to this younger generation. I have attempted this to fill a communication void that now is disconnecting and alienating this group from traditional religious teachings.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Facing the reality of my age and my invisibility as an author, and the fact that my possibility of obtaining an agent and a publisher was almost miraculous, I decided to publish and finance my own book. I thought if I had been successful in becoming one of the most exclusive of medical specialties, why couldn't I become at least a mediocre author. Don't believe me about the mediocre term! I've never been mediocre at anything in my life! I have modified a traditional phrase to, "When the author is ready, the agent will appear!
When did you first start writing?
I started my first book last year at 70 years of age after retiring from my surgical career as an academic Pediatric Surgeon. Although a very successful surgeon, I always felt something was missing to fill a long standing void in my life. Although I chose the medical field a my profession, I had always enjoyed reading and all humanities and social fields in my early college years. The long and dedicated years during my training left me no room to delve further in other areas.
The good, the bad and the ugly I experienced in my career and my initial detachment from my spiritual side and my right brain unanswered calls, after my retirement, opened up the boiling pot of unfinished dreams and needs, that intensely bubbled up in the format of written words. At present at 71 years of age, I have finished my second book and planning to write 5 more in my series of spirituality.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The capability to share the lessons that you have learned in the school of life, so that others progress on their journey, is as a satisfying feeling, as when I reconstructed the biliary tree or an absent anus in a newborn. Its pure joy that also needs the use of my hands and finger to get this done. I feel young at heart again!
What are you working on next?
My next work is directed to a more practical of how to apply the lessons we have learned in the school of life. Here the wounded warrior of the school of life learns to forgive and heal all his previous defeats in the battlefield of life. This book will provide the First Aid Kit to get this accomplished.
Who are your favorite authors?
Feodor Dostoyevsky, Sinclair Lewis, JD. Salinger, Charles Dickens, Richard Bach, ..............
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
The joy of facing new challenges to test the learned experiences of the previous day. The learning experience is eternal.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I practice integrative medical care and acupuncture empowering my patients to become independently healthy (not wealthy). I like to give talks about my life experience and my books. I love traveling and mountain hikes. I love salsa dancing. I am working in marketing a special organic fragrance (perfume) I developed for my patients.
What is your writing process?
I accumulate phrases that come up in my day that later will become chapter headings of a future book. I write my inspiration in very rapid bursts, to the point I can write a book in a week end and my last 148 page book I wrote between seen patients in 2 days. Afterwards the comes the hard work of making sense of this initial inspirations.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
The first full length book I remember was Great Expectations of Charles Dickens, which we read in class. My teacher could make it come alive by his theatrical style. I literally became Pip, leaving the experience of loving Stella.
How do you approach cover design?
I describe what I want to my great graphic artist and make sure it reflects the central meaning of my book. Then make him show me proofs until I get what I wanted.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Relate my personal story with my book. Public exposures thorough radio, TV and newspaper interviews have been my best options. Using FB and Twitter to share my book has also help create awareness. Participating in quality book contests also increases credibility of your quality. Although reviews have been described as a good tool, I have not been very sucessful in this method. I think smashwords will help achieve this goal better.
Published 2015-06-25.
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