When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I spend much of my time "chasing the muse." That's a fancy was of saying, I look for inspiration. I believe there is a lot of magic in the world, and it's all a matter of knowing how to see it by looking at the "spaces in between." I move around seasonally to the various cities I live in. In all these places I have different things I like to do. Either I spend a lot of time alone in nature, or do fun things with my many friends. My favorite time with nature is along the ocean, or in the forest among the trees.
What is your writing process?
I believe my writing is also seasonal. It seems that my best writing is done in the summer and the winter. The rest of the time, I battle with writer's block. I am a spring person, as my birthday is the first day of spring, and I always feel like that is power season when I am motivated to network and party. I am very nice to myself. I find it important not to beat myself up when the block gets me. I try and take that as my time to do other things. But ultimately when I write, I have a schedule where I include walks, research and meditation. All these activities revolve around the writing. The other main thing is, everything that happens to me in my life gets written into the story as somewhat of a catharsis. Every scene in my books are things that have happened to me or someone else along the way.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Someone, my mom of my dad, gave me a blank journal when I was a small child. I began writing a story in it. I can't remember what it was called. But I also illustrated it, which is hilarious because have never had a lick of drawing talent. It was a fantasy about some other world, of course. I always came up with stories. In fact, once they started assigning us creative writing stories in elementary school, my teacher read mine out loud to the class. It was the first time I received any kind recognition from my peers. Writing has always been my best skill.
What's the story behind your latest book?
I have been writing and researching this book for decades. For a long time I regarded writing as my hobby. But at one point I realized I needed to finish a creative project that was all my creation. So I chose writing. This book was always a bit of a psychological map for me. I have re-written it a dozen times, and it changes whenever I change fundamentally in my heart. I went into a bit of an artistic crisis, and cut off my long hair and moved to New York City in the winter to begin re-writing it again. After about 3 years, I finally had what I thought was a finished product. I self published and released it to my friends and family. But after their reactions, I began to realize it was a far bigger project than I had anticipated. I created a world book about all things Atlantis. Then I started writing a TV series out of it. THEN I decided to re-release the book as a trilogy, adding on the stories of the TV characters. Awakening is part one of this journey I've decided to share with the world. I am very proud of it. And even happier to share it with you.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I have never actually tried the traditional route. Even though I have written novels, I am always stumped by query letters and begging agents to notice me. The whole thing feels like a cliché to me. And I am a person who is alternative in every way, always in search of a way through the clichés. In order to effectively negotiate the indy-pen-dance... One has to be an entrepreneur. This is in my nature, and it's always important to follow your nature.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I live an alternative existence. The thing that works the best for me is the ability to go anywhere and design my life the way I want it to be. Any surface I can put my laptop on is my office. But the thing that brings me the most joy is that I create my own sleep schedule. Sleep in the best thing in the world.
What do your fans mean to you?
I wouldn't call people my fans. I think of everyone as my friend on some level. If you like my work, you are part of my network. I have thousands of people in my network who don't even read my books. They love my posts on social media, and they sure make me feel special when we bump into each other in public. When they say they are inspired by my artistic process, it adds fuel to my journey. So all in all, we are symbiotic.
What are you working on next?
The TV series is still in the works. I have a new writing partner, Justin Pierret, who is more of a screenwriter than I am. He and I are finishing the pilot. I am also working on book two of the series. The working title is "Shadows of Atlantis: Initiation."
How do you approach cover design?
I looked for my cover artist, David Lawell, for a long time. Sort of like a Cinderfella situation, except without the love story. I wanted a certain style of art on the cover. One day a friend of mine posted an image of his on Facebook, and I knew he was the one. The funny thing was, I always ran into him at the bar in Venice Beach, CA I used to frequent called Venice Ale House. The next time I saw him, I asked him if he wanted to join forces. It took him a while to find the inspiration, but one day he came to my porch all excited, proclaiming her had met a mermaid, and was ready to compose the image. I knew we had gold from the moment I saw his draft. I have recently met with him in Venice again and commissioned the cover for book two. We're not telling anyone what it will be. But trust me, it will be amazing.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
I have many favorite books. But one of my favorites is Dune. I am enamored with the universe Frank Herbert created. There are definitely some homages to Dune in my work. He has a simple way of structuring sentences, somewhat Hemingway-esque. And I was inspired to re-build some of my flowery prose when I read his clean style of describing fantastic worlds. The messiah allegory is woven masterfully into the hero's journey in a way that reflects modern issues, and yet it was first published in 1965. Sheer brilliance.
What do you read for pleasure?
I'm a nerd. My main reading is my research actually. The only time I read fiction is for research as well. So I guess you can say my research is my pleasure reading. Mostly because I'm fascinated by the concepts I weave into my stories. Metaphysics, Atlantis and ancient civilizations, channeled works by aliens, you name it, I devour it daily.
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