I’m a writer. I’m an author.
I’m an imperfect Christian.
My work is sometimes dark, and yet our world often appears in such a shade. I pray that we learn to face the darkness in our own lives and in the lives of those around us, and while doing so also learn to bear light and responsibility to help alleviate that darkness.
I’m aloof, constantly dreaming up characters, scenes, and plots. Stories, both fictional and real, are important to me.
My vision is to evoke contemplation and self-reflection. Our opportunities to reflect on our own depths or to search the heavens often only happen after we mull over a catastrophe, while we are stuck in a hospital, or simply on our way back home from a rough day. Too often we turn to a distraction instead of facing the great unknown, the complexity of our lives, the lives of those around us, the complexity of this great and strange world we live in.
Take my hand, plunge with me into the depths, as far as we are able to go.
Author Q&A-Get To Know Me
25 Good Questions to Ask an Author
- What is the first book that made you cry?
- The one that I can remember is Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. I commend Rowling for doing such a great job for the character development she did in this series that earned a lot of emotional stake from her readers. I believe I was on a road trip with my family when I picked up and put down this book…perhaps the long tiring journey put me in a vulnerable place to be so impacted by this read.
- Does writing energize or exhaust you?
- Writing energizes when I have a fresh new chapter or scene that I’ve been looking forward to write. I also find a lot of momentum when writing dialog for my characters.
- Writing becomes exhausting when you know you have a long chapter ahead of you or when you are writing about something you know you should research about first. The mental energy needed to do all the set-up can leave me spent by the time I’m writing my first paragraph.
- What is your writing Kryptonite?
- Insecurity. It manifests in writing at times as feeling a pressure to overexplain so that I know my audience sees what I am seeing. What I have found helpful is reminding myself that in the game of pretend all parties are using the same narrative tools (plot, characters, symbols, objects) but will color in the lines of the imagination using their own shades and utensils.
- Do you think someone could be a writer if they don’t feel emotions strongly?
- Yes, and for good reason.
- We can all be trained to feel our emotions and more importantly identify them. There’s a temptation we might have to suppress or ignore what gets under our skin, but an emotion is like a nerve: it tells us what we are experiencing.
- When I discovered the effect of mirror neurons in our brains, I found that despite being a cerebral individual that I absolutely have capacity to empathize. The challenge is we don’t freely empathize with everyone and all circumstances, especially when they are foreign and unexperienced to us.
The key to getting in touch with feelings to write with emotions (really to get into the skin and nerves of our characters) is imagination and curiosity.
- If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
- Always ask yourself what the why is to what you write. What message are you called to get across. A flashy scene with an intriguing plot is mere entertainment. Write something that speaks something profound and needed.
- What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?
- In high school, I’d often write metaphors, short stories, and episodic chapters of my friends and our struggles. I’d get their feedback, and sometimes I was on target with what we were all experiencing and sometimes it fell through as being too allegorical or not capturing their perspective.
- Some of the most stark chapters and stories I wrote were when I was experiencing some form of emotional pain, and those pieces caught the attention of my friends the most.
- As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
- I feel an affinity with the sea despite my fear of water. I’m inclined to say the sperm whale. It’s a great literary symbol used from Scripture to some classic literature, movies, etc. The sperm whale is the best example I can think of that enjoys and typically lives at the surface of the water but also makes deep dives into the depths to hunt for its prized food. Sperm whale often come up with scars after these deep dives from the squid they hunt. It’s an animal that reminds me I can only stay aloof and within my dreams for so long before I need to come up for air, for sunlight, to protect myself from the dangers of the abyss.
- How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
- From elementary & middle school: 1 Finished & 3 unfinished, all lost
- From high school: 1 barely finished and adopted out, and 1 half-finished
- From college: 3 unfinished, 1 of which I plan to return to in earnest
- I’ve dabbled in short stories as well, all of which seem to have gone missing as well
- What does literary success look like to you?
- The humble part of me says changing just one life or perspective around in a positive, godly direction.
- The pragmatic part of me says making more than what writing & publishing costs
- The dreamer part of me says global distribution
- What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
- In terms of total hours, I’d estimate a couple days of research
- A lot of my books have firearms in them and explore new and upcoming technology. The Youtube channel I find myself returning to are “Demolition Ranch” for an illustration of caliber of guns and their stopping power.
- Do you view writing as a kind of spiritual practice?
- I admit I have to remind myself that my passion for writing is a gift from God, so I have to give Him glory and ask Him to bless my work before I begin writing
- Plotting a story especially I feel has a spiritual component. Our human psyche constantly wrestles with themes, archetypes, and symbols to understand God’s creation and the narrative of humanity trying to find its place in His Kingdom. Other religions and myths have been wrestling with plots and stories for a long time, and I don’t doubt that this was a spiritual practice for them too.
- What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
- Wondering if you are being genuine. We were asked to read a “coming of age” story of a teenage boy in high school. It was written by a female author, and I found the perspective she had was rather base and over simplified. Since reading that story, I’ve always wanted to make sure my writing in a 3rd person limited female perspective is not over simplified.
- How many hours a day do you write?
- Most of my writing happens at night, and I would say I write 3-5 days a week as of now.
- I’d estimate 2-4 hours a night.
- What did you edit out of your first book?
- I almost edited out the bank heist, but it’s a dear chapter to me and has become my token “teaser” chapter to whet the appetite of my readers (I tell people to skip to that chapter if they want to get a feel for the book)
- A lot of content edited out in the first couple of drafts were chapters where characters had their own spotlight instead of showcasing them and their teammates and dynamic together.
- I also edited out a lot of backstory and unnecessary characters that I found could be featured in future books
- Have you read anything that made you think differently about fiction?
- Listened to, yes, but not just about fiction, but about worship, about reading, about reality itself.
- Listening to Jonathan Pageau on Youtube has helped me see storytelling not in terms of mere entertainment and making light of symbols in literature. His series, the Symbolic World, challenges his audience to see stories, events, and religion not on face value.
- How do you select the names of your characters?
- I really try to blend three elements when naming characters: intuition, references, and etymology
- It’s easy to get stuck into a mold of naming a character literally after what they represent, but sometimes it really pays off (babynames.com has been perhaps my most popular go to over the years)
- Other times I try to use a name that means something to me, be it through someone I knew/know, referencing figures in art be it fictional or real
- Lastly, a lot of the time I have gone with my gut on a name that just pops out at me and gets me to say, “yeop, that’s his/her name.”
- Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?
- Sometimes I hide subtle references to friends and family, and they know it when they see it
- I imagine it’s impossible for any writer to not end up imbuing something private about themselves into their characters
- What was your hardest scene/chapter to write?
- Without giving away its content, Marina’s chapter in Part 2 when we get into her backstory/flashback.
- What was challenging was writing an atmosphere that was just chilling enough without being grotesque or overly graphic
- I was also very careful about trying to take on her perspective, her feelings of what she might experience in this environment
- What one thing would you give up to become a better writer?
- Let me turn this one on its head…
- What DONT we give up to become a better writer? Already we give our time, our attention, our energy, our thoughts, and so much more
- I’m more afraid of bargaining anything dear & sacred to me for the sake of success
- What is your favorite childhood book?
- The Monster At The End Of This Book
- Features Sesame Street Character Grover. It’s fun as a kid, and insanely profound as an adult.
- What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?
- Writing while having a full-time job
- Does your family support your career as a writer?
- My wife has been nothing but supportive. I am ever grateful to God for this!
- If you had to do something differently as a child or teenager to become a better writer as an adult, what would you do?
- Read a greater range of genres and different authors
- How long on average does it take you to write a book?
- My first book has taken me 10 years…
- This is certainly not the norm
- Factors that have contributed to this were huge milestones in my life, full-time school & work, and a ton of universe building
- Do you believe in writer’s block?
- I’d like to meet the author that hasn’t experienced this.
- What I found about writer’s block is that it is a manifestation of the plot hitting a literal obstacle (experienced by the author’s writing energy). Therefore the only solution is to go around the obstacle so the energy can flow again…but sometimes brute force works too.