Please tell us about your books Traveler’s Rest & Communion?Communion was a collaboration between myself and the playwrite/novelist Jean Blasiar. I was Jean’s editor when I worked for Savant Books and we have collaborated on several projects, including a play entitled Lily that is currently being workshopped in Los Angeles. Communion is a WWII-set drama about a little girl, Gem, who has the ability to silently communicate with animals. When her father goes missing in action during the war, she uses her ability to set events into motion that will allow her to find him. The story combines magic realism with melodrama and was a lot of fun to work on because it is very different from the kind of work I normally do. It allowed me to just have fun with a story rather than trying to make social statements or be overly intellectual. It also allowed me to indulge in my romantic side, as the relationship between the mother and father is central to the story as well.
Traveler’s Rest is a book of interconnected short stories that revolve around the friends Tony and Charlie, the sons of Puerto Rican immigrants who have almost fully assimilated to American culture. The book is about the search for identity amongst immigrants and how we often allow past wounds to define and enslave us. The book started as just a collection of short stories which I embarked on due to having spent the previous three years working on film scripts (at the time I was under contract with a production company that bought a lot of my work but never produced any of it). I wanted to return to narrative storytelling, but the more stories I told, the more connections I began to make until the stories practically tell one narrative, albeit a highly unconventional one.
What was your inspiration for Traveler’s Rest?
I was a big fan of Nietzsche and Fernando Pessoa at the time, and both were big on the ways people keep themselves from realizing their potential. How society limits people, how the mind limits you, how we enslave ourselves for no better reason than because we lack the will or direction to take control of our lives. Those were things I was dealing with on a personal level, and that translated into the book.
The most thrilling thing in starting a new book?
I carry books around in my head for years before I ever write them. I hardly ever write notes down, I let the book revolve and evolve in my head and then when I do start writing it I let the story take me where it needs to go. What gives me a big jolt when I first start writing is that I’m finally creating this scene that I’ve been carrying for however long, and to put those thoughts into words is always a rush and very gratifying.
What determines your location?
When I develop a story, it is usually around a theme, and what determines my location is what place best allows me to develop that theme. I also oftentimes have a place in mind when I develop a story. For instance, my newest book is set in Puerto Rico in large part becaus eI wanted to write a story set there, and I found themes that allowed me to do so. But either way, it is the thematic material that guides me.
Do you have a set place you work?
No, not at all. I write on whatever computer I can find wherever that might be.
Where can people find your two books?
For Traveler’s Rest:
Where can people find you?Aignos Publishing facebook page:www.facebook.comAignosPublishing and my blog:www.newerawriters.blogspot.comWhat do you currently have in the works?My new book The Feast of San Sebastian, apolitical thriller set on the Puerto Rican black market, is due out this summer in both English and Spanish.Hobbies outside of writing?Traveling and reading, and I love exploring places, finding interesting stores and restaurants and backroads. My wife and I are foodies, so any new culinary experiences are always welcome.Can you please share with us about Aignos Publishing?Aignos Publishing was incorporated in May 2012 and was created to represent experimental and innovative fiction and nonfiction. While our homebase is in Hawaii our editorial department, which I head with Rebeca Gomez Galindo, is based in San Antonio, Texas. I have geared the editorial department toward works by Hispanics, but I am always looking for authors from any background and especially ones that are less represented in literature (for instance, I would love to have a book by a Native American or Hawaiian). We are a royalty based publisher and do not charge authors for any pre-release services. Aside from regular books, we also plan on doing anthologies every year. This year, our anthology is a book of essays from writers in 17 countries that focuses on the big social issues facing their respective nations.How long have you been an editor?I have been a freelance writer since 2004 and a freelance editor since 2005.What do you like most about working with other authors?I love helping them mold their vision. Nothing is more satisfying than when an author tells me how much I’ve helped them improve them improve their book, and when they are satisfied with the end result and get their first copies, it gives me a great deal of pride to share that moment with them. I am able to help people fulfill a dream of theirs, which is a responsibility I take very seriously, and one that, when it pays off, gives me a joy that few other things do.Was or is there an author that has inspired you more than others?Hubert Selby Jr. and Miguel de Unamuno have probably influenced me the most. They couldn’t be any more different, but Selby’s musicality and concern for moral issues and Unamuno’s way of finding the mystical and philosophical in even the most mundane situations are two things that have hugely affected me as a writer.
What would you say to someone starting out?To prepare themselves for a lot of pain. Really, if you can’t take disappointment and rejection, you shouldn’t be an author (or any type of artist). That is why I hate self-publishing and its prevalence in American society. It is a system that fools people into thinking that writing is an easy thing to accomplish, when they haven’t really accomplished anything. A self-published author is someone who has taken the easy way out of enduring the adaptation necessary to be a real artist. Self publishing says you don’t have to improve or modify anything to be a writer, you just have to pay a fee on a website. I’d tell any new writer no save their dignity and go the traditional route, so when they do finally succeed, they can say they earned it, and it will make them a better writer in the end. Because the publishing process is one that tests your ability to adapt in order to get your foot in the door, and that adaptability helps you improve your skills and learn more about yourself and your craft.
Please feel free to list as many links as you will like I don’t mind promoting your books and Aignos.
The Aignos website is www.aignospublishing.com, our facebook page is www.facebook.com/aignospublishing. Our newest book, Control Factor can be purchased here: http://www.amazon.com/Control-Factor-Patrick-Neal/dp/0986023345/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1359370440&sr=8-1&keywords=control+factor+patrick+nealAnd our book The Dark Side of Sunshine is available here:
Thank you for this opportunity and I hope you and your readers enjoy this interview!