When and why did you begin writing?
I began writing novels in 2008. Before that year, I didn’t think I had the stamina to sustain an idea, no less a plot and a cast of characters, but I did it. After that initial novel, it became easier and easier. I have written seven novels, a collection of short stories and completed a translation. Winter Goose Publishing accepted Roma, Underground and Wasp’s Nest, and I hope they’ll accept the third and fourth novels in the series. Before the novels, I wrote only poetry. kill author published a series of my poems, Exile, in February 2012.
Do you have a specific writing style?
I was never conscious of "style" until after I had written several novels and short stories and noticed patterns in my writing. My descriptions are visual, almost always cinematic. Visual images or scenes inspire me. My descriptions are sometimes poetic and twisted with some form of sardonic humor. My characters are flawed, grumpy, lack confidence, and do the wrong things for the right reasons. I don’t overdo violence and with sex. I rather imply than be explicit so the reader can use his or her imagination. Lately my writing has chapters ending on a cliffhanger.
What books have influenced your life most?
This is a tough question. The books we had enjoyed as children are either a disappointment or much deeper than we had thought when we return to them as an adult. Robert Louis Stevenson and Rudyard Kipling are my own examples of the former while Harper Lee and Carlo Collodi are emblematic of the latter type.
The visual imagery, the Blue Fairy, and the scene of the coffin and the ravens in The Adventures of Pinocchio terrified me as a child and as an adult rereading the tale I realize that the story has esoteric secrets. I sensed it as a child but I didn’t have the ability to understand Collodi fully then. The horror in Pinocchio is realizing the terrible cost of becoming a boy, a conformist and a good citizen. That insight and that realization have never left me.
While To Kill A Mockingbird did impress me then with its narrative on racism, injustice, the character Scout was a shocking revelation to me as a young boy. I never subscribed to stereotypes of gender when I was a boy, which is probably another reason why I continue to find John Irving a compelling author when it comes to portraying gender and sexuality. In Mockingbird I discovered a girl who was a child yet had the insight of an adult; she had a father whom she called by his first name, which was also shocking, and whom she challenged at several points throughout the novel without reprisal or recrimination. During my childhood, authority was not questioned. Scout also seemed androgynous in voice and character to me and yet she was a paradox because she was in need of protection and guidance as a child and not because she was a girl. She had meaningful yet pointed but somewhat innocent conversations with her father. I related to her more than I did to Huck Finn or other male characters. I still consider Scout to be one of the strongest female characters in American literature.