What is the current project you are working on?
My latest novel Monogamy Sucks is an explicit and frank exploration of a Long Beach, Calif. man’s mid-thirties lust crisis and his ensuing sexy, intriguing, humorous journey into the swinging lifestyle. I describe it as real life erotica or reality fiction. The story unfolds in the form of a fictional diary by my book’s protagonist Jake Dalmas, who is seeking answers to deal with his growing disillusionment with conventional relationships and most specifically — monogamy. During the course of the novel, Jake discovers some misconceptions about swingers and new aspects about himself. It is funny, shocking at times, and above all – painfully honest.
I am also editing my next novel about Internet sex and dating that is coming out later this summer on Lazy Day Publishing. It has an interesting celebrity angle I can’t reveal. I am also writing a paranormal erotica story for a print anthology out in Oct. entitled Indulgence featuring a talented group of Lazy Day Publishing authors. I have also started a sequel to my novel Monogamy Sucks, which I’m hoping to have out by Summer 2012.
Did you always want to be a writer?
I’ve always dreamed of being a writer. The act of storytelling fascinated me from an early age. I wrote my first novel called Jake’s War by hand at the age of 15. During my teens and early adulthood, I wrote a number of short stories in the Science Fiction genre, which was my first love as a reader.
What inspired you to become writer?
Really everything. I am really attracted to off beat and unusual stories and aspects of life that reflect the humor, and ironic twists and turns that mark our existence. I can find inspiration in everything and anyone.
Growing up I remember being inspired with stories of other worlds and the way books can transport a reader to another place or time whether real or fictional. I knew that eventually I was going to attempt stories myself, but I lacked the confidence for a long time. However, I still had these story ideas, characters and even whole scenes burning in my imagination and they had to get out at some point. I just didn’t think it would take this long.
What is the best thing about being a writer?
Best thing about being a writer is being able to explore and express your emotions, your notions about life and experiences through the written word. Having all these ideas, stories locked inside of us without having an outlet would be a sort of living hell. Even though the process is painful and daunting at times — it is all worth in the end. There is a deep satisfaction when readers of your work are able relate to your experiences and respond to your characters and stories in ways that you never imagined. The joy of being a writer goes far beyond the glamorous notion of the “writer’s life.” Many of us would (and still do!) write even if our books never made a cent. I wrote my first three novels while working at time consuming and draining day job at public relations firms. I have to write. It is as necessary as breathing to me, and it is truly the best job I’ve ever had since it never seems like a job to me.
What is the worst thing about being one?
Overcoming doubts and fear and developing a confidence in your work so that you will not take criticism personally and allow it to stunt and hold back your vision and dreams.
When we write, we are sharing our deepest and darkest feelings and experiences. These form the inspiration and grist for our literary creations. So we are truly exposing ourselves when we put ourselves out there and share our work. It is something every writer must face.
Also creative droughts can be tough to handle, too, but I have been able to avoid that lately.
What is the estimated number of projects you have worked on?
I have completed three novels — Letters From Cyberspace (which I self published in 2001), Monogamy Sucks, and my next novel, which comes out later this summer. I have also finished a draft of a paranormal short story for an erotica print anthology called Indulgence, which will be released on Lazy Day Publishing in October.
Who is your favorite author?
That is really a hard question to answer. I couldn’t pin it down to one. I would have to say Henry Miller and Anais Nin. They are like the yin and yang for me. They both created two sides of the same erotic story for me — for men and women. Miller and Nin are incredibly brave and erotic authors who dealt with erotic subjects in a time where it was not only frowned upon, but also illegal in many countries including this one. Yet their works have stood the test of time. Miller’s Tropic of Cancer and Nin’s Henry and June
are my particular favorites. Miller’s prose is more blunt and outspoken than Nin’s yet neither shies away from exploring sexual desire and mysteries of love and passion. Their truthful writing is remarkable. I say this humbly, but I had in mind when I started my novel that I would try to write a modern version of their novels. I am still very curious what would they think about the modern uninhibited sexual world that we live in where almost every erotic scene known to man and women is at our fingertips through the Internet. Has some kind of mystery been lost? This is what my character Jake Dalmas asks in the first chapter of my novel.
How has your life changed since you became a writer?
Well, I’ve always been a writer in one way or another. But my life has recently changed in that I have become a full-time author and I am very driven to bring out as many books as I can over the next five or ten years. I feel I have wasted too much time sitting on my recent novel Monogamy Sucks (12 years!!) and my next novel that comes out later this summer. I now finally feel confident enough to truly pursue my writing dreams and explore many other ideas for books that I have put off.
What is one piece of advice you can give to someone who also wants to become a writer?
Share your work online. Writers should embrace the immediacy of the Internet as a beneficial means to expose their work and develop their own audiences rather than wait around to be discovered by an agent or publisher. That’s the future of publishing – do it yourself — whether the publishing industry wants to acknowledge it or not.
What do you like to do besides writing?
I’m obsessed with films and music. So I watch a lot films and have a very eclectic tastes in music. I also read a lot and enjoy concerts, the ocean and traveling.
Have you had any other jobs before you decided to become a writer?
I was a journalist for a number of daily newspapers in southern California. After leaving the newspaper business in the mid 1990s, I worked at public relations agencies as a publicist.
What are some of your favorite books?
Some of my favorite books and authors, include the aforementioned Henry Miller (Tropic of Cancer, Tropic of Capricorn), and Anais Nin (Henry and June, her diaries). But I also have been inspired by Charles Bukowski (Women, Post Office, all of his poetry), Bret Easton Ellis (American Psycho, Less Than Zero), Armistead Maupin (Tales of the City) John Updike (Couples), Kurt Vonnegut (Slaughterhouse Five), Joseph Heller (Catch-22), among others. Each of them bravely and uniquely explored controversial sexual and societal issues in a frank, unsentimental manner exposing truth and hypocrisy alike. I treasure novels that truly take me on a journey and challenge my preconceptions about life.
How would you describe your education?
I earned a journalism degree at Cal State Long Beach and minored in English literature. That’s my official education, but my true education has come from life and work. Life is the true classroom for any writer.
How would you describe the writing “scene” where you live?
I don’t really know much about the writing scene where live in Orange County, Calif. I have discovered through Twitter an incredible and supportive community of writers, publishers and readers. It bodes well for my future books and writing career. I no longer feel so isolated as a writer. You could say I have found my ultimate writing scene online.
How has social media changed the publishing film industry?
Social media is profoundly changing the entire entertainment industry, including films, books and music.
The next best selling writer or literary star more than likely will be found on the Internet and not in the usual places such as writer workshops or universities. The Internet and Twitter is truly bringing democracy and opportunity to the once closed off book industry.
Look at Amanda Hocking. She was discovered through her blog and now has a prosperous writing career. Stories like hers have been an inspiration for many of us writers
What is your thought process like when your writing?
I try to get down a first draft as soon as possible. I give myself modest goals each time I write such as writing a couple hundred words and before I know it I have written a lot more than I thought I would. I think the real work is done in the editing, but I can’t do that until I get down my original vision for my novel or short story or project.
You could be any animal. Which would you be?
A bird, possibly a falcon, since I would enjoy the ability to fly far above the Earth anytime I chose to.
You could have any super power. What would it be?
Well, X-Ray vision might be fun for obvious reasons. LOL. I must admit I am not a fan of superpowers. I remember an episode of the Twilight Zone where some aliens came down the Earth and gave a character great strength and then later great intellect. In both cases, the character in the piece misused the powers he was given. So there is a down side even to superpowers. Now, that I think about it — a superpower that makes one of immune to writer’s block and critic’s barbs might be nice.
What is your opinion on book to movie adaptations?
If movie adaptations are handled by a screenplay writer and director who care about the source material, it can be a very rewarding experience for everyone involved, including the audience. However, more often than not that has not been the case. Books and movies are completely different mediums. Films offer more condensed stories it being mostly a visual art form. Books primarily rely heavily on dense description, dialogue and more in depth story telling and background. Some books are easier to adapt than others, but it is never a simple process. I look at them as completely different animals. A lot books have been made into the movies, but only a few come to mind such as the Godfather, L.A. Confidential, Shawshank Redemption, as matching or even surpassing the original book.
Thanks for doing the interview George. I’ll be sure to let people know about your book. Keep me posted on your next book. Maybe we could do another interview when you’ve finished writing that book.