Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I’m a former entertainment journalist. I’ve interviewed a lot of celebrities including Billy Corgan from Smashing Pumpkins, Dane Cook, and even had the opportunity to cover President Obama. I have written about a dozen novels, a couple that have not been published.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
The newest book, “Vampires of Portlandia” (Fall 2020 by Parliament House Press) is about a family of Filipino vampires (aswangs) that immigrates to the weird city of Portland, Oregon. I’d always wanted to write about Filipino lore (my parents are from the Philippines), and when I moved to Portland, I discovered this entirely different world downtown. It all made sense to have the family relocate.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I work a full-time job so I find myself waking up each day between 3:45 to 4:00 AM in order to get words in. I find that the early morning is my “window” for creativity.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
I fell in love with the humor of Dave Barry, and was pulled in by the directness of Chuck Palahniuk. Since then, I have diversified and follow a laundry list of authors that includes Gillian Flynn, Christopher Buckley, John Berendt, Clive Barker, and Nick Hornby.
What are you working on now?
I am pitching a couple of #ownvoices books – one about a Filipino teenager who hides his love of Filipino dances from essentially the world, the other about two lovebirds who escape the Philippines during the hostile Martial Law era of President Marcos. Both are based on true stories.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
I find that Twitter is the most intimate means of connecting with other authors and readers. Facebook seems very distant, and Instagram is a means to show off images. Otherwise, I find word of mouth and doing physical events such as book signings, festivals, and appearances to be the best method.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
My favorite quote is a lyric by Sheryl Crow. It’s off “Globe Sessions.”
“Making miracles is hard work; most people give up before they happen.”
Publishing is a tedious and slow process. In an era where everyone wants things done ASAP, beginning writers really just need to understand that publishing isn’t a fast process. A lot of people get frustrated or plain just give up.
If you can learn to write for yourself and because you love it, you’ll eventually see a reward.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
It’s a bizarre analogy but another author told me this when I was at a crossroads with my writing.
I had left my full-time job to focus on writing, but found myself taking jobs to make money, jobs that I would never accept, like technical writing, or writing descriptions for pillows. I needed to make money so I could concentrate on the type of writing that I wanted to. I contemplated on going back into the workforce.
He said, “Treat your full-time job like a wife and your writing like a mistress. Find a way to manage both, until it’s time to leave your ‘wife’ for your ‘mistress.'”
He was write. I still work full-time, but I’m able to write the types of things that I truly want to, and not that I have to.
What are you reading now?
Nothing at the moment… sadly.
What’s next for you as a writer?
My goal is to find homes for the aforementioned books. Am hoping to get another sold by the end of 2019.
If you were going to be stranded on a desert island and allowed to take 3 or 4 books with you what books would you bring?
This is a trick question. With my Kindle, I can store as many as I want. But if I were to have a bookshelf with only room for three books, I would have “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” by John Berendt; “Fight Club” by Chuck Palahniuk; and “Big Trouble” by Dave Barry. Those three books have been the most influential to me.