Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I’m a bookworm and a coffee lover. I enjoy watching sunsets and taking a walk along the beach. I also love music. I have composed some songs, and I can even sing my heart out when inspired!
I have written more than 10 books as per my latest count. Most of them were inspirational and self-help books. I have also written two books on poetry, a novel and a children’s book. Before I became a writer, I was working as a CPA and Internal Auditor.
Here are just some of the books I have at Amazon:
1. The Good For Nothing Boy
3. The Inspirer
4. Mend My Broken Heart
5. In Your Hour of Grief
6. 366 Days of Compassion
7. To Love An Invisible God
8. Poems of Love and Letting Go
9. Poems For a Faithful Heart
I have also some contribution to my sister’s Book Series: The Elioud Chronicles
1. Flight Of Angels (Elioud Chronicles Book 2)
2. Clash Of Angels (Elioud Chronicles Book 3)
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
THE GOOD FOR NOTHING BOY is my latest book. I was inspired to write it when I was younger and felt unsure of my self-worth and my purpose in life. I was also trying to explore the limits of my imagination. Through books, I wanted people to be able to travel to magical places, even if only for a while. I also wanted to impart certain values through the perspective of an innocent child.
I keep in mind a quote by Madeleine L’Engle: “You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children.”
When I wrote The Good For Nothing Boy, I was not really aware whether I was writing a book for children or a book for grownups. I just wanted to write a book that needs to be written, a book that needs to be born from within me.
The Good For Nothing Boy is a story about searching for one’s worth and one’s purpose. I remember the times I felt like the boy in the story, not knowing what I’m really good at and not knowing my mission in life. Even though I have certain skills and talents, I often felt as though I’m not good enough. In today’s world where competition is commended and where we need to stand out from the rest every day, how do we prove our worth?
My sister told me that THE GOOD FOR NOTHING BOY bears some resemblance to the following books: The Little Prince, The Wizard of Oz and Alice in Wonderland. When I heard her say that, I was thrilled and scared at the same time. Who wouldn’t be honored with such a comparison? On the other hand, who wouldn’t be afraid?
Deep within me however, I could agree that “The Good For Nothing Boy” bears some resemblance to “The Little Prince”. And if I could say more, I’d like to say that it also bears some similarity with “The Alchemist” or even “The Chronicles of Narnia”. Despite all that, I’d like to say that my book can still stand on its own and has never lost its uniqueness.
It is much like a person who may look like someone you knew, but who will never really be exactly alike anyhow. Books, like people are influenced by many things. I guess that’s why we can say that a particular book is somewhat similar to this and that book we’ve read before. In the end, however, a book grows a character that is all its own. There is that secret ingredient that makes it different from all the mixture of influences it has ever had. A book grows its own soul, and then it is no longer afraid to be compared with any other.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I’d like to write more when it rains. I also tend to drink a lot of coffee! When that is not available, I’ve got to have some chocolate bars. Music also helps me set the proper mood.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
Books can influence us in many ways. They can change us as a person, they can give us ideas about writing, or they can open certain doors for us to follow. Authors, on the other hand, can influence us by the way they live or by the way that they write.
Based on the above, I can say that some of the authors that have influenced me were J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S.Lewis, J.K.Rowling, P.L.Travers, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Paulo Coelho, Kahlil Gibran, Og Mandino, Mitch Albom, L.B.Cowman, Mother Angelica, Mother Teresa, Fr. Robert Barron and Pope Benedict XVI. If I include the saints among those who have written their own books, I could include St. Therese of Lisieux, St. Teresa of Avila, St. Augustine and St. Faustina Kowalska. Last but not the least, my sister Dulce Amor Soriano who is also my beta reader, editor, and consultant for design.
What are you working on now?
I’m currently busy with my latest book THE GOOD FOR NOTHING BOY. Even though it’s already scheduled for release this July, I’d like to read it over and over again. I’d like to see if I can make some last minute revisions that could still improve it. I’m also busy thinking about marketing strategies to promote it to as many people as possible.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
In addition to my website www.itakeoffthemask.com, I’m still trying a variety of ways to promote my book. I’ve tried Amazon and Facebook ads. I also use social media like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. I’m also exploring the possibility of connecting to more people through the Medium platform.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Don’t be afraid to write the book that wants to be born from your heart.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
Do not be disheartened. It applies to life as well as to writing books. If we lose hope, we’d never be able to accomplish anything. Even if we feel like failures many times, we need to remember our God-given dignity and value as a person.
What are you reading now?
Right now, I’m re-reading THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE by C.S.Lewis, and also my sister’s Young Adult Fantasy, BLOOD OF ANGELS (Elioud Chronicles Book 1)
What’s next for you as a writer?
I’m currently already exploring a possible sequel to THE GOOD FOR NOTHING BOY. I think I’d also be writing some short reads related to it, some HIDDEN CHAPTERS that can reveal more about the story.
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?
I think I’d copy my sister’s list for this:
1. The Holy Bible
2. Survive!: Essential Skills and Tactics to Get You Out of Anywhere – Alive!
3. Bushcraft First Aid: A Field Guide to Wilderness Emergency Care
4. Boatbuilding: A Complete Handbook of Wooden Boat Construction