4 Questions from Draven Katayama (loudlysilent)

Yesterday, a friend of mine thought it would be fun to send on over some interview questions for me to answer on my blog, which is what I’m taking the time to do today.  From this interview, you will learn even more details about my impending novel, as well as a few details about me in general.  This is the first time I’m posting an interview on this blog, so this is quite interesting for me- especially since I’m hardly ever the one being interviewed!

As for the interviewer who sent me these questions, that would be my lovely friend, Draven Katayama (loudlysilent).  For those who are unfamiliar with him, he is a comic book enthusiast.  He writes regularly for Geeked Out Nation as well as Newsarama.  He is also an avid blogger- he’s actually been blogging longer than I have.  You can find him here on his website as well as his Tumblr too.

DK: I’ve been following your blog since its inception, and you’ve been antsiness-inducingly (to me) cryptic about revealing details of your book!  So, let’s talk about your book: What was the genesis of your idea for this book?

LL: The genesis of the book came about in September 2012 when I entered a short story to a writing contest held by San Jose State University.  The story never made it through to the final rounds, but that turned out to be a blessing in disguise.  Within the months following, I came up with more short story ideas, and it was incredible for me because before, I had been dry on writing projects and ideas for quite some time.  I realized where this was going, and so by December of that year, I officially began pursuing the book.

For a while, I was firm on the idea that I was writing a short story collection.  However, unlike normal short story collections, there were some stories where the certain characters would make appearances in, and some characters would be related- whether in the form of friendship or family bondage- to other characters.  It was also during the early stages of writing the book that I read several of David Mitchell‘s novels and it was his books- in particular Ghostwritten and Cloud Atlas– that allowed me to see that there are such books where there could be several narratives intertwined and connected amongst each other in their own unique ways.  I also was introduced to Tim Kring‘s television work as well- with shows like Heroes and Touch– that also incorporate that element of interconnectivity amongst characters.

It’s with those elements in mind that by the time I was halfway done with writing the book, I realized that this was no short story collection I was dealing with.  I was writing a novel for sure!

DK: You’ve read a lot of [Haruki] Murakami in the past year — The Elephant Vanishes, After Dark, Kafka on the Shore… Do you have new or different thoughts or ways of thinking, in general and particularly about writing, since reading him?

LL: Absolutely!  I think it’s showed that not all writers have the answers to why certain things happen.  Anyone who has read Murakami will know that he tends to leave certain plot maneuvers open-ended.  I don’t know if it’s a way to allow the reader to think what could have happened or what.  Either way, he- along with David Mitchell- have been reassuring to me that I don’t always have to have answers and motives for every plot device or decision that I use or make in my writing.  Sometimes- in my opinion anyway- it’s even more effective and mysterious to leave things such as that a little loose.

DK: When I last interviewed you in October 2012, you were the producer of a performance of Dustin Lance Black’s “8.” How did you get involved with theatre, and is there anything theatre-related that you would like to do in the future?

LL: Theatre is something that kind of crept up on me.  I guess I first gained interest in it when I was about ten, when my elementary school did a production of “Hello Dolly.”  There was something about seeing a live performance that I found to be very effective.  Since then I’ve dabbled in several aspects of theatre- tech and stage hands, acting, writing, PR, videography, etc.- and I guess in that regard, I’ve become quite a bit well rounded in that area of interest.  I’m actually minoring in Theatre in college right now and I will be completing that, along with my major, this fall.

It’s been a while since I actually acted in a play, so I wouldn’t mind doing that again.  I also would find it really interesting to get around to writing a play eventually as well.  I guess recently, that’s sort of come true.  My editor teaches drama at an alternative school in my hometown and there’s this one chapter from my book that she liked so much, she’s adapting it into a short play for her students to do!

DK: I’ve been thinking a lot about happiness, and how many people keep so busy, they don’t take the time to pamper themselves. As some writers have noted, we often wish others would treat us well — and they usually don’t — but we don’t treat ourselves well. I know you’ve always journaled voraciously; I’d be curious to hear how that affects your mood and happiness. How else do you indulge, reward, or splurge on yourself?

LL: It’s funny that you bring up lack of pampering, because a few weeks back, shortly before taekwondo class one evening, for whatever reason, we all decided to give each other back massages.  I massaged this one guy’s back for a few minutes and when he returned the favor, he made a point of pointing out how he could feel a lot of knots in my back.  I guess that just shows how powerful stress can be- whether you notice it or not.

In regards to journaling, that’s something that I’ve been doing for 12 years, and for me, it’s always served as an immediate release without having to take it out on anyone else- obviously when it comes to something negative.  It definitely helps that I am a writer that I’ve been able to keep it up for as long as I have, and it’s very therapeutic in the matters of pouring out your heart without the fear of being judged- as cliche as that may sound.  I haven’t been able to do a lot of it as of lately, due to being so preoccupied all the time, but trust me when I say I never forget.

I don’t really reward or splurge on myself that much.  Maybe it’s because there’s always that underlying notion as to whether or not I truly deserve to do so.  I’m a very flawed human, and I’m trying to get better at not being so hard on myself all the time, especially over things such as this.

photo by Lauren Lola

photo by Lauren Lola

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