What is your genre, and why? My first novel (Contrition, JournalStone Pub.) was an eclectic mix of mystery/suspense/horror. My love, however, has always been historical fiction (Europe, Dark Ages, Medieval era). Storytelling itself is universal and timeless, but I like the setting provided by the Middle Ages, plus the historical aspect which adds realism and credibility. I lived in France as a youth, and attended a French high school. Then too, I was fortunate in that I traveled throughout Europe, learned the history, and visited the historical sites.
What is your writing schedule? I write almost exclusively at night, and all night, until dawn… then sleep during the day. Not only is the lack of distraction at its best during this time, but I am basically a night person. My imagination flows more freely after dark for some strange reason, as does my motivation.
What are your favorite themes? I find that we, as humans, are inevitably caught in the raging currents of time and circumstance that far outweigh our natural ability to repel. We are left, then, with the choice of surrender… or the choice of hope. Hope has driven humanity forward through the darkness since the break of first light on this earth. Hope has enabled us to overcome the improbable, even the impossible. My writing, therefore, tends to center on hope, reclamation, making amends, and struggling against the conspiracies and schemes of the privileged and the powerful.
Who are your favorite authors? I incline heavily toward the classics: Dickens, Hugo, Dumas. Classical storytelling takes time to develop plots and characters, but the investment is well worth the wait in terms of reading satisfaction. The very best writing, to me, engages your heart into the very angst of characters, whether real or fictional. The very best stories are complex, offering layer after layer of depth. The same is true of the best characters. The classical writers took their time building a story, and also were careful about crafting words, descriptions and dialogue. My writing style emulates their work and techniques.
Why do you write? Writing is cathartic for me, and there is much to heal within the parameters of my existence thus far in this life. I was born Amer-Asian, pre-Korean War. I was separated from my mother as a result of that for 40 years. When I arrived in America in 1953, I was not allowed into white public school (Columbus, Georgia, Jim Crow) because Zi didn’t speak English and I was too ‘dark.’ I gained my citizenship at age 13, but then my adopted family moved to France. I didn’t speak French but had to begin high school as a complete non-communicator during, of all times, puberty and that age of wanting to attract girls. It was humbling at every stage of life. Humiliating actually. Thus, I tended to look at everything from a differing point of view, as an outsider. I continue to this day to view things differently than most. Writing heals me. Writing fills within me that vaporous hollowness and pervasive loneliness that has followed me since birth, caught between two cultures, two races, two religions.
What is your next project? Argus Publishing is soon (November) torelease the 4th book of The Dark Ages Saga of Tristan de Saint-Germain, entitled God’s Scarlet Fury. I am now in the process of writing the 5th and final novel of the series (Cup of Blood… Bread of Salvation). Each book of this series is 500-600 long, so it’s been quite a task, quite a run. When I finish book 5, I plan to take a break, return to Europe, and take some time off. Honestly, I’m exhausted!