Why don’t you start by telling us a little bit about you?
I live in Fort Wayne, Indiana with my wife , our daughter and our three dogs. I was born and raised in Caracas, Venezuela, were I got a Law degree. Sadly I hate it, so in October 2000 I decide to move to the US and get an MBA. After that I went into Sales and Marketing and have done that for the last seven years. That’s the formal me.
I knew I wanted to be a writer when I was 14. At that time I wrote mostly poetry. I started writing my first novel in 1993 and finished it in 1994. At that time I didn’t know about many things, like what makes a novel is not the writing of the novel but the amount of times you re-write it. People around me convinced me that being a writer was a mistake, and the probability I would make it was nearly nonexistent, so I went into Law. I love to read about it, but hate the practice. At the time, I didn’t know better, so I quit writing, when onto learn English (that was October 2000) and get serious. The result was an MBA.
With the help of a coach, I begin in 2009 to look a new direction, and open the Pandora Box where I hide my dreams to be a writer. Being a Writer is a scary thing, it is hard to see the empty page, it’s scary to listen to yourself, there are days when you feel incredible and days that you feel that you should abandon. I have learned to write on both, especially on the days that I think I should abandon.
There is a song in Spanish called the Story of the chair. It warns you that when you are following your heart and pursuing your dreams there is going to be a dangerous chair that will invite you to sit; to give up. I sat in that chair for ten years, waiting for the perfect moment, and is hard to stand up again. That moment for me was when I decided to follow my heart and pursue writing in 2009.
I understand you have a novel that is already out. Why don’t you tell us about it?
I began writing “The Writer” on November 2009, for NanoWrimo; and simply delete the first manuscript (55,000 words), it was awful. I began the second one in January 2010 and it took me three more months to reach the first draft. It was awful too. So I dump again 59,000 words. In April I begin the third Manuscript of the writer, and that is the novel that I self-published in May 2011.
George Mason published the three books that made him famous. His secret is that he never wrote any of them, and when a fourth one shows up he decides to destroy it. That generates an adventure of intrigue, crime and mystery. George runs looking for the missing clues putting his life and the life of those around him in great danger. Will George succeed or be the protagonist of a fifth manuscript?
To buy the book, click here >>
My characters come to life, and sometimes they are naughty and do things that I don’t want them to do. I listen to them (the voices are real 😉 It’s hard to agree they are a figment of your imagination.
I love it when my characters listen; it makes my job so much easier, but often times they are stubborn, and do what they want. Sometimes that is good, because they help make the story develop other times they must listen. If George Mason (the main character of ‘The Writer’) refused to open that envelope, I would had never been able to write the story.
The choice to self publish or go the traditional route is always an interesting one. Why did you decide to self publish?
In When Harry met Sally there is a moment that Harry told Sally this:
Harry Burns: when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.
That’s exactly how I felt when I realized that I wanted to spend the rest of my life as a writer. I want it the rest of my life to start as soon as possible, and waiting for the big publisher and agent in 2011 may not be as critical as it was fifty years ago. Also, there is something great on the do it yourself part of self publishing. It’s about quality, and you can define what it is.
Where do you get your ideas?
Ideas come from writing. The more I write the more ideas that come to me. I think it is because new ideas love to come and distract you from the one you have in hand so you don’t finish. When I began writing “The Writer” I had so many ideas, but I told myself every time, you can write that one after you finish this book, but not before.
So I have learned to simply write and focus on the story on hand. Regardless of how long it is, I keep going. It’s hard most days, and I hope get’s easier over time, but what keep me going is that I remember that I let this dream got away once, and I miss it, so keep this dream alive keep me going, every day.
We all have the days where we question our own abilities. How do you get through those?
In my particular case, I get more days of negative talk than positive one. I told you about the chair compelling you to stop. My chair talks in a negative way. It wants me to sit and stop writing, because if I stop writing, I may spend more time there. I instead write more…
There are a couple of times since 2009 that I have wanted to quit, but the pain of quitting had been higher than the pain of continuing.
When I have days that I feel miserable, I put on music and write. It doesn’t matter if is trash, I write. That’s what I do, because I choose to be a writer that writes.
There is a part on “The Writer” that a character (FBI Agent Castro) tell to the main character (George Mason) the following:
What makes a writer a writer is not publication; it is the amount of things he has written. Some famous writers never published while they were alive, some were never recognized, some didn’t even have a chance, but they wrote, and that was what defined them as writers, not the product, not the stories, not the novel, but the fact that despite everything, they wrote, and wrote”, and so silence took over until George said, “What if I fail?”
That’s the important question to answer. How do you define failure? Anything that doesn’t fit in your definition is in some way success. For me success is writing every day.
Editing is always a challenge, but I would imagine that writing for an American market when it isn’t your primary language must be especially difficult. What does that process look like for you?
I edit until I get myself lost in the story, which in the case of “The Writer” took seven drafts. After I edit, I send it to an editor, and when it comes back, I go again over it. Beta readers come next, and if the answer from them is don’t burn it, I do one last re-write and work toward publication.
How do you deal with writers block?
I don’t let writers block grow. If I can’t write fiction then I write a blog post. If I can’t write either of those, I journal. The important thing is to write more than 1000 words every day. I make sure that I write down how much I write every day. I want to be a successful writer. Successful writers don’t get block, they write trough it.
A writer is a person that shows every day to work and write even when he is in pain, when he had no ideas, when the last thing he want to do is be there. The more you show up, the more the muse will want to come with you. I have learn that the more you write, the easier it is, and the more you enjoy it. It’s harder to write the first 100 words than the last 100 of the day, every day.
What advice do you have for others that are considering joining you on this rocky path?
Run, Run fast, and far away, unless you are willing to die from the most horrible pain and desolation… but if you can’t run and are coming here to learn and write, learn to enjoy the pain, the noise, the self doubt, the desolation and show up every single day and write. This is either something you do or you don’t.
In the words of Master Yoda, “You can only see the magic after you have endure the pain.”
Thank you Augusto for a great interview. I can say that your interview moved me to tears, while I was editing it. I can only hope that my readers can sense your struggle and determination.
Tell us where and how we find you. Twitter, face book, blogs, websites, etc.
My blog: www.augustopinaud.com