Hello and welcome back to Monday!
That's right, it's the first Monday in June and it's time for another interview!
Alex Zarate has dropped in!
Alex is an active writer, dedicated novelist, philosopher, positivity advocate, eccentric artist and keeper to the secrets of the universe. He was born somewhere in Texas when a rip in space/time opened a dimensional rift that nearly wiped out all of humanity. (It might have been a little different but he was newborn and hadn’t thought to take notes.)
Alex writes obsessively, only leaving his enclosed bubble of reality from time to time, taking landscape pictures while squinting at the blazing ball of fire in the sky as he hikes the countryside marveling at the strange world beyond his computer screen.
Alex currently resides in the shake & bake realm known as California where he writes, blogs, vlogs, tweets, posts videos, podcasts and Instagrams his pictures with hopeful end of the night thoughts.
He is rumored to sleep between blinks.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
The moment I realized books were still being written. As a child, I heard the same stories over and over, thinking that every story told was just being repeated. Once I realized books were not only plentiful but still being created, I knew I had to tell my own tales.
Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
Information is everywhere. The internet is a must, the library is Wonderland and life never has a shortage of experiences to fuel the creative mind.
When did you write your first book and how old were you?
I was about ten years old. It was my own take on superheroes and mythology. There were lots of drawings and I remember stapling multiple copies for gifts among friends and family.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Aside from working on the computer at all hours of the night, I go out for daily hikes, walks and photography excursions. The world is never without beauty and I am always eager to explore.
How many books have you written? Which is your favourite?
Although I will always love the first book I ever wrote, which set my path in stone, my favorite book will always my most recent. It fills my mind, has the brightest light of inspiration and is the culmination of my experience and passion today.
Do you have any suggestions to help someone become a better writer? If so, what are they?
Read a lot, write more and finish what you start. We must be readers in order to write. If you don’t like to read, there’s not much you can like about having your own book out in the world. Writing is a skill that must be used often. When I stopped writing long ago, it was like pulling teeth to produce words again. I now write every day. Even if it is a few words, the mindset of a writer must be exercised or it will be lost. Finally, if you don’t finish what you start, it will become easier to quit a project as soon as something new comes along, be it an idea, a trend or a loss of momentum. Finish everything.
As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
A cartoonist. I grew up watching cartoons and reading the Sunday morning funnies. I loved the humor and the fun of each panel and scene. As I grew up, I tried my hand in it before progressing to longer stories, more detailed graphics and more involved world creation.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
Both. I can be dead tired at the end of the day and feel energized when I get on the keyboard to join my creations in their adventures. Sadly, when I finish the journey and begin the editing process, the exhaustion returns and I fight to keep going, one edit at a time.
Have you ever gotten reader’s block?
A few times. Some stories are harder to get into than others. I push through when it is a book someone recommended. Good or bad, I get to the end. Thankfully, that doesn’t happen often.
Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you building a body of work with connections between each book?
Both. I connect every book I write, but keep each story as self-contained as possible. I like to pick up any of my books and enjoy the story without having to go back and review the previous tales.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Never stop writing! I gave in to the relentless negativity from friends and family during college, letting go of my dream to be a published writer. It wasn’t until two decades passed that I decided to give it another go. The thrill of telling stories and creating with words was like returning home. I will never listen to naysayers again. This is my passion and my path.
How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?
It showed me that it could be done and restored the spark of inspiration that was gone from my life for too long.
As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
A turtle. I love how a turtle can keep going forward through adversity, seem to be slow on land but moves effortlessly in water. It can also travel great distances and can live beyond our own lifespan. Longevity, strength and hidden talents. A great spirit animal for a writer.
What does literary success look like to you?
Making a living as a writer, finding the words shared have helped others, provided joy and left behind a few good tales to share.
What do you have coming next?
My next scifi novel is Called Drake’s Orb. My next NonFiction book will be Zarate Zen 2 and if time is on my side, the last book of my Urban Fantasy series will be out at year’s end, called Tremors In Time.