Authors, Writers, Publishers, and Book Readers
So I'm in the transporter to pick up this week's featured author. He enters and suddenly the entire machine goes haywire. When we step out, we're on a strange island with a table set up for two, strange colored drinks waiting and the entire world has changed. I smack the side of the console, the dials spin, and then report that we're sitting in the year 2099. I look at my guest and he smiles.
“Isn't it wonderful?” he says. “Think of what we'll discover.”
“Yes,” I reply, “but are we going to be able to go back to our own time. I mean, the cat will need fed.”
He just smiles again and sits to enjoy the drink. Well, what else can I do but enjoy.
On with the interview...
1. Who are you and what makes you the most fascinating person in your city?
The most fascinating person in LA? Me, out of ten million or so people? I think every single person is quite fascinating in their own way. But if you wanted to ask why I’m the most…well, I’m neither a republican nor a democrat, so that cuts me down to something like less than 1% of the population. From there, you can tack on that I’m a writer, which cuts it down further. I write on typewriters while I’m out in the city and often do it at cafes and restaurants. It often lifts eyebrows and causes brief conversations, though I’m not trying to get attention – anything but that when I’m writing out. I don’t like to use cellphones and I don’t carry them, and that’s pretty rare for a thirty-two year old. I don’t like the modern music, movies or films and I could care less to be on a stage with everyone adoring me and surely I don’t adore any actor, actress or producer - very rare in Hollywood!
2. Without revealing a deep dark secret (unless you want to), what one thing would people be surprised to learn about you?
I don’t like dirty airs, waters and cities and I don’t love the world. I think black holes are vacuum cleaners in the universe. All that light and space debris has to be cleared away so new things can share the same place…housekeeping so to speak.
3. What interested you to become a writer rather than something else such as rocket scientist?
I started writing at six years old and really haven’t stopped since then. Working a job is important to a writer, because I think a writer should be involved in many different experiences regarding human life. Everyone should start working as a teen and come to know the value of money – because there are conflicts in money that we all share. Money is the common denominator of human strife, struggle and conflict. You’ve got to work to know it. No hand me downs. No bailouts. Practically every character in literature shared this struggle at some point in their lives. If a writer can work in the most professions possible, then it’ll broaden the horizon of the characters and their conflicts involved in the writing. The more jobs and experiences you’ve had under your belt, all the better when it comes to your creative capabilities. From Mark Twain to Steinbeck, Henry Miller and Kafka, such working experiences clearly defined their final body of work. Maybe there’s less of this issue in science fiction, but only in certain circumstances. As far as rocket science goes, great writing is quite like an invention, writers just need to discover the right combinations to make the vision work. There can and will be mishaps. Walt Whitman re-wrote “Leaves of Grass” twenty-eight times and died working on another draft! There are always challenges, quite similar to those a rocket scientist experiences. All too often in writing, something might come across from one generation to another, simply because more could be improved and figured out. Just like in science! Such is the way literature evolves. Styles of prose change. Rules and structures too. Because of the trial and error aspects to writing, I do strongly feel the creative process is quite comparable to the challenges in rocket science – a generational to generational experience throughout humanity.
4. Writers are readers. With which author(s) would you enjoy sharing dinner? Why?
It’s funny you ask that because I’m supposed to have dinner with James Ellroy in the coming months. No doubt that would be an enjoyable dinner for the same reasons I’ll mention next. But to answer your question more directly, there are two writers I currently enjoy having dinner with. My mentor, bestselling author Ken Eulo (who I’ve studied under for five years) and also bestselling author Robert Ward are quite fascinating authors and all too often know the secret challenges every writer faces. It’s always a pleasure to hear the trials and tribulations they’ve gone through and still do encounter in their rocket science endeavors– the failures and successes rarely ever talked about. Most of the writers I’d love to meet, I guess I have in their own narrations and biographies. They’re all under the ground right now, except for a few.
5. If I were stranded on a deserted island or suffering from a four hour layover at the airport, why would your book(s) be great company?
Well certainly every book I write would take longer than four hours to read. All too often I’ve heard people have read some of my books several times. Once I saw a paperback read so many times that it went from being three inches thick to six inches! No exaggeration. I’ve had people inspired to do art to my books. I’ve had people use verbage and lingo too. So, I’ve touched people before. To be more direct towards your question, I do feel nearly everything I write involves a great number of philosophical passages and themes that can be better understood when reading the second or third time. Often there are metaphoric layers in the writings and these become more obvious in the companionship of the literature when revisted. In the least, the companionship of my work is a good reason to carry one along for a read.
6. Share your process of writing in regards to: plot and character development, story outline, research (do you Google or visit places/people, or make it up on the spot), writing schedule, editing and number of rewrites.
My current writing schedule is six days a week and about four hours a day. A day of rest is necessary, and sometimes two or three days of rest depending on the amount of germination needed to pen the next passages. My schedule used to be seven days a week and eight hours a day. But after studying under Mr. Ken Eulo, I’ve found that I can pen better quality in less time. Often I might wake one day at 3 a.m. and write with short breaks until 9 a.m., and then the very next day I might go to bed at 3 a.m. and wake at 9 and begin writing until the early afternoon.
As far as research goes, well that’s the toughest part. Since I’m not much into historical or very technologically driven work, there requires less of this than with other writers. Most of my work is philosophically and psychologically driven, and in these fields I’ve done quite some study, though there’s always much more to learn through personal rumination and philosophizing.
Outlines should always be on one page and penned in 9 paragraphs containing no more than 20 sentences. Outlines must be kept loose, because the characters will take control and send you off into unchartered seas leading to the same shore. The entire writing process begins with characters and ends with them. My idea is to write the characters first and then revisit the outline for a revision. Always write the characters first. The characters should always tell you who they are and often will do some of that later in the manuscript, which warrants a rewrite, edit and revision.
When I first started out I’d had fewer rewrites, but the more I’ve developed over the past ten years I do find letting things cool off is rewarding. Surely I can understand the characters earlier now. As far as the number of rewrites go, that all depends on the length of the work and how well I felt it worked in the first draft. It’s not out of the question to rewrite a page ten times or more.
Write your first draft as quickly as possible and while you do it, minimize all distracts as best as you can.
7. “I think I have a good idea for a story, but I don't know where or how to begin. Your process may not work for me. Any advice?”
It’s a very good question everyone should ask. When the idea comes, try to figure out why that idea interests you. What conflict is involved? What insight is coming through? Why is this idea important to you and why might it be important to someone else? My advice is simple. If you were to meet a partner over dinner and that partner asked you to tell a memory about your childhood, which memory would you choose and why?
8. I saw an amusing T-shirt the other day which read, “Every great idea I have gets me in trouble.” What is your philosophy of life?
Live and learn, forgive yourself and everyone else. Tolerate and accept differences. Do your best to grow in any way that you can. You will make mistakes, but forgive yourself. Be grateful you’re here and never be afraid to pray. The next moment you live, you are living in that moment reborn. The past is the past, as Ken Eulo says.
9. Please tell me you're not going to stop writing? What's next for you?
I’m working on two novels right now and a set of Haiku’s. I’m penning roughly 6000-9000 words a week as of late. I also have a short story collection of novellas which need to be edited. I also would like to pen another book later in the year to compliment a series I intend for the Captured Mind novel. It’s already been started, and will commence at some point, when the time is right. Very busy right now. In fact, I took some time away from the writing to respond to these lovely questions. Thanks for asking.
10. Where can people find more information on you and your projects?
They can always hop over to the Peter Fogg website at: www.peterfogg.com or www.capturedmind.com. I’ll be doing quite a bit of blogging in the coming weeks and months, especially with the Sports Fractal Theorist, the very first scientific newsletter involving the Human Social Mood Fractal in the context of professional sports teams.