1. Tell us about your most recent project (written or published). What inspired it?
I am currently working on a novel in between short stories. With the time I have between work and other hobbies it is progressing gradually. I would, however, like to shift the focus to one of my stories recently accepted by AnthroAquatic for his sports anthology Claw the Way to Victory back in June, entitled “A Leap Forward”.
Sometime last year, I had the idea for a story featuring Parkour (PK) a physical discipline which emphasizes the use of one’s body to circumvent obstacles in the natural and physical world. There had been few stories written on Parkour, and they, alongside the numerous videos to be found on YouTube, tend to focus more on the more action-intensive aspects of the sport. Although the benefits of PK are obvious, especially to people largely dependent on set paths and roads for getting around, I wanted to explore the social aspects of the discipline, and what makes its practitioners tick. Like any high-intensity sport, the adrenaline rush is there, but for some, it is also a way to entertain oneself in the absence of other means, and even a means to earn a living.
Although PK looks glamorous in film and video, there are also other aspects of it that has been largely forgotten and passed over in favour of its more colourful and exciting visuals. Aspects such as the philosophy of the discipline, and the importance of bettering oneself for self-growth over the need for competition. Because PK finds its place not just in Europe where it had hailed from, but also in unlikely places such as Brazil and the Gaza strip, there are countless reasons why one would choose to take up the discipline, cultural and social differences aside. I believe that for people to truly understand a lifestyle, one has to go into the mind of those who do as they do.
And in the case of “A Leap Forward”, my African Civet protagonist Lesaut.
2. What’s your writing process like? Are you a “pantser,” an outliner, or something in between?
I used to pants-write every story, given that it is extremely liberating in terms of feel. However, as was often the case, things don’t always fall seamlessly together, especially when there’s a lot of detail like a novel would have. Without a layout or plan, the ending may not be known, which can give rise to conflicting events in the story itself.
I now plan the layout of my stories on paper, unless they’re for shorter works, in which freewriting generally works best for me. I don’t always refer to the layout step-by-step and the ending can be different from what was originally intended, but at least I have a direction to work the story towards.
3. What’s your favorite kind of story to write?
Stories with a message, themes people can relate to. We may not be living in a futuristic world fifty years ahead of now, but some themes remain universal. Finding our place in a society that rejects others simply for being weak or different, for one. I also try to fit some action scenes in my stories, both to give the thrill of the chase and allow characters the chance to fight for their goals. I find it enjoyable to work on humourous stories, but because some themes don’t work well with humour, I don’t do many of them. “Kenyak’s Conquest”, my story in the Anthrocon 2015 conbook was one of the few. Most people may think of Vikings as a bloodthirsty people who conquered other territories, so I thought it would be interesting to have the concept of “conquest” redefined for the protagonist, a swiving warrior.
4. Which character from your work do you most identify with, and why?
Mikasi from my second novel. Although Mikasi started off as the least confident of the other three apprentices he was travelling with, he was their mediator and unofficial leader despite the efforts of the most stuck-up apprentice. Despite being a mage apprentice, he favours the skill of the blade over spellcraft, much as how I prefer all things mechanical over electronics. 🙂 Lesaut from “A Leap Forward”, however, represents my free spirit.
5. Which authors or books have most influenced your work?
Before having read books by Kyell Gold, with Waterways being the first, I was focused more on the action-based and adventure aspects of the story. Kyell’s work reminded me, however, that with people being complex creatures, how they interact with each other can determine the outcome of one’s life as much as other events. Anthony Horowitz had taught me the importance of giving personality to objects, such as calling a vehicle by its make rather than simply a car.