Good morning, Vince and welcome back to Vision and Verse, the Place for Art and Authors.What have you been up to?
NI’ve published twelve short works as an independent author, the core of which can be found in the personal growth/personal transformation genre. My personal growth series is titled “The Narratives,” and can best be described as my own unique brand of journal writing. I started these works in late 2012 as a means of calming my brain and refocusing my energy after losing my significant other to suicide. I needed to do something to make sense of what I was feeling and to cope with her passing, and out of this came my first book, "The Narratives: Keeping the Soul Alive." In it, and in the other books in the series, I write mostly about my own struggles while navigating my path towards healing, and then towards self-actualization. In looking back on all seven of these works, I can easily see the shift I made as I transitioned through grieving my loss into a period of acceptance and reconciliation, and then into an unexpected but welcomed phase of life—one that led me down the road of personal discovery, and one that forced me to confront some very difficult question along the way. Questions such as what I see for myself going forward, what I want out of life, what makes me happy, and am I being the best I can be, are all touched on, and the emotions that are a byproduct of these thoughts are on display for the reader to soak in. Essentially, these works can best be summed up as my journey through the last five or so years of my life.
In addition to “The Narratives” series, I have also written two other transformational works titled, “From Thoughts To Written Words: Learn To Journal From The Soul,” which is a short reference (or “how to” guide) to journal writing, and “Is There More To Life Than Just This? 10 Simple Steps for Solving Your Mystery Questions of Life and Unlocking Your Happiness,” which provides strategies for those who are struggling to find meaning in life, who are searching for purpose, and who have ever asked that question, “Is this really all that life has to offer?” The answers are easier to find that you might think.
In addition to my personal transformation works, I have also written two fictional shorts and a book of dark poetry. The fictional pieces are titled, “Chasing Angels” and “Eva,” and the poetry is titled, “In The Dark Recesses…”
I just finished reading Eva. A gripping tale of grief and love. Loved it. What is your favorite genre to write?
The core of what I write is non-fiction, most often categorized as memoir, and is entirely about my own personal growth and life experiences, but also I enjoy fiction. It’s hard to pick one specific genre because they are both so different. In one, I’m writing about me – my innermost thoughts, feelings, and fears. In the other, I’m telling a story. But I do find that even in my fictional pieces, I’m pulling parts of myself into my main character. The best advice I’ve ever received about writing is to write what you know. I’ve tried to honor that so it’s not surprising that all of these works boils down to a personal struggle - the battle to overcome - and this is readily apparent in both genres. But, in all honesty, I would love to write a suspense/thriller. I started building a plot for one that also pulled in some elements of romance and the metaphysical, but I haven’t reconciled it just yet. When I do, I may go ahead and attempt to write it, however, there’s a good chance that it might remain just a plot. Fiction is definitely not my forte.
Tea or coffee?
I’m a coffee addict. I have an affinity for Starbucks coffee and I’ve made my local Starbucks my second home. I do all my writing there.
Pizza or ice cream?
Do I have to choose?
No, you don't. YOU get both, because you are one of the most patient and understanding people I know. Where would you like to visit?
I’ve never been outside North America but I plan on visiting the Scandinavian countries, Greenland, and Iceland before my time is up.
Vince, you must go to Italy. Don't we have mutual relatives from Sicily? I think so. Who is your favorite musical artist? Do you listen to music when you write? What?
I have lots of favorite artists, mostly in the rock genre, and don’t normally listen to music when I write. When I do, I usually try to find something mellow in my collection. It just depends on my mood.
What makes you laugh?
I have a Jerry Seinfeld sense of humor so I usually find humor in everyday life. I think I’ve got a little of both Jerry Seinfeld and George Costanza in me. I can relate to both characters. Some of these personality traits certainly come through in my writing.
How old were you when you started writing?
I started writing in a journal at the age of 13. Initially, I documented what I could remember of vivid dreams I had as a young adult, but then transitioned into journaling, then to short fiction. Throughout my formative years, I kept a journal, so it’s not surprising that the core of what I’ve put in the public domain is my 2017 version of journaling.
Describe your perfect evening.
I love meeting new people and love socializing. To get a chance to talk to lots of interesting and fun people in a social setting is actually the perfect evening for me. It’s funny that as a young adult, I was actually very shy. Now, I can’t wait to talk to someone new!
For my Narratives works, I get most of my inspiration through everyday life. I’m learning new things about myself all the time. Sometimes, all it takes is an interaction to show you something about yourself you’ve never recognized before. When those moments reveal themselves, I write about them.
For my short fiction pieces, I find I’m drawn to the metaphysical. It’s an area that has always fascinated me. It gets me thinking about what’s really possible. I usually wind up entertaining those thoughts then crafting a story around some aspect of the phenomenon.
What do you do when you get a writer's block?
I don’t block often because my process is very structured. When I come up with a new idea or concept, I map it out in my head then outline it, particularly for my fictional pieces. My Narratives essays are short so I can usually write what’s in my head in one sitting. But for fiction, I don’t actually start the writing process until I have a clear outline, and that makes it easy to just go. But on the oft chance I do block, I take that time to think up ideas for future works rather than try to force the issue.
Who is your favorite author?
That’s a good question. I love reading horror, suspense, and thrillers so I’d have to say Stephen King is my favorite.
I HEAR Carol Ann Kauffman's pretty good, too. Best book you ever read.
That’s a difficult question to answer. If I take a look at my reading history as an adult, most of what I’ve read sits in the political, economic, sociological, and investigative journaling categories. I read select thrillers and horror, although not as much as I did as a young adult. To pick one book is difficult, however, one of my all-time favorites is a book titled “Into Thin Air” by Jon Krakauer, which documented the 1996 climbing disaster on Mt. Everest.
Who is the one person who has influenced your personal life the most and why?
I did a lot of bowling throughout my 20s and 30s and was lucky enough to find a man who did a lot more than just coach me in the sport. He is the person who has had the biggest influence on my life. He was the toughest coach I’ve ever had but more than being a great bowling coach, he was an unbelievable life coach. I used to think the world owed me something. He was the one person who was able to knock that chip off my shoulder, make me face my fears square in the eye, and make me take responsibility for my life. He’s no longer with us, but will always be one of the finest human beings I have ever known, and I will forever be grateful for his role in turning me into the person I am today.
If you could sit down and have a conversation with ONE person, living or dead, real or fictional, who would it be and why?
I’d have to say Thomas Jefferson, or any of the founding fathers of this country. How they had such foresight in crafting the U.S. Constitution is quite amazing to me. They were incredible people who were far ahead of their time.
What advice would you give someone who aspired to be a writer?
The best advice I can give anyone is to be authentic. Don’t try to be something or someone you’re not. Readers can see right through that. Believe in yourself and do it because you love it, not because you hope to be the next best-selling author. I started off with one idea, entirely in an effort to redirect my energy, and wound up with enough material to entertain the idea to self-publish. I never believed my works would become commercially successful, nor had any idea if what I’d written was any good, but I felt that this was something I needed to do. Anyone can publish these days, but if you decide to go this route, ensure that you’re putting the best product out that you possibly can. Once it’s in the public domain, it’s there for the world to see. For me, it was about telling my story and leaving a legacy. Be authentic, be honest, and don’t be afraid to share your gifts with the world.
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