Where did you get the idea for your most recent project? What is it about?
1. “The Gene God:” From a desire to comment on views of dystopias and genetic engineering (mixed with an old videogame idea I had).
The Gene God is about a young scientist named Hydrolocles who saves the world with a new technology called Transformation…and is then rewarded by the gods of Vaadhoo, who make him a god! While being educated in the ways of being a god, Hydrolocles must cope with the responsibility, authority, and, worse of all, notoriety that his new job brings. As if that weren’t enough, an unlikely enemy with the power to destroy the gods themselves seeks to end humanity, and will stop at nothing to until every last soul has been sent to Vaadhoo. Hydrolocles must learn to master his powers and the public uproar they illicit if he is to save the world again. But his biggest obstacle may just be the humans themselves.
2. “Wolf History:” From my AP US Government textbook! It got me thinking about political psychology and how society developed to where it is now. I’ve never been interested in the Alternate History genre before, but now I am, thanks to a bit of history class! (Don’t tell my teacher I called it a “history class.”)
Long ago, the first wolves capable of language roamed the earth in family packs, living off of the land, without an ambition in the world. But with the coming of speech came the ability to discover, imagine, and yearn for more. The wolves, once so innocent and simple-minded, must now wrestle control of their chaotic lives filled with greedy enemies and deceitful friends. But above all, they must grapple with their own new view of the world and the existential questions that it brings.
3. “Only in Amigos:” I’ve wanted to write a nonfiction book about my adventures in Ecuador since before got on the plane!
Eating guinea pigs, chasing down pig pigs, and being chased downhill by a baby donkey. What do all of these have in common? Ecuador. In the summer of 2014, I spent seven weeks volunteering in Ecuador through Amigos de las Americas. This is a compilation of everything eventful that happened during that time, and everything that I have learned upon reflection. Join in the new world of grass-roots volunteering, cultural exploration, and youth leadership as I recount my seven-week trial by fire in Cotopaxi, Ecuador.
What’s your advice for aspiring writers?
Don’t write for anyone but yourself! Don’t write to impress an imaginary critic or whoever TV says is your audience. Don’t worry about whether or not an agent/publisher will like it. Write something YOU like. Odds are, if you like it, someone else will, too! The worst thing you could do is try to imitate something/someone else, because that will always lead to a project lacking passion and experience.
What is the best thing about being a writer?
The best thing is having the assurance that all my stories and opinions matter. Without writing, I would just be another person with an idea. But writing means that other people, maybe for generations into the future, will be able to interact with my innermost thoughts.
Additionally, writing allows me to discover things in a unique way. Being a “discovery writer” leads me to discover things about myself, my imagination, and my characters that mere thoughts would never have revealed.
How did you get inspired to write?
That’s a funny question, actually. I was very young and loved telling stories verbally. One day, my parents were busy and told me to write down my stories for them to read later! Annoying your parents can be productive!
I originally wrote short stories, then got the idea to write novels after reading The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo.
How do you deal with writer’s block?
There are two types of writer’s block: a lack of inspiration/ideas, and a lack of motivation. The lack of motivation can be solved by simply sitting down, looking at your previous day’s work, and focring yourself to write. But the lack of ideas can be solved with another very simple method. Look back on the times you’ve been most excited about your work, or where you have gotten most of your inspiration from (for instance, I get plenty of inspiration from watching TED-ed videos or from reading other books). Then engage in that activity. Set aside an hour or two to do that, and then use the energy it gives you to get back to writing! Remember, the more often you write, the easier it will be to write the next day!
I also wrote a more detailed FreshU article about this very topic: here’s the article.
What are you currently working on?
The question is what I’m not working on! I’m currently:
1. Trying to start an on-campus publication called The Communicator
2. Writing a nonfiction book discussing my adventures with Amigos de las Americas (check them out!).
3. Writing the first draft of a science fantasy novel called The Gene God.
4. Working as a Staff Writer for FreshU