1. Hello Apollo! thanks for taking some time to do this interview with me. Tell me a little about yourself, do you have any favorite hobbies or activities aside from writing?
Hi April. Thanks for having me. In my free time I enjoy going to art exhibits, museums, and live shows, though I don't get a chance to go to concerts often. I'm a big fan of R&B music, the old-school classics mostly, and last summer I saw D'Angelo perform at the Fox Theater in Oakland. He's a hell of a musician, plays all the instruments, and puts on a great show!
2. I hear you just got back from vacation, where did you go? Any interesting things happen while you were there?
I did just get back from vacation. I visited family in Greece. Ermioni, a small town on the eastern coast of the Peloponnese--the southern mainland--is home to most of my relatives apart from those living in Athens.
It's actually the place that inspired the unnamed town to which Angelo travels during his Greece trip in my novel Wings of Wax.For those following me on social media, specifically Facebook and Twitter, you'll notice I shared a bunch of photos from my trip, and many of those sites inspired images and scenes in my book.
It was great to just enjoy family, swim everyday, and eat delicious food. Upon arrival it took a minute, as it always does, to get used to speaking almost exclusively in Greek but I really savored conversations with my relatives as they don't speak much English, though they do always speak from the heart.
3. Prior to publishing your current novel, Wings of Wax, you mentioned to me that you had published something back in your teens with a traditional publisher. What was the name of that work? Is it still available for others to check out and what was your experience working with a publisher at such a young age?
Yes, back when I was 15 my short story collection Concrete Candy about inner-city life in my hometown Oakland was published by a major New York house, Anchor/Double Day. Unlike Wings of Wax, those stories weren't inspired by personal experience, but they do reflect my thoughts as a teenager struggling with ideas of social injustice and inequality. Those are big concepts for a young person to contend with, I guess, so the publisher didn't really understand how to market the book since I was so young. It wasn't put out as a "Young Adult" book. I was essentially competing for shelf space with adult (as in grown-up, not erotic) writers, and the collection didn't sell very well.
I made a lot of mistakes in how I handled publicity around that book and how I handled dealings with the company as it made a lot of odd marketing decisions, but I was basically a kid then, and I learned lessons that carried on in my later publishing experiences. I shy away from recommending the book to readers because it seems juvenile now, but it is still available.
4.Is there any one thing in life that you've come to understand differently than you did as a younger version of yourself? If so, how has it impacted you?
Wow, there are so many things I understand differently about life now that I'm grown. But that is life, right? It's all about growth, as cliched as that sounds. Just learning from your flaws and mistakes and bettering yourself as you go.
I know people who go around claiming they don't fear anything, that they've "mastered" fear. That's silly to me. Fear is natural. It's not about denying it, it's about what you do in spite of the fear. That's one thing I've learned.
5. You seem to like exploring relational dynamics between people in your work, such as the relationship between Wings of Wax's main character and his estranged father. What is it about human interactions that inspired your desire to also write about them?
Yes, that's a great way of putting it. Relational dynamics do indeed seem to be at the core of everything I write. Human interaction is life, and all literature is a reflection of that.
I'm fascinated by the dynamics of romantic relationships. It's wild that you can share your inner-most thoughts with someone, you can share your bed with them, your body with them... and then one day they can decide to leave, or you can decide to leave, and in most cases you're just strangers after that. Gone from each other's lives after experiencing so much together. Or, in happier scenarios, you build a life together. That's fascinating to me. The ways we deal with loss, the ways we find the strength to move on. I'm compelled to write about those things.
Yes, family dynamics, father-son interactions, intrigue me also. We Greeks tend to come from big families, and families can be weird. The more I talk to my friends the more I see that the relationships between fathers and sons are often problematic, so often conflicted. Of course there's love there, but it's complicated. So, the complexity inspires me to write.
6. If you could travel to one place in the world that you've never been to, where would that be and why?
If I could travel to one place I've never been where would it be? To tell you the truth, I'm not a big traveler. Sure, I've been to Greece a bunch of times, but aside from those trips I'm kind of a homebody. I like my routines, I guess. But if I had to pick a place, I'd probably say Mytilene on the Greek island of Lesvos where my maternal grandfather came from. Maybe that's kind of a cheat answer because it's still Greece, but I've never visited that particular area. I hear my grandfather was a great man, a true gentleman, so I'd love to see his land.
7. After having chatted with you, I feel like you have a zeal for life and all it has to offer- something I don't often see in a lot of people. What advice would give to those struggling to find the positive side of things rather than focusing on the negative?
Wow, this question surprised me because I often work to find that optimism as someone who has struggled with anxiety and a certain melancholy, to be honest. But I'm glad I still exude a zest for life!
To me it's not about being positive versus being negative. It's just about being true to yourself and what you want out of life. Genuine kindness is one of the most underrated character traits, I think. If you offer kindness in your interactions you get it in return. If you're living your life with a certain gentleness and concern for others, no one should get to dictate the decisions you make or how you define happiness.
Q7 Corner: Author Interviews
A.L.Deleon loves to find and interview authors, Indie or Traditional. This is where you'll find all the details of those interview spotlights. Typically you'll find her asking seven questions of each author featured.