Congrats on the release on yet another novel, Estevan! What is your writing schedule like and how do you juggle it with your studies?
Thanks, Mayra. Yeah, it took a crazy long time to get here, but ARSON is finally gonna get out to the world. The release date is set for May 4, so mark your calendar. It’s funny you should ask about my writing schedule, especially because I don’t really have one. Yes, I’m afraid it’s true. I write when I can and sometimes that’s not always as much as I should be doing. It gets sorta complicated with school and a life and right now, promotion ARSON. So, yeah, that’s my excuse for not writing as much as I should. As far as juggling, I’m becoming quite skilled. Well, kinda.
What do your teen peers think of your career path and early success? Do you think it has inspired them?
When I was in high school, many of the kids saw my publishing a book as a reason to make a stupid joke at my expense. It was lame, but I did go to an all-guy school, so it somewhat comes with the territory. It’s better in college, though. Kids tend to see it as more of an accomplishment than they did a few years ago. So that’s cool. I think they do see it as something to aspire to, yeah. The kids who write anyway.
To what do you attribute your dream of becoming published? Not many teens are focused on ‘getting published’ the way you were.
Well, when I was in fifth grade I couldn’t stand writing or reading, for that matter. If it weren’t for my father’s guidance and “push” I probably wouldn’t have done it. I mean, yeah, I thought an author’s life is all fame and money, but once I started writing, I realized how far-off I was with that theory, and I still am doing it. I’m not sure why I decided to stick with writing longer than any other thing, but I have, and now, no matter how hard it gets, I’m always brought back to it. It’s like a part of me that won’t let me go.
How has your writing evolved since your first book came out at age fifteen?
Oh, it’s definitely evolved. I look back and read pages of Servant of the Realm and go, ‘man, did I write that?’ But it’s all part of the growing process. I can’t expect to write like a twenty-one year old when I’m fifteen. But there are hints of things to come within those pages, and that’s cool, to sorta watch my progression between each book. It’s definitely taken some time, but the journey is all worth it.
Do you do character profiles before sitting down to craft your fiction?
Not really. I just sit down and start creating a character. Depending on which book I’m writing, the characters tend to have different themes running through each of them, and sometimes they cross over depending on what I’m trying to say with each story. The characters tend to just sorta create themselves as the story goes, with me making changes here and there. It’s fun to watch them progress from page one until the end.
What was the most dificult aspect of writing ARSON? The most fun?
I had the most fun and the most difficulty writing ARSON, to be honest. I love the story more than anything I’ve written. And I can think of several reasons why, but the thing about ARSON is that it took the longest to get out there to the public. I mean, I got the concept in the fall of 2006 and it’s finally coming out nearly four years later. Both Servant of the Realm and The Sacred Sin took about three years. So, I’ve spent so much time on this thing, trying to get everything perfect, you know. The most fun was writing the story arc between Arson and Emery. I just fell in love with these characters. Watching their story unfold was so cool. The most difficult part was probably choosing how it was going to begin and end. I changed both ends of the book several times, asking people for opinions and choosing which ideas I thought would fit the story best.
How do you celebrate a new contract?
When I got the contract for ARSON I was a little shocked. I had been e-mailing the publisher back and forth about the manuscript and he seemed interested but didn’t really want to budge on anything. Then out of left field he sends me a contract. I was, like, whoa! I didn’t think he was that interested. So I called my dad and we celebrated over the phone, since I was at school. It was a great feeling.
What would you say to young people who dream of becoming published authors?
Don’t let that dream die. Critics will scare you. The current book market will scare you. Your own family and friends might scare you, but if it’s in your blood to write, then write.
Thanks, Estevan, and best of luck with your book!