Pedro L. Alvarez is a Cuban-born writer who immigrated with his parents to the United States at the age of 8. He grew up in West New York, NJ where he first discovered the joys of reading and writing short stories. His highly anticipated first book, “Dragon Fire,” was published in January, 2012.
Bio provided by author’s site
We were very fortunate that Pedro requested for us to interview him. He is a young man who has written a book recalling a time of magic and wonder. Where a lowly person can dream of becoming a knight and falling in love with a princess. He is a very engaging young man who will go far in the writing industry. Please give a warm welcome to Pedro!
1. What makes for a good hook in your stories? Where does your inspiration come from?
Lately, my ideas have just come on their own. They get their kick start from small things – a line from a song, a phrase from a book I’ve read; things that just strike that chord in the back of your mind that makes you smile as you recognize it as inspiration.
Since completing Dragon Fire I have felt more attuned to that sort of thing. Maybe it’s the excitement at having my work being read by other people and getting such a positive response.
I haven’t consciously looked for a “hook” in my stories but there are times in the writing process, or even before the words touch paper (or screen, these days), when you know that an idea will work and that it will draw others in. That’s where I am with my next two novels – the stories were sparked by a small touch of inspiration and now both of them are eager to be written.
2. Are you an organized writer? Do you do things like take notes and make lists of characters? Or do you free write and work it out as you go?
When I make time to sit down and write I generally just let it happen. But I do create a rough plan for a story. I write a synopsis of sorts where I basically lay out the plot. At that point, I may not have names for the characters yet; I may not even know what exactly is going to happen. Going through this exercise helps me make some decisions as to how I want the story to go.
For instance, here is what Dragon Fire may have started as:
Delcan is born in a farm at the edge of a forest. His father was once a knight in the King’s service but it is a secret his son doesn’t know. Delcan leaves his home with a friend without telling his parents to compete in a tournament where the winners will be made squires to the King’s knights. At the tournament he meets the princess – the King’s granddaughter – who …
Well, I’m not going to give too much away.
3. What is your normal writing day like? Do you write when you are inspired or do you have a schedule?
Not being a full-time author, I do not have a structure or process in place for my writing. I typically write when time and inspiration merge. I’ve never forced myself to write, but I have on occasion sat down and started writing to see if the inspiration joins in. Sometimes it does.
4. Who is your favorite author and how did they inspire you to write?
I read a lot of Dean Koontz and Stephen King. I became a voracious reader because of them; theirs were the first books that begged me to stay up late reading. Both of them are very disciplined in their craft. King, mostly in his character development. Koontz in his use of language. I’ve always enjoyed their stories and sometimes nothing is more inspiring as a writer than having finished a good book and wanting to create something just as captivating, or more so.
5. It’s easy to see that you have a passion for writing but is there any part of it you don’t like?
I can honestly say that when it comes to writing I cannot think of any part of it that I don’t like. When all factors align, when the writing just “happens,” it is a unique experience that in many ways rejuvenates your mind. At times when that something special is missing and you stumble through the writing, it becomes “work.” That is when I stop. But even then, when I go back to it I often find a gem hidden in the words.
6. Do you make time to read and if you do what are you reading right now?
I read ALL the time. Typically I have 2 books going at once. Right now I am reading Stephen King’s 11/22/63 and Then Everything Changed by Jeff Greenfield – both of them excellent, so far.
7. How did you get started in writing in the fantasy genre? Is there personal life experience in the writing?
I first started writing Dragon Fire to tell the story of how my wife and I met. I wanted to capture how two people from very different backgrounds come together using a fantasy or fairy-tale setting. As the story and characters took shape it evolved into a story of its own and elements of the fantasy genre became more prominent. As a result, Dragon Fire is somewhat atypical as a fantasy novel. Based on the feedback I have been receiving from readers, it seems to have transcended the genre.
8. Your books have been published with Amazon.com, Does this mean you see the publishing industry headed this way?
I think the future of publishing will be a merging of the various media in which “books” can be found today. I foresee buying a hardcover book that comes with a direct tie-in to its electronic form. Perhaps the two are bundled together, where I can scan the barcode on the back cover of the book with my eBook device (e.g. a Kindle) and download the electronic version.
I like the eBook medium because it makes books so much more accessible to readers. When a book is published electronically, one can browse the book, and in many cases read a few chapters, before deciding to buy it. This is good for both the reader and the author. It gives the author a chance to make a more accurate first impression than the traditional print book. If your book can grab the reader in the first chapter then you make a sale right there and then. In the traditional book store setting, your cover and back cover descriptions are the only first impressions you can make.
9. Do you have any online sites where others can read more of your writings?
I am currently working on a website for Dragon Fire and an author blog page, but neither is ready yet. In the meantime, readers can visit the Dragon Fire Facebook page and get frequent news and quotes from Dragon Fire on Twitter @DragonFireNovel.
10. Do you have any more stories in the works? What kinds of stories do you plan to write next?
I have two other novels in the works, of a different genre. One is a police suspense thriller and the other is one that straddles science fiction and the supernatural. I’m very excited about both of them and I’m currently trying to balance each of their demands to be written.
11. Who would be your first choice to play Delcan in your story “Dragon Fire”?
Hmm… I think Logan Lerman (who played Percy Jackson) would be a good fit. He would be able to play a vulnerable Delcan as well as Delcan the hero.
12. If you could meet anyone from any time who would it be and what would be your first question?
George Washington – and I would ask him, “What do you want this new nation to be in 235 years?”