Author Spotlight - Edward Padilla
K.S. - Hello and welcome to the blog. I am very excited to have you here. Why don’t we start off with a small introduction? Tell us a little about yourself.
E.D.P - My name is Edward D Padilla. I am an internationally produced playwright – and a multiple literary award nominee for my debut novel Minor Deities. I currently live in Las Vegas, NV after moving from Long Beach, CA.
K.S. - Any interesting writing quirks or stories you would like to share with my readers?
E.D.P - Writing quirks? Interesting. I write constantly. Always have a pad and pen handy. I’ve been known to flip paper placemats over to write ideas. Always write an idea down the moment you have it – if you wait – even just a few minutes while you grab a pen – you can forget it just as easily as you created the idea – I wrote the beginnings of a scene for Minor Deities on deposit slips in a bank while waiting in line.
I usually associate an object with my story and place it on my desk – for Minor Deities – I used a photo of a congressman holding up a bible which pinpointed my theme – it helped me focus. For my next book – Seagull’s Street – I have a pair of seagull salt and pepper shakers and a photo of a good friend I call Seagull – One theatre script I wrote (The Vampire, The Virgin & The Very Horny Night) – I kept a Legg’s Egg on my desk – with the pantyhose poking through the seams – I don’t think they sell those anymore – I find a focal object – as bizarre and unattached as it may be – helps me continue writing. I do not use one object for every story – I change them up to the theme or main focus.
K.S. - When did you realize you wanted to be a writer? What sparked the desire to pen your first novel?
E.D.P - A writer? When I was six years old and my mother bought me my first typewriter. Yes, typewriter. A Sear’s Autotype – I loved it – I was writing short stories in third grade – (we’re talking really rudimentary stories) – I wrote my first one-act play in sixth grade – and it was performed by the class – I went to Catholic School – so it was very religious. I love words -
Minor Deities is actually based on a stage play I wrote entitled “Fags” – I created the main character and the obstacles to his goal – but there was so much more to the story than what I could fit in a two hour dialogue situation or in the confines of a stage. I started expanding the idea – my cast of six grew to a menagerie of characters and an explosive story.
K.S. - What genre do you write?
E.D.P - Gay Fiction and Theatre scripts.
K.S. - What would you say has inspired you most in your writing career? Or, who is your favorite author and why?
E.D.P - I cannot lie: Escape to Witch Mountain - I fell in love with that book (Alexander Key) – I loved how the words created a fantasy world which was real – Tony and Tia were my friends – I understood it was fiction - but it was interesting how these non-existent people came to life in my imagination through the written word. I had to do it.
My favorite authors are Michael Crichton, Mario Puzo, Lisa Scottoline, John Saul...the list is endless – I read at least two hours a day – you can’t appreciate your own writing unless you take in the work of others. I like to read “Low list” books for confidence. These are novels that are “bad” – no real form or character building – loose ends – I read a “bad” novel and it gives me the confidence to continue – In my opinion, if a publisher is willing to put this out (something I consider blah) – then I work hard to surpass their work – again – it’s almost a narcissism – It’s rather funny – people consider doctors to have a “God” complex – but the same attitude surrounds a writer. You create the world. You create the residents. You control the situation and outcome – you can’t do this without confidence – my favorite books exude this confidence by transporting me into the author’s imagination and making it real.
K.S. - What does your family think of your writing?
E.D.P - My family supports my writing. I receive numerous emails and letters asking about my work. Of course, before I was published, I constantly heard the “I know you enjoy your hobby, but what are you doing for a job?” – Now that I’m published, I’m getting story ideas (“You know your great-grandmother was the governess of youth and child welfare and she wasn’t allowed to vote”) -
K.S. - What was one of the most surprising things you learned while creating your book?
E.D.P - That nothing turns out the way you expect – When you begin to rewrite (and if you don’t rewrite – it’s a hobby – you must take it serious if you want it to become a career) – you learn that certain things don’t work. The obligatory cliché comes true – that one scene that was so perfect – the reason you bled the story – doesn’t work – and it almost slices your heart when you realize it needs a red-line – (Save it for another time – it may work elsewhere) – Characters you thought were trustworthy become tantamount to the antagonist’s goal – If you give your characters freedom – they surprise you more than the story – follow a character’s tangent – you may find a diamond mine -
K.S. - What inspired you to write your novel?
E.D.P - I read my share of gay fiction. It started becoming “Formula” – Guy A sees Guy B on page 1 – he must have him – Guy A meets Guy B on page 3 – they have sex. Page 4 they swear their undying love to each other – page 7 they break up and spend the rest of the novel coming out to everyone – fighting with their friends because they know they belong together – the biggest antagonist is always the parents – someone has to come out to their parents – by the last page – the entire world accepts them and they fall in bed a blissful happy couple...I decided to get rid of the parents – throw in a bomb or two – and make the story “bigger than life” -
K.S. - Can you tell us a little about your novel?
Back cover copy:
It starts out a perfect day until someone fires a gun at him, a trench-coated, slave-cap wearing menace starts stalking him, people begin terrorizing gay bars in his hometown, and the man he falls in love with is his best friend’s straight brother. What more could go wrong?
Within minutes of winning the conviction of Mark Valenti, don of Santos Muertos, Lawrence Michaels becomes a target of revenge. To escape death, Lawrence hesitantly joins his friends for a gay gala in Tyler. But Tyler isn’t as welcoming as he remembers. Numerous gay men vanish, the judge hates him, and his boss expects him to begin another trial prosecuting a gay murderer. As the truth unfolds, Lawrence understands the only hope for the gay community to thrive is for him to come out of the closet and become the one person he detests the most, his true self.
The First chapter beginning: “We’re at the Santos Muertos courthouse, where top District Attorney, Lawrence Michaels, has been shot.” The reporter held the microphone to his quivering lips. “The story is unfolding as we speak, but, once again, Lawrence Michaels, the D.A. who put Mark Valenti behind bars, has been shot.”
Lawrence lay sprawled out on the floor. His Boss, Ben Lansing, was on top of him, protecting him from any further danger. Candice sat with her ass cheeks on her heels, bits of ruined pantyhose flapping from her knee, her hair askew, her eyes moist.
K.S. - Where can we find your novel?
E.D.P - I’m on Amazon, B&N and elsewhere on the Net – but those are my publishing house’s overpriced versions – honestly - $28.95? Way too much – I have bootlegged them and offer a link to anyone who messages me on FaceBook – Minor Deities is available for Kindle, Sony Reader, and iPhone/iPad at reduced prices –
One word: I created the bootlegs because I have been beans and rice poor; sometimes I couldn’t afford the rice – and there was a novel I wanted to own – not just read – I utilize the library like nobody’s business – but I had to add a title to my collection – scrimping and saving until I could afford it – I hate that – I’m amazed at how corporate publishing is becoming greedy in hard economic times. I want to share my art, not sit atop a pile of blood pennies waving my scepter – So I created the bootlegs for possible readers – (And they’re selling like crazy – knock wood)
K.S. - Do you have a website, fan site, or Blog that we can visit?
E.D.P - You can find me on facebook. Facebook.com/minor.deities. I write too much to keep up with a blog. And I don’t know how to do a fan site – although some of my readers have offered to do it – I’m too humble to allow such a thing. I just try to connect them with other readers of the book so they can discuss it – if they like. If anyone would like to create a fan site – I’m all for it – as long as I don’t have to do anything – I already answer every email and message I receive – so – I’m pretty busy -
K.S. - Do you have any closing advice to aspiring writers?
E.D.P - Study your craft – write constantly – edit with a sharp eye – listen to your heart – and – if and when you get a rejection letter – file it and reread/re-edit your work – and send it again –
I think the hardest part of writing a novel is leaving it alone. It’s advice in almost every book about writing. When you finish your first “words on paper” draft – and every draft after – put the work aside for a minimum of two weeks – then go back to it – the emotions have had time to heal and separate themselves from your piece – you’ll edit better – you’ll see mistakes that your emotional eye would miss but your critical eye spots with a hawk’s awareness – If it sounds dull and lifeless two weeks after you wrote it – it probably is – and you can spot it easier when your emotional connection has subdued itself. Don’t be afraid to destroy in order to create –
Also – One point of advice – and I press this – when writing – don’t set yourself up with time goals – “I’m going to write for three hours every day until I finish.” It’s amazing how a person can write for three hours and create one paragraph. Set a word goal for the day – I set mine at 2000 words per day – and write them. Sometimes it takes me an hour – sometimes six – I never allow myself to fall short of my goal by more than 100 words – and I never go over by more than 250 – stopping yourself helps free you from writer’s block.
Suggested reading: (I love these books – plain and straightforward on writing)
Damn the Rejections, Full Speed Ahead – Maralys Wills
Writing the Breakout Novel – Donald Maass
Letters to a Young Poet – Rainer Maria Rilke (Inspirational)
Minor Deities (Because I wrote it)