Author Interview - JP Rai (Mesafalcon)

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  1. #1

    Author Interview - JP Rai (Mesafalcon)

    This month we interview newly published writer Jon Paul Rai, now residing in Tokyo and better known on the forum as Mesafalcon.

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    What are the major motivations that draw you into writing prose and poetry?

    Well, to be honest, I am just a person who likes to create things. I used to run a comic strip in my college newspaper (which ran 4 years), and was in a band (unknown – of course) as singer/song writer. But with two kids and a full time job, writing is what suits my lifestyle best. So, what would be a comic is basically now done in text rather than drawn.

    Poetry is just for fun. All it is to me is enjoying word use. Sure, you can get deep meaning out of a well written poem - but that can be said about any form of art.

    Do you outline a plot or do you prefer just to see where an idea takes you?

    This is an easy one. There are two main types of writers. A gardener and an architect. The gardener plants a seed (idea), and just lets it grow (just writes). The architect plots it all out in some type of outline (blueprint) and then puts it in writing.

    I am a gardener. I find you come up with interesting things when you yourself have to think of ways for your characters to get out of the situations they are in as you go. When you garden, it also feels like there is more flexibility to change course if you find a better one.

    You currently have a story published in 'Marked To Die - A Tribute to Mark Samuels' Edited by Justin Isis – a collection of original works inspired by Samuels' writing, Can you tell us what genre the book falls into and how you got involved in this project?

    Yes, this is my first published piece. The book is a collection of short horror stories. The editor of the book lives in Tokyo and I went to his office and met him face-to-face. I presented him with some of my work, and the week after he offered me a chance to be published in an upcoming novel.

    As a side note, perhaps going to a publisher for a face-to-face meeting might help writers here who want to be published. Sending someone work that will go into a stack to be read at some point is all that will happen if there is no face-to-face contact. I wouldn’t suggest playing by any “rules” any more. The fight for attention these days is harsh across all entertainment media.

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    I assume you are a Mark Samuels fan, can you briefly tell us something about him and why you admire his work?

    I do some reading on my spare time and I came across a story I liked called “White Hands,” by Samuels.

    Samuels has a catchy way of writing. He doesn’t seem to try hard, his storytelling feels natural like he wrote how he wanted to, and not what he thought would read the best to the masses. The result in my opinion is: writing that is easy to get into and flows.

    Because of reading Mark Samuels' work, I noticed one of the editors from his publishing company was in Tokyo.

    Would you be kind enough to give us a brief synopsis of your story “Prison Inquieta” (under the pseudonym Jon Paul Rai) and, perhaps, a short excerpt.

    The story Prison Inquieta is about a young man who takes a Nile River tour on a guide boat, the boat capsizes (this happens before the narrative begins, we find out a bit later), and he comes across a prison in the jungle which is being run by Ex-military lunatics.
    Here is how the story starts:

    The chirping of cicadas woke Jasen through the thin fabric of his makeshift tent. He scrounged through his knapsack for anything edible as he scratched bug bites. Half a bag of Ritz crackers was left stuffed in a zipper compartment. He chewed slowly and wiped sweat off his brow. On the third attempt he mustered the courage to take a look outside.

    (My editor added “The” as the first word… I wanted to start as “Chirping of cicadas…” But hey, I can’t complain. I guess that’s how it works.)

    I wanted to make the reader wonder why someone would be scared to take a look outside of a tent. In a normal camping situation, you just get up and go outside. So I tried to create the feel that he dreaded the outside – and of course no one stays in a tent forever, so naturally you want to find out what happens when he steps out.

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    Can you tell us how the book was received and any feedback you have got since publication?

    After the release of the book, Justin Isis sent me links to sites that had reviewed the book. Every review was positive, and a few people reviewed my story specifically and those were also positive. I have not done too much searching on my own for reviews. I wanted to just take away a good feeling about the positive ones than search for negative reviews.

    To me, writing is an art and either people like it or they don’t. For better or worse I am not out to improve based on criticism of the storytelling (to be clear, on technical points, formatting, editing and so on I am always open for advice and modest). I just want to write naturally and freely without negatives weighing me down.

    What are you working on next?

    Right now, I am working on a Sci-Fi short novel that takes place in the year 2070 in New York City. It is based on ideas I have had in my head since high school… which was a bit over 20 years ago.

    I am also working on a fantasy series of novels I have been writing for over 2 years. Whether anything I have in the works is possible for publishing, I don’t know. But I have my foot in the door and will see what I can make happen.

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    If you were a castaway on a desert island which books would you choose to be a washed ashore with you?

    If I was stuck on a desert island, I would take the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Silmarillion, and… this will take some explaining. The King James Bible. The reason I say the bible is because well, it’s so big and packed with so many stories there’s just a lot for the money in there.

    Let me add, I would read it as entertainment, which is its best use. I have zero belief in religion or any super natural sort.

    What advice would you give to aspiring authors?

    Advice I would give for aspiring writers. Two things, and the first is, this is not a stable field, have a backup plan to survive. The second, if you want to pursue writing fiction as a living (because I assume the question is not about journalism or writing textbooks), think outside the box and use technology to your advantage.

    Also, like I said above, if you live in a place that allows, just go ahead and give a face-to-face meeting a shot. It’s that or have your submission sit in a stack of submissions for the editor/publisher to read at their own leisure (which may be never).

    Where and in which formats is 'Marked To Die - A Tribute to Mark Samuels' available?

    Marked to Die is available on Amazon and can be purchased directly on the site. Marked to Die is on the front page at the moment.

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    We released it with 100 special edition hard covers which I think sold out in the first week because Adam Nevill who is featured in the novel has a fan following in the U.K.

    Thanks for reading, hope to chat with you all on the forums!

    Anything to add?

    What I have to add is very important and something that disappoints me about writing forums and their members. Ask yourself – why are you on a writing forum? The answer should be “to improve my writing.” Well, there aren’t too many ways to improve your writing using a forum.

    Sure, you can post in a thread and ask questions and get feedback, but that has limited outcomes and advice varies. You may get advice from someone not quite qualified to give it or on the other hand, from someone who uses terms and suggestions above your writing level.

    The best thing to do to start improving and getting a grip on how your writing sounds to others is to find review swap partners. You read theirs and they read yours. This is a thing based on my own experience that is not done so much on forums. This is the best thing to do. There should be a specific thread for it pushed up top that gets attention.
    Last edited by ned; November 26th, 2016 at 07:30 PM.

  2. #2
    Hey, well done on getting that story published and great advice about being proactive with publicity. I like your idea abut thinking outside the box too - writing is such a crowded craft these days that anything we can do to make our work a little different and stand out from the rest has to be a good.

  3. #3
    Thank you very much, jenthepen.

    Once again, I agree with you. (Kind of a given in this case I guess)
    Looking for beta readers for a 22k word novella set in medieval/fantasy.

    The rags to riches story of a scavenger.

    Please PM me if you would give any amount a whirl!


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