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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Author Interview: Orlando Sanchez

Today I am pleased to present to you all the forty-fifth in a series of Author Interviews. Recently I sat down with the karate teaching Orlando Sanchez and our conversation went something like this:

Paul:  I like to start my interviews by asking if you have any writing rituals?
Orlando:  I usually go to my local Starbucks and write. The crowd creates a white noise and I thrive in the energy of the place. I also write with music (usually vocal Trance) in my ears. I find it engages the part of my brain that can’t believe I’m writing novels and so I get writing done while that part of my brain is dancing away blissfully unaware of the work being done.

Paul:  What types of books do you like to read? Who are your favorite authors? Why?
Orlando:  I like to read almost every genre. I’m currently reading Kevin Hearne, Jim Butcher, Lee Child and Barry Eisler.  My favorites really run the gamut from Stephen King to Terry Pratchett to Paolo Coelho.

Paul:  If someone had the power to step into your creative mind what would they see?
Orlando:  My books personified vying for attention. At any given point in time I have about 5 stories running around in my head. I’m currently working on my next book and have outlines for my next 3 in the wings and they nag at me constantly. So think a bunch of sexy scantily-clad stories all looking to seduce me for my time.

Paul:  What is a typical day for you? 
Orlando:  I’m usually up at 4 am to train for about 2 hours; take the little one to school; entertain my two youngest daughters during the day; then teach class in the afternoon until early evening (karate school); and then go and write.

Paul:  Do you have a favorite character in each of your series, aside from the lead? If so, which one and why? 
Orlando:  In The Spiritual Warriors it would be Sylk, because he is the consummate antihero but not really the villain. In my current book it would have to be Mikaela because she is tough as nails and overcomes when the odds are against her.

Paul:  In all the years you’ve been publishing your work, what 
is the biggest mistake you made that you could share so others can avoid making it? 
Orlando:  I only published in August of 2012, but if I had to share a mistake it would be publishing without a plan to market. I haven’t made this mistake per se but I was initially just going to publish without a plan in place.

Paul:  How do you find the time to write?
Orlando:  I don’t find time, I steal it. I ask myself if I would rather be at home relaxing or reading or getting my next chapter done. It consists of tradeoffs, writing always wins in the end.

Paul:  What is one thing you hope I do not tell the readers?
Orlando:  HAHA my dirty secrets are my own so you can tell the readers everything and anything. It’s all good even if it's bad.

Paul:  If you are self-published, what led to you going your own way?
Orlando:  I chose the self-publishing route because I have issues with authority. I had tried the traditional route with an earlier piece of work and realized I had to go through a ton of rejection letters to “prove” my mettle as a writer. Then get an agent and then they would determine if and when I could be published. This did not sit well with me. So I decided to self-publish because I wanted to get my story out there.

Paul:  Do you plot your stories or do you just get an idea and run with it?
Orlando:  I tried plotting and it was a monumental disaster. Now I just listen. The stories write themselves (refer back to those sexy scantily clad stories) I just take dictation. So yes get an excellent idea and run to keep up with it.

Paul:  Do you do a lot of editing or do you find that as time goes on your writing is more fully-formed?
Orlando:  No editing until the first rough is done. I’m too busy trying to get it down to edit.

Paul:  Do you have to do much research for your stories?
Orlando:  For my first book yes, but I did it prior to the writing so that I could just focus on the writing once I got started.

Paul:  What is your most recent book? Tell us a little about it
Orlando:  My latest book is Blur - and it deals with a retired agent, John Kane who finds himself thrust back into the world he left, against his will. He has to hunt and find a killer who implicates him in the murders before he is “erased” by the very people who forced him back into this world.

Paul:  What inspired you to write this book?
Orlando:  It nagged me while I was writing The Spiritual Warriors to the point that I had to get up in the middle of the night and write the first 3 chapters before it would leave me alone enough to write The Spiritual Warriors.

Paul:  Do you also write any poetry, non-fiction or short stories?
Orlando:  Yes I have about 30 Haiku which I am compiling until I get to 108 which is the right number for a book on haiku. I also have a series of short stories which introduce characters to another series I have lurking in the back of my head – The Word Weavers.

Paul:  Do you have any pieces of work that will never see the light of day?
Orlando:  To date I have about 5 years’ worth of work that will never ever ever see the light of day. When I go back and reread it I cringe. It was necessary however to get me to the point I am now.

Paul:  How much marketing do you do for your published works or for your ‘brand’?
Orlando:  I am currently working on that. I have the usual social media aspect (Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn). I have hard copies at my school. I also spoke to my local Barnes and Noble to get them to do an event. In addition I joined SPAnet and go to book expos. I am always looking for ways to promote my brand and connect with other authors. I am currently working on designing my author website, since in another life I was a graphic designer. I have understood that to get the momentum going on selling I need several books out there at the right price points so that means writing and more writing.

Paul:  What’s your favorite / least favorite aspect of your writing life? Has anything surprised you?
Orlando:  I thoroughly enjoyed the process. My favorite part is going back after writing the first rough and rediscovering the story after it has sat for about a month. The least favorite part is that I can’t rush the process. I wish I could, but it just takes time to write well and sometimes part of me gets impatient with that process.

Paul:  What do you do when you’re not writing? Do you have any hobbies or party tricks?
Orlando:  I train and teach karate. I play handball when it’s warm. I am a voracious reader occasionally devouring 2-3 books over a weekend. I play chess with my son and on occasion play the odd MMORPG. I’m currently working on The Secret World and it’s been fun.

Paul:  Thanks, Orlando. I wish you every success for the future.

About Orlando Sanchez: Orlando Sanchez has been writing ever since his teens when he was immersed in creating scenarios for playing Dungeon and Dragons with his friends every weekend. An avid reader, his influences are too numerous to list here. Some of the most prominent are: J.R.R. Tolkien, Terry Pratchett, Jim Butcher, Kat Richardson, Terry Brooks, Piers Anthony, Lee Child, George Lucas and Robert Silverberg to name a few in no particular order.

Aside from writing, his passion is the martial arts; he currently holds a 2nd Dan and 3rd Dan in two distinct styles of Karate. If not training, he is studying some aspect of the martial arts or martial arts philosophy. For more information on the dojo please visit

He currently resides in Queens, NY with his wife and children. He can often be found haunting the local Starbucks where most of his writing is done.

Orlando's Blog: Nascent Novel
Orlando on Twitter: @SenseiOrlando
Orlando on Facebook: Orlando Sanchez
Orlando's latest book: The Spiritual Warriors (Amazon)

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