Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Interview with Aaron L.

Aaron L might be a newcomer to the creation of fiction but is not one when it comes to the arts and all things creative. Growing up in places from Seattle to South Africa, he spent a lot of his time drawing. Aaron always knew that his future lay in a creative field. In 2010, he graduated from the University of Illinois with a degree in graphic design. Although the usual application of this degree is in the creation of different types of art and design, Aaron chose instead to focus his creative skills on the task of storytelling. He lives near Chicago, Illinois. 

What would you like readers to know about you as an introduction? 

When I began my journey into creating my novel Light Under the House, I only had a germ of a plot and not much else. I was a college drop out at the time and didnt have much going for me. I had also sown a lot of seeds into endeavors that turned out to be useless. I had a mountain of wasted opportunity and regrets piled up. I wasnt a trained expert in any field. What did I know? Then again, I did know a few things I knew about rejection. I knew about the loss of friendship. I knew about living with frustration, anger, and fear. I knew what it was like to struggle with addiction. I knew those things. I knew I had a story to tell.

Tell us about Light Under the House. What was your inspiration/motivation behind this book? 

I feel very stongly about the breakdown of the family and how there is much dysfunction and despair because of it. I wanted to tell a story to shed some light on the situations that many face and hopefully bring some type of reversal to the current dynamic in whatever small way I could. I also wanted to do this while providing a fantastic read. I wanted to challenge men, fathers especially, to be who they were created to be....its certainly a challenge I face myself daily. A challenge that I often fail at but keep picking myself up to start again. So I asked myself, what does it look like to fail and come back again? What does faith in action look like? As I started to ask myself these questions, the novel grew and so did I.

What have you learned through writing this book? 

 If you want to challenge the reader, you have to challenge yourself. Light Under the House is a novel about character. I knew I wanted to be better. A better brother, son, friend, a better man. If I didnt find it challenging, I was certain no one else would. Dont be afraid to be open and generous. Ive learned not be afraid to talk about issues through my story and its characters that are personal me and my struggles. Our scars are just proof that we're still alive; we can show them.

How did you get started writing? 

I'm not so much of a writer as I am a storyteller. I had lots of help from my co-author in the writing of this novel but its my story.

What is your writing process like? How do you get the ideas for what you write? 

 I start with a problem that thats been on my mind or an issue i want to address and spend a great deal of time thinking about how I can address it in story form. I use drawings and a notebook to write down what I come up with and try to look at the problem from a unique point of view. I think that the best stories always relate in some way back to real life..if not, its just entertainment. Even fantasy stories where the hero fights the dragon should make you think about the dragons in your own life and how to overcome them. I want people to able to take away something when they have finished reading.

What is your biggest advice for other writers and young people reaching for their dreams? 

Everyone has a strength; let yours shine. Dont get me wrong; its not all pain. Ive lived a very blessed life. While it was true that I didnt have much technical expertise, I did have life experience. By the time fifteen I had lived in numerous places in the U.S. and abroad. I had been around the world. I had diverse experiences to draw upon in dealing with people and life. It also helped to hone a unique perspective which I hope can be a resource to others. What can you use?

Is there anything else you would like to add? 

 I used many things to model the characters: people I know, other literary figures, actors, biblical characters, celebrities ... the characters are a combination of all of these. I wanted them to be new and familiar, and at the same time universal.

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