Thursday, July 19, 2012

D.A. Ramirez Author Interview

Photo Content from D.A. Ramirez

D.A. Ramirez was born in Fresno, CA in 1981. A graduate of Madera High School, D.A. studied Literature at UC Santa Cruz and Economics at the University of Oklahoma. Ramirez served six years in the United States Marine Corps as a decorated Captain and veteran of the Iraq War.

His journey has taken him all over the world, from Japan to the Middle East, and back home to California. He holds Bachelors and Masters Degrees, and is currently applying to the Masters of Professional Writing program at the University of Southern California. He now resides in North Hollywood, CA with his wife, Crissia.

His current projects include the marketing of two novels for publication, several short stories, and work on a screenplay for a television series. D.A. believes that while Art is entertainment—it is also meant to bring about change in the way we see the world and the way we progress through it. His philosophy is that the stewards of Literature have a responsibility to heighten our culture through discovery and passion.


Was there a defining moment during your youth when you realized you wanted to be a writer?
I watched the occasional cartoon when I was young, but I was mostly a reader. I’d read the newspaper if there was nothing else I could get. I fell in love with books. My mom wouldn’t see me for weeks; I would stay in my room and read one or two books a day that would come to define my life. I started writing stories of my own when I was about twelve, just because it was fun. Then, one day, my dad started telling me that I could be anything I wanted to be when I grew up. So I would think: “Anything, huh?”

Why is storytelling so important for all of us?
Education. Not in the boring kind of way, but because we all want to learn how to feel, how to love, cry, be afraid, feel your heart race, uncover the mystery. I truly believe in the human’s constant desire to discover not only new information but new feelings that we didn’t know we had.

What is the best piece of advice you ever received from another author?
I had a chance to speak with Marie Lu a few weeks ago at the LA Literary Festival. She talked about her own struggles, how she had to write three novels over ten years before publishing Legend. Her advice to be patient really brought home the idea that failure is a large part of success.

In your new book; Kingdom of Glass, can you tell my Book Nerd community a little about it and why they should read your novel?
It’s a story about a boy named Robert who grows up in a small town called North Fork. The town is deep in the woods and set off from civilization. From there, Robert must decide between his own survival and the safety of everyone in the city. It has love, adventure, mystery, and other elements that pop up when least expected.

If you could introduce Robert to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
Holden Caulfield from Catcher in the Rye. Robert needs a friend with a good sense of humor to lighten the mood. Plus, Holden’s a talker/thinker and Robert’s a listener. I think they’d be great friends and I’d pay money to hear their conversation.

Why do you feel you had to tell this story?
I wanted to write a story about someone who’s special. Not part of some kind of unique society, group of people, or new species, but someone who’s actually special. Then I came up with this grand, broad-sweeping epic that would have been about two thousand pages long, so I figured I should break it up a bit. This is the beginning of that special person.

What are some of your current and future projects that you can share with us?
I’ve already written part two to Kingdom of Glass, called The Prince of Light. I’ve written another novel called Something Beautiful, which is a love story and a mystery with a criminal element. I’ve written dozens of short stories that I’ll be shopping soon, and I’m working with a couple Hollywood friends on series of episodes for a new sitcom.

When asked, what’s the one question you always answer with a lie?
“How are you doing?” I never know how to answer that question, and I get asked it more often than any other. I always say “fine,” but I’m never doing “fine.” I’m either terrible or I’m great. I don’t want to say “terrible,” because I’ll bring them down. Or maybe they’re not doing so well, and if I say “great,” it’ll make them feel worse. Plus, I hate that question. No one who asks you that really wants to know how you’re doing.

What’s the best advice you can give writers to help them develop their own unique voice and style?
While it’s important to read, read, and read some more, I would suggest not reading while you’re trying to write. Inevitably, your admiration for that book will leak into your own writing. So close the door, be calm in your mind, and take the week off of reading the week before as you develop your craft and your own story.

Who is the first person you call when you have a bad day?
My wife. She’s been there for me for over nine years. And whenever I talk to her, I know that I’m not alone.

When was the last time you cried?
I’m a crier, but I’m hesitant to admit it. I don’t know how many people will read this interview, but I guess they’ll know it, too. I hide it well during sad movies with a sleeve or whatever. So the last time I cried? I was at Disneyland watching the Lincoln speech and hearing him talking about how great America is.

What are you most passionate about today?
Other than writing, I’m trying to reconnect with friends and family that I’ve been away from for over ten years of Marine Corps and college. It’s not as easy as it sounds. You come back and think there’s going to be a parade, but some people look at you like “Where you been?” But that’s what it’s all about: connecting with people. Not easy for an introvert like myself.

What is the one, single food that you would never give up?
I like a good, old-fashioned burger. My wife will try to take me to a seafood place, or even when we were stationed in Japan and we walked into a sushi house, the first question I ask is: “Do you have burgers here?” Soda, too. I have a hard time giving that up.

North Fork is a small town, but it's about to get smaller. Students are falling ill. Panic is setting in. A mayor is trying to hold it all together. One boy holds the answer to the fate of all. Robert grows up in a small town and suffers hardships that no child should be faced with. Forced to cope with the sudden loss of his parents, he must find a way to survive the ever-increasing odds against him. His journey takes him through heaven and hell, from the pressures of neighborhood bullies to the mysteries of love. Meanwhile, a strength grows inside of him that he doesn't understand. His world is changing at a pace that he can't follow, accompanied by challenges for which he is unprepared. His body is turning into a mysterious weapon that he can't control, and there is no one to turn to. His friends disappear and he is once again at the center of the storm. Robert must fight his own past to discover the truth behind the plague that is certain to destroy North Fork. When his own life is threatened, he is forced to confront the power within before all is lost. A story of personal change through sacrifice and hardship, Kingdom of Glass takes us on a journey through the human psyche, confronting the truth behind what we perceive to be right and wrong. It's a story of heart, struggle, and survival that keeps you guessing until the end. Like Robert Lawson, we never know when our world will begin to shatter around us.
You can purchase Kingdom of Glass at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you D.A. RAMIREZ for making this giveaway possible.
5 Winners will receive one e-copy of Kingdom of Glass by D.A. Ramirez.