1) Tell us a bit about yourself – Name, Location, Favorite Genres to Write and Read
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Love creating children’s picture books, love reading business books.
2) When did you first start writing and was there a specific moment that made you realize you wanted to be an author?
My first children’s book was written and illustrated at the age of 12. I followed up with a second book just a few years later, in high school. The first was written in Korean, the second in French. I’m still trying to track down the original copies of these two books. I think my parents are hiding them for safe-keeping. I always liked being creative. In elementary school, I won two art awards from Japan. I really liked drawing hills, skies and sunshine as a child, always thinking that this would be my peaceful life.
After the two books, I stopped writing stories for over a decade. Being an author never seemed like an achievable dream to me after graduating from high school. I went into business and became a marketer. At the age of 27, I got back into children’s books in a big way. While working 9-to-5, my hobbies were writing and illustrating during the daily commutes on the bus. Some days I would create multiple stories without noticing what time it was. Then I noticed the sheer number of ideas in my head and knew there was something to my madness. I have over 500 ideas for children’s books in a spreadsheet I keep. It gets updated every day. I think the idea of being author truly came about at 27, during my first self-publication of a children’s book I wrote about my ex. The draft was completed in one day. I find that if I’m really emotional or depressed, my stories are better. That day was quite emotional for me.
3) Where are you in your author journey? Traditionally Published, Self-Published, Writing your First book?
I am 100% self-published for all of my stories. The books are in a number of formats, from eBooks and paperbacks, to YouTube videos and audio. There is no one on my team, just myself. One day I might pursue traditional publication, but for now I like the freedom of creating stories on my terms.
4) How would you describe your writing? Are there any comparable writers that potential readers would know?
My style is very much a hybrid of Roger Hargreaves, Dr. Seuss and Shel Silverstein. Or, in other words: simple, quirky and emotional.
5) When you set out to write a story, what is your ultimate goal?
Self-therapy. Each created book is one less session with my psychotherapist 🙂
From an unselfish standpoint, my books help readers with self-confidence and being themselves. That was not my intention going in, but it just so happens that the stories help me with those things. For children, confidence and self-esteem are such important themes growing up, and I hope my books can help them. They certainly help a grown-up like me!
6) Can you describe your complete writing process?
The title is always the first thing I jot down, usually in my smartphone’s notes app. This is great for on-the-fly ideation. Usually the title describes the general overview of the story. Next, I would outline a rough story in the notes app, sentence by sentence. By stories are quite simple, which means a single sentence could be an entire page. From there, I will create drawings based on each page. I have a template that I use for all of my books, which simplifies the creation process and removes writer’s block.
7) What has been your biggest challenge as a writer?
Making money. I create all of my stories for the fun of it, and for a long time, I gave everything away for free. Now, I’m just learning how to tap into my audience and connect with them on a meaningful level.
8) What is something you wish you knew when you started writing that you know now?
Writing is an extremely isolating experience. You are alone with your thoughts, and those thoughts can be scary. The entire process of creating a book can result in a range of emotions. There are days when I wish I could always be immersed in a story and never finish it. Being lost in a story is much nicer than being lost in life. You can’t help but feel that raw loss when a story is completed and ready for the world.
9) What would be your number one tip for other aspiring writers?
Focus on volume, not perfection. Get into a rhythm of daily word count. Some writers will spend decades on semantics, bells and whistles, when ideas are just waiting to be executed for new stories. A full-length book should be drafted within three months, and a picture book should be even quicker. In my case, there were days when I’d have three picture book drafts in 12 hours. You will improve if you keep creating and keep exploring new ideas.
10) Where can readers find your work? List books, formats, and where they can find them?
11) Out of all your stories, who is the favorite character you’ve ever created? Why?
There is a shy boy I created in a series of picture books. In each book, he ventures into a new experience. When I was a young boy, I was quite shy. I still am. I idealized the idea of exploring new adventures every day. I still do. I hope all kids and grown-ups do. The first book in the series of three is called ‘Boy Who Stares at Top of Page’. I think it’s a really cute and innovative way of demonstrating childhood growth and exploration.
12) Can you share a couple of your favorite passages from one works?
That’s from ‘Hyperactivity Maniacal Child’, a picture book about ADHD.
13) Anything else you’d like to share?
It’s really great to see people from all over the world, growing and becoming self-confident in their lives. I just hope my books can help inspire others to try new things and break out of their comfort zones.