Interview with Bernard Maestas
What genre do you write and why?
I write across all genres but my published work has been thrillers that skew slightly YA. My first series, “Internet Tough Guys” is an action thriller loaded with internet memes and video game humor while this one sits in a sort of “film noir” crime genre.
Beyond thrillers, I’ve been working on some sci-fi and fantasy stories that I’m eager to share when they’re ready to go. Some of my in-progress works are written towards a more adult audience than the others.
What advice do you have for other writers?
Not much. Writing is such a unique and individual experience that little I have to say would work for others. All I can offer is what works for me, what I’ve learned through my own challenges, and let them draw what’s useful.
For me, the biggest thing is remember that writing is fun, even when it hurts. It’s a hobby, it’s a great outlet for things that happen in real life, and, in the end, I do it for myself. I write what’s in my head, not what I think people want to read. I probably couldn’t sit down and say, “I’m going to write something to market here” or anything like that and, if I did, I probably wouldn’t enjoy it. When it stops being fun,
What's your favourite quote about writing/for writers?
“Writing is easy. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” – Ernest Hemingway
What's the best thing about being a writer?
I like this question because it ties in well with the two above. Writing is a great outlet. I draw from my feelings, from things that happen to and around me, and weave them into the stories. As much as I may bleed writing a story, there’s a great catharsis at the end that leaves me lighter and free than when I began.
Where can people find out more about you and your writing?
I try to stay active on social media, especially on Facebook (BernardMaestasOfficial). You can find me on Twitter and Instagram @BernardMaestas. I’ve also got a website, www.bernardmaestas.wix.com/home.
Who is you favorite character in your book and why?
When I first read this question, I thought it would be difficult to answer. I really like all my protagonists but once I considered it, the answer is definitely Kaity. As a character, she’s got a lot going, between her range, gravitas, and wit. I consider her some of my best work as a writer. But, she and her first incarnation – the unpublished “Bullet to the Heart,” which became “Concrete Smile” along with two other failed manuscripts – were both huge steps for me as a writer. For that, she’ll always hold a special place in my heart.
What is your work in progress? Tell us about it.
As I write this, I’m putting the finishing touches on my latest manuscript. It’s a more solidly young adult title blending urban fantasy – ala the “Anita Blake” or “Sookie Stackhouse” series – with comic book-style superheroes – such as “Kick-Ass” and “Spiderman” – with a pinch of horror thrown in for good measure.
What are your thoughts on self-publishing verses traditional publishing?
Traditional publishing is an exercise in frustration and heartbreak, at least to me. The struggle of getting my first novel out there taught me a lot. I never seriously considered self-publishing but I absolutely recognize it as a viable option for writers. These days, self-published authors are having success like never before so I don’t see why not. Just because no agents or publishers will pick up a book, doesn’t mean it’s not good or potentially successful.
Who or what inspired you to become a writer?
I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. Before I could read, I was into comic books and have carried that with me ever since. Some of my earliest work was in the graphic format and, to this day, I sometimes think that maybe that’s the best medium for me to work in. Marvel and Dark Horse Comics kept me interested with titles like “Sgt. Rock” and the “Aliens” and “Predator” stories. “The Maxx” is one of my all-time favorite stories.
The first book I read by myself was “The Hobbit” but the first one that really inspired me to be an author was Orson Scott Card’s “Ender’s Game.”
When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?
Besides being a full-time police officer – a calling I’ve had almost as long as the one to be a writer – I spend a lot of time slinging memes on the internet. I’m a recreational athlete, karaoke superstar, and fantasy football titan. I spend about as much time PC gaming as I do writing these days – and I should really work on balancing that ration a bit.