by Jaime A. Geraldi Your writing has been embraced by book lovers of all genres across the globe. When an idea for a story is born, do you think of the fans and construct the tale aimed specifically towards their interests? Or do you let the characters do the talking for you and hope for the best? JC: As every writer should, I write from what happens in the recesses of my head rather than tailoring it to a particular audience. I write what I write, and if people enjoy or relate to it, then that’s all to the good. From time to time, there might be an anthology call and I will write to a theme accordingly, but that’s around the only stricture. I think that’s why you see my work ranging across a number of genres and even mainstream, or mixes of one or two of them. Most of my stuff is pretty dark, but that’s just the way I think. It’s not in your face dark, but more subtle and the implications might creep up on you. It appears that you had quite a vast interest in academics varying from biochemistry to psychology. Did any of your studies play a major role in any of your short stories or novels? JC: So, way back when, I had illusions of going into medicine. Partly family pressure, partly other things, but circumstance conspired to make that not an option, and thank goodness; I would make a terrible doctor. Then for a while there was acting, but writing was always there in the background. Biochem was not for me and then parapsychology was really interesting, though a very hard road. I sort of meandered through my academic career until I stumbled upon what would become my major line of research and study, the History and Philosophy of Science. Concentrating on the way truth is constructed and the influence of its context and belief systems was fascinating to me. Ultimately, though, it was all practice for putting together a large number of words in a structured and properly researched way. I will do quite a bit of research up front for a book or a story. As a serious world renowned traveler, is it easy to find a way to keep your mind open accepting the diverse cultures and languages while you’re trying to keep your senses sharp to absorb the new and amazing surroundings as well? JC: Hmm, an interesting question. Yes, I travel a lot for day job things. It’s funny, but it gets to a point where everything is different so everything is the same. Yes, there are cultural differences, there are variations in setting, but you can draw parallels from one place to another. If you are in these places for work, then it’s pretty much airport, office, hotel and that’s about it. There are some opportunities for sightseeing, but most of it is pretty whirlwind. Of course, I also believe that there’s an osmotic process that works when you are embedded into these environments and they all become part of what you are and so, as a result, end up somehow on the page when you sit down to write. Is there one city or country that you haven’t been to that may be on your bucket list or near future? JC: Guatemala, but not right at the moment. Deeply interested in the Mayan ruins in the region. I started writing a Mayan mythos YA fantasy, but have not yet found the impetus to take it forward. I did a lot of research for that, but maybe I have to see the things to kick me into action on that one. Many budding writers always seem to admit that they have trouble finding the time to silence the voices in their head and actually get their chaotic thoughts on paper. What words of wisdom can you offer, and as such a busy man yourself, how do you seem to push aside your hectic schedule to actually write these award-winning tales? JC: Every writer works in a different way. I for example start with a concept, or a phrase, and then it may be days, weeks or months before I sit down to put pen to paper. And yes, it quite often starts with pen and paper. By the time my…I don’t know what you’d call it…subconscious…I refer to it as the lizard brain, has processed everything in background and I’m ready…I can’t explain it, somehow, I just know it’s time, and I sit down and write, and then it comes out in a flood. Others tend to be meticulous plotters. I can’t do that. I like the words to surprise me. Best advice though is sit down and write. Doesn’t matter about the voices or where you are or when you are, just sit down and write. When I’m truly on a run, I tend to get up really early around 5:00 and work for a couple of hours every day. It’s amazing how much you can produce on that schedule. Do you read as much as you write? If so, do you prefer old-fashioned paperbacks or hardcovers, or have you been swept away by the e-reader nation also? JC: I read voraciously and across multiple genres. My Kindle saved my life. It’s perfect for travel. I usually have three or four books on the go at any one time. The psychological horror, EMPTIES is your latest novel. The thrilling plot left me on the very edge of my seat! As you’re writing riveting and mysterious books such as this, do you plan on picking readers’ brains and leaving their mouths agape? Or, is this just a gift that comes naturally to you? JC: Heh. This is always the way I would like to leave readers. I like to screw with their thought processes, perhaps challenge their preconceptions and their own versions of their own realities. If something you read doesn’t challenge you in some way, then I’m not sure it’s done its job, unless you are looking at pure escapism, but then that’s a challenge to normality as well. You have confessed that La Jeune Martyre by Paul Delaroche is your favorite painting which not only currently is displayed in the Louvre Museum in Paris, but also in your home as well above your workspace. There is no question that it is an exquisite piece. Does this work of art withhold any sentimental value to you, and has it been an inspiration for your determination to write?
JC: I just like the mix of beauty and darkness. The shadowy figure in the background, the tragedy, the beauty of the sacrifice, it’s all there. I have sat in front of this piece in the Louvre (it’s quite large) and simply marveled. Do you currently have any works in progress that you can share with us? JC: I am currently in the final stages of a new novel called The Memory Box where I spend time exploring the way we modify our own memories of the way things happened and distort them to fit our own perceptions of ourselves. It also plays with the idea that a town or a city may have its own collective consciousness or set of memories and that they help to shape our actions as well. I’m also playing with a couple of other concepts and I expect those to turn into some pen on paper really very soon. Of course, another short story is always likely to pop out at any time, so keep watching.