Tell us a bit about your family. I have a mother and a father (I know, shocking), and they are both Geminis. I am also a Gemini, so I guess that time of the year has some resonance. I am the youngest in my family, and I have two sisters and one brother. I am very close with one of my sisters, who is a similar age to me, and there is a roughly 15 year age gap between me and my other siblings. People tend to think my family are noisy, down to earth, perhaps odd, and generally fun. I tend to agree.
What is your favorite quality about yourself? This is a double-edged sword, but my perfectionism. If I am to do something I like to do it well, and I strive to constantly improve in every way possible. This can be quite stressful at times, and can lead to me never being truly pleased with my work. Over the years I have tried to mitigate this and find a balance between striving forward and accepting things as they are, but ultimately I see this aspect of my personality as something that allows me to produce things at a high quality, and equally appreciate the magnificence of other creations that have involved similar dedication.
What is your least favorite quality about yourself? Again, this would be perfectionism. As much as it can encourage me to constantly improve, it often makes me concentrate on the faults in my work, and not want to share it until those are ironed out. The problem is that reality has faults, and no matter how vigorously we iron, there will always be faults, some that are hidden, some that are tough to straighten out, and others that have been newly created by us in our efforts to level the landscape. This is partly why my debut novel is 13 years in the making, but thankfully I have grown and matured a lot in those years, and I have found it easier to simply “let go,” accept things for what they are, and put my energies into the next project instead of trying to constantly perfect the previous one.
What is your favorite quote, by whom, and why? I don’t have a single favourite quote, but one that I encountered recently and quite like is:
“Man, because he sacrifices health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then he dies having never really lived.”
This has been attributed to the Dalai Lama, in answer to the question “what surprises you most about humanity?” My attempts to find the source of the quote suggest he never said this at all, which highlights the unreliability of many things on the internet, but there is still a lot of truth in it.
As far as I see it, money is merely a means to an end. Were it not a necessity to live in our world, many of us would have no desire for it. In and of itself it is meaningless and valueless, but with it we can achieve many things, and it is those things that are important: our dreams and aspirations. We worry and fear, and many of us slave away to earn money we cannot spend, because we no longer have the time, energy or will for it. Often people spend their money so they can make more money, amassing more of nothing. I would rather live a modest life doing the things I love than be rich in money and poor in spirit.
What are you most proud of accomplishing so far in your life? I tend not to linger in the pride of past work, but look to what I can accomplish next. If pushed to answer, however, I would say finally becoming a professional fiction writer, which is my childhood dream.
What is your favorite color? Blue, especially the really deep blues. I also like yellow, and that was a colour I felt special affinity with as a child.
What is your favorite food? I like variety, with many flavours, a hint of spice, and some kind of sauce or marinade. I strongly dislike dry food, and am not a huge fan of meat, but will eat some. I don’t have one specific food that I would eat more than any others, but I do like Chinese and Italian cuisine.
What’s your favorite place in the entire world? I haven’t visited the entire world, so my answer to this would be very uninformed. I like it here in Ireland, and I don’t think I would live elsewhere. I like places with history and a link to mythology, so Egypt, Greece, and many Asian countries are forerunners. I cannot say I enjoy the heat, however.
How has your upbringing influenced your writing? My parents bought me a computer for my 12th birthday, which helped my writing a lot. When we were picking it out the guy in the store offered us a choice between a gaming PC and one with Microsoft Word. I wanted the latter, which, in retrospect, is an unusual choice for a child.
All my life experiences, including my family life and childhood, have had a bearing on who I am, and thus has, by extension, influenced my writing in some manner.
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Genre – Fantasy
Rating – PG