25 Jan 2011

Dominae Primus feature-interview text transcript

Text transcript of my interview feature with Cathy Stucker as she discusses with me on issues of interest. Cathy Stucker is a literary blogger who keeps a lookout for emerging authors and literary issues.
Dominae Primus

*Tell us something about yourself.
I am from the island of Penang, Malaysia. It is a former British colony. In my case I found that the more effort I put into the language the easier it became for me to master it. I also discovered a knack for writing in the process. Sometimes it’s just like music or art or even cooking. The language chose me as a medium and I embraced it!

How did you know you wanted to be a writer? How did you get started?
I’ve been working at my writing skills ever since my teenage years. I studied English Literature and excelled in it while at school. The idea of becoming a writer started around the same time. I thought to myself, “Some day those words will be mine not some one else’s on the pages.”

Why did you choose to release under the name Dominae Primus?
It’s like a brand that I intend to build up. Also it’s my manner of separating my creative side from my mundane side.

If I were to release under my full name, readers might have preconceived notions about what I write and that is something that I prefer to avoid. As Dominae Primus I stay clear from those search-for-identity, clash-of-cultures, archaic-scandalous-traditions writer.

*What is your most recent book? Tell us a bit about it.
‘Absolutely Done’ is my most recent book although !Attention! was released a little after. ‘Absolutely Done’ is my first full length work incorporating action, comedy, mythology and spirituality. It is propelled by the themes of good, evil and retribution with some imagined settings.

The prequel to ‘Absolutely Done’ is ‘Second Chances’ a mock fairy tale. It’s light compared to the harder action sequences in ‘Absolutely Done’.

What inspired you to write this book?
In ‘Absolutely Done’, I wanted to portray Death as a fallible character, not the all powerful Grim Reaper. He also needs a break from the job every now and then. So he gets some help from Absolute, the unconventional Angel and his sidekick, Trench Coate. I wanted a story with some comical aspects rather than heavy hard core action all the time. Then you also have Lady Hope who packs a punch when in a fight. We make fun of mythology and turn their attributes to our favour when formulating the fantastical aspects of the story. Action takes place in our world, in fantastical landscapes, reaching its peak in the outer regions of the Underworld.

How did you choose titles for your books?
Sometimes it’s the name of the setting as in ‘Granary County’, a satire of the Western genre. At times it’s a play of the main character’s name such as ‘Absolutely Done’. The title may also be the main theme such the mock fairy tale ‘Second Chances’ or a play of the main theme in the humorous action release ‘!Attention!’. It’s more straight forward in ‘Daily Doses and Vital Verses’ since it expresses the contents of both poetry and thoughts written in prose.

What obstacles did you encounter in getting your books published? How did you overcome them?
Like all writers I encountered obstacles almost every step of the way. I’ve had the chance of being considered by notable literary agencies and publishers but in order for these agencies to take you in, you have to convince an entire committee, not just several members of the committee. I find that very unfair. I cannot be expected to change myself just to fit the requirements of a committee who might have set ideas about how and what a writer should write. There’s no pleasing every one.

Also the catch 22 of literary agent and publisher prior to getting published is a nuisance.
I got to know my ebook enabler and retailer when I contacted Research in Motion, the makers of Blackberry which in turn recommended them. I believe in getting my works out there now rather than wait indefinitely for some agency to pick you out. If there’s any agency or publisher out there they’ll know me after I have released my works.

Do you have any writing rituals?
I wouldn’t call it a ritual. It’s more of a discipline. Making notes, jotting down snatches of conversation, drafting sequences and then writing them down when I have adequate material. It all seems disjointed at first, but more will come if one worked at it. It’s a little puzzle that has to be constructed one bit at a time.

How do you come up with the names for your characters?
I try to frame them in humorous terms, deliberately give them a plain name or have some reference in their name to their attributes. It takes some thought to come up with names.

Did you learn anything from writing and publishing your books?
You have to be satisfied with the final draft. You have to trust the people who handle the digital format customisation for ebook releases.
I know how to apply for a publisher’s licence, how to obtain a unique ISBN for each book and how to have the same information captured for retail channels.
Creatively I have control but once it’s out there, it’s up to the market forces, support from readers, reviewers and media channels to spread the word.

If you were doing it all over again, what would you do differently?
Less emphasis on short stories. I would not have signed up with my first literary agent who was a fraud. It happened before we had Internet access.

What types of books do you like to read? Who are your favorite authors? Why?
I’m a very eclectic reader so I don’t normally follow someone unless they’re constantly appealing to my taste and ideals. My current picks date back some years.

I also enjoy action comics as in war themed illustrated comics from the UK. I’ve read those since I was a child. Seeing a girl reading those raises eyebrows. Most will think it’s a passing fad. But seeing a woman reading those shatters stereotypes.

Another feature I enjoy is spiritual fiction such as selected works by Kahlil Gibran, Paulo Coelho and Jostein Gaarder.

Are you working on your next book? What can you tell us about it?
I am collecting and working on material for two divergent books based on a common thread. They may not have the same cast always but there is always a constant character who emerges in the stories. Readers will find a secret world beneath normal perceived reality. Some elements may be fantastical, but the stories that develop, the portrayal of aspects of human behaviour, occasionally controversial themes explored make them believable. Some of the oft repeated values and ideals that civilised society preaches are fallible. You have to make your own way in this world, among the moral, immoral and the spaces between those extremes.

*What is the best advice you could give other writers about writing or publishing?
Keep writing and get exposure. Don’t always follow conventional publishing paths because that may take forever and you don’t have forever! Don’t ever forget that ambition because without it there will be no drive.

Who is the perfect reader for your book?
People who enjoy wit, action, comedy with some spirituality and philosophy in the mix. Ages 12 and above!

Where can readers learn more about you and your books?
My ebooks are available for an international audience through kobobooks.com


For more on my released works, visit my weblog at http://dominaeprimus.blogspot.com/

6 Jan 2011

Dominae Primus- interview by Joanne Troppello

January 3rd 2011- I'm featured in an interview with Joanne Troppello. The full text is available at Joanne's weblog. Thanks again Joanne for the spot!

Full text  of interview available below:

Dominae Primus is a creative content writer and editor with practical experience in diverse industries. The author’s commercial releases are mainly action comedy, ranging from mock fairy tales to heavier doses of intensity which tread a fine balance of humour, imagination and engaging action. In addition, Dominae Primus has also released a compilation of philosophical reflections and poetry.  
The author has original compositions showcased online at BBC Shropshire Edition-The Write Stuff, ABC Tales & Project Gutenberg (listed under ‘Dom’). The author considers it an honour to be listed at Project Gutenberg along with literary luminaries of eras past.
For the future, Dominae Primus stories are expected to include more imaginative elements fusing with a backdrop of spirituality and constant doses of humour. The author believes that there is more towards understanding this life than the external realities perceived by the senses.
Weblog: http://dominaeprimus.blogspot.com/

Second Chances
ISBN 978-967-5785-00-9
A mock fairy tale with enough action, comedy, wit and imagination to make you root for the chief characters. Prequel to the harder hitting ‘Absolutely Done’.

Absolutely Done
ISBN 978-967-5785-01-6
An adventure, action comedy that is as full of slam bang action as it is in terms of witty comic exchanges, wise cracking and spirituality with a nod to mythology. Light enough for the casual reader, engaging for audiences looking beyond flash and explosions and intense enough in action for those who wish to have a cinematic feel of brawn and adrenaline.

Granary County
ISBN 978-967-5785-02-3
An edible tribute to the spaghetti western genre, where the good sheriff and lawmen fight the evil villains. The characters in this imaginative satire are delicious with a deadly attitude to boot!

ISBN 978-967-5785-04-7
This is wild ride featuring displaced radio hosts, a reality TV crew, a pig and a ram who own a bakery and a host of bad GM vegetables who serve an attention draining villain and his sister. This is a tale where a food fight equals a fight for survival.

Daily Doses & Vital Verses
ISBN 978-967-5785-03-0
This is a dual journey of poetic artistry and philosophy.
Vital Verses portion deals with poems that celebrate hope and faith in life despite its turmoil and contradictions. Daily Doses portion is the author’s sharing of philosophical reflections. If taken one per day, the compilation lasts an entire calendar year!

Interview with Joanne Troppello transcript begins after this line:
Why did you become a writer…was it a dream of yours since you were younger or did the desire to write happen later in your life?

The idea of becoming a writer came about when I became aware of my abilities during my teenage years.

What was the inspiration for your latest work of fiction?
My latest work of fiction is actually ‘Absolutely Done’ although I had ‘!Attention!’ released a little later. ‘!Attention!’ is a completed humorous story lying dormant and waiting to be released. ‘Absolutely Done’ is inspired by a mix of hard core action, spirituality, comedy and mythology. As good, evil, the grey areas and the amoral are part of existence, people can relate to that.

Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?
Both imagination and real life experiences.

What was the most interesting research you had to do for any of your books? Where do you go to do your research?
My research if any will encompass real life observations, reference materials that are both static and dynamic (books, multi-media, Internet posted material)

How do you go from an idea for a book to the birth of the story? Is the process the same for every book you write? How long does it take you to write a book?
Some of them took as long as two years because I was working full time and took time out to write in between work. Some shorter works took about several months before completion. Typically I would need a year to finish, from concept to rough draft, edits before the finalized version.

Are you currently working on any new book projects?
Yes I am. More books in the future. I have to jot down more ideas and snippets of action sequences. Getting ideas for two divergent books simultaneously linked by a common thread.

Do you have any advice for beginning writers on how to write a book? Do you have any advice for them regarding promoting that book once published?
First of all have your own style. Next, write things that you are confident of carrying through. Get as much exposure as possible without breaking the bank. You don’t necessarily require payment for reviews. If so, be wary of the service provider!

What is your favorite work of literary fiction and why? Do you have a favorite literary author?
I prefer spiritual literary fiction. The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran is an outstanding piece if you don’t mind the New King James Bible inspired style. A well written, pithy work with philosophical and spiritual appeal. Never ever equate length with quality. It’s what’s inside.

Who is your favorite contemporary author? Are you currently reading any contemporary novels?
I’m a very eclectic reader so I don’t normally follow someone unless they’re constantly appealing to my taste and ideals. My current picks date some years back. I also read action comics.

What’s your writing schedule like? When do you find time to write?
I may not have set times to write but I will find time to jot down my ideas. Ideas are most vital. It’s usually when I’m not working on any immediate assignments when I find time to write. Sometimes I make sure I write something before I turn in for the night especially when I’ve enough notes and material to work on.

How did you find your publisher? What was your journey to publication like?
I am my own publisher. I found my eBook enabler and retailer when I contacted Research in Motion, the makers of Blackberry. It has been a long way and I could’ve reached publication stage earlier if not for the literary agent and publisher conundrum that I had to face. In fact I’ve faced almost every barrier. It’s easier to be inspired and write than to land an agent or publisher.

Do you have any writing idiosyncrasies?
None that I know of!

How have your friends and family received your career as an author? Are they supportive?

Not all friends know that I write and have released work. Not all relatives know that I write to start with! I come from a diverse family and not every one reads or speaks English fluently. I’ve friends and relatives who are supportive. Only they are aware of what I do and have been striving towards.

What’s the most challenging aspect of writing for you? ~ POV issues; using too much passive voice and not enough active voice; trouble creating active and engaging dialogue; using too many similar words in starting sentences; or something else?
The most challenging is to have a constant stream of ideas or ideas that are sustainable and pliable. Once you have those, words will follow.


Dominae, thank you for stopping by today. I enjoyed our conversation!