Today I’m very lucky to be interviewing Anthony Avina, author of VOID.
Thank you for agreeing to this interview.
No problem. Thank you for taking the time to talk with me. Always a pleasure to talk to fellow book enthusiasts.
Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
Well, I’m 25 years old, and I live in Southern California. I work not only as an author, but also as an associate editor and writer for On Request Magazine, an online entertainment website/magazine that covers a wide array of entertainment. In addition to this, I have my own podcast on iTunes and Sound cloud called The Writers Corner, and I have a mildly successful YouTube channel called Avina Vlogs, where I document my daily life, put up episodes of The Writers Corner, and film weekly videos such as challenges, tags, book reviews, and more. I have always been something of a romantic, and I have always been a fan of the horror, science fiction and fantasy genres, as well as a major comic book nerd. As far as my personal background, I have pushed myself to work as hard as I do on my writing because I have a number of personal ailments and disabilities that have hampered me from pursuing any sort of physical labor career, such as Dercum’s Disease and Fibromyalgia. A few causes I am passionate about are Mental Health Awareness, Equal Rights for All, the LGBTQ community and their rights, and Animal Rights. Finally, I have three amazing pets. Namely, two Golden Retrievers named Clark and Dodger, and an adorable little Yorkshire terrier named Sammy.
It is a Contemporary Romance/Drama.
How do you describe your book?
I would describe it as a modern day play, written so that the reader can visualize the story as a production of sorts. It is an in-depth look inside the lives of true young adults in today’s world, struggling to find their footing as independent adults and dealing with various struggles, such as sexual identity, loss, marriage, abusive relationships and more. It’s a journey for six friends living in Los Angeles, as they try to overcome their individual problems to find hope, happiness, and perhaps even love once more.
Why did you select the title?
I selected the title because the story deals with the VOID people have in their life. This VOID is different for everyone. For some, they are missing friends. For others, they’re missing a sense of purpose, or perhaps they’ve given up on love. Everyone has a struggle that makes these holes in our hearts, and it’s about the journey to overcome that said problem and fill the VOID within us all.
There is an anti-family emotion evident in the book. Do you think family relations are inferior to friendship?
Not at all. I wouldn’t necessarily say the book has an anti-family emotion, but rather redefines what it means to be in a family. There are those who are fortunate enough to have loving, supportive parents, or guardians, who love them unconditionally. For others, they are stuck in a household that’s harmful either physically, mentally or emotionally. Something I have come to realize that there is no one clear definition of family. Family is about having people close to you in your life who love you and care for you unconditionally. As we see in the story, certain characters struggle with their parents or blood relatives, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the end of your relationship with that blood relative. Sometimes in life, we have to lose something in order to gain something else, something maybe even better for us in the end.
What made you decide to sit down and actually start something? What are your ambitions for your writing career?
Well I’ve been a self-published author for over five years, and have primarily written in the horror/science fiction genres. Yet I felt inspired to write this story after hearing the song “Say Something” by A Great Big World a little over a year and a half ago. The song spoke to me on so many levels. It was a tragic song, but there was a certain beauty to it as well. It spoke of saying goodbye to something or someone in your life, so that maybe we could welcome something better. It was a song of loss and love, and that inspired me to sit down, and begin work on this project. Once I had the outline, I was ready to write.
My ambition is to become a full time author. I’d love to work with a publishing house someday. My main ambition is to both entertain my audience and spread a message of hope, of love, and acceptance. I’m a big believer in accepting people for who they are, and not judging those who are different. I want to help bring people closer together, and in the process transport them into these fictional worlds, so that they can escape from whatever troubles them at any given point, but also reflects the world we live in.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
My advice would be to never give up if it’s something you are passionate about. Be open to criticism, and know that no matter how long you’ve been writing, there is always something new for you to learn. Even now, my writing is continuously evolving as I learn and grow with my writing career, and so I’d suggest being open to change, while never giving up on your vision. Don’t be afraid to express yourself or pour your heart and soul into a project. You might find you feel a whole hell of a lot better once you see your feelings and emotions played out across a novel, novella, short story, poem or even a piece of flash fiction. If you love it, never stop writing, and of course, don’t stop reading either. Reading books is what got us all to this point in the first place.
Where do you see publishing going in the future?
I think the world of publishing is changing constantly. Right now, there are way more opportunities for people to self-publish than ever before. I know there are fears that the market will become over-saturated due to places like Amazon Kindle and iBooks making it so easy for authors to publish their works themselves. However, I’m more encouraged than discouraged. I think it’s amazing that so many people finally have a means to express themselves and showcase their talent. There will always be someone who wants to read a writer’s work. Yet as much as technology is advancing and e-readers are the way of the future, I don’t see paperbacks or hardback copies of books dying down until our resources are used up. Every generation will always have those who love to hold a book in their hands rather than look at a screen, which I totally understand because I love that feeling as well. I think from here, publishing is going to grow and grow exponentially, and the world is going to get a whole lot bigger in the process.
Did you do a press release, Goodreads book launch or anything else to promote your work and did it work?
I contacted several blogs and websites prior to the launch, and recently did an interview with my local paper to build my presence in my local community. However, my main marketing goals are for now, after the launch. I plan to reach out to podcasts, more blogs and websites, radio stations and more with a press release, and I plan to host some giveaways for both physical and electronic copies of the book. I also did a lot of coverage on my YouTube channel and podcast, which I think helped generate some early pre-order sales.
Why did you decide to self-publish?
I’ve been self-publishing for over five years, because it has given young writers like myself the chance to get their work noticed without the constant wait for publishers to get back to you on their proposal. I felt it was especially appropriate because this was a novella rather than a novel, and so it was shorter in length and easier to manage myself rather than with a whole team of people.
Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included?
No, that’s about everything. I think these questions were very well said and thought out. I appreciate you taking the time to talk to me today. Like I said I’m a romantic and a believer in showcasing stories of rich characters pursuing happiness and love in their lives, no matter how big the struggle before them. I hope readers will be entertained and fall in love with the characters in this book, while also relating to the characters struggles and pursuit of happiness. Thank you for your time, and thank you all for choosing to read my work. It means the world to me, and gives me the inspiration to continue with my writing career.
How can readers discover more about you and you work?
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003ACFI2U
Book Links: (* American, UK, etc.)
Also available in all other Amazon markets, as well as in paperback on Createspace, Amazon and other retailers.
YouTube Channel: www.youtube.com/GunslingerPimp
Thank you very much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to take part in this interview. May god make all your dreams come true without sacrificing anything.