I am a forty one-year old woman of Filipino heritage, living in southern California all my life. I consider myself to be a Renaissance woman – someone who is naturally talented in different areas of work and fun, lives a very full life, and a person with diverse and eclectic interests. I have been married to the same man for eight years, and we have two adorable, loving, Autistic young sons (ages five and four).
I am a public university mid-level administrator for a pre-college program by day, but by night I am a writer, storyteller, author, and artist. I call myself a social justice advocate, and became one since my husband was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, and my two sons with Autism and Autism Spectrum Disorder. I am fiercely passionate about all I undertake, whether it is writing, helping low-income families find options for education, or speaking up and out for children and adults with disabilities.
Tell us about your latest book.
The Last Prophet, Raphael’s Journey, is book three of the series and is currently in the editing process with my publisher. The Last Prophet, Raphael’s Journey, continues to tell the story of Dr. Sophia Randall, the chosen last prophet of our time, as she delivers her messages of hope and redemption from God. In this third installment, we see another archangel emerge as a guardian protector for a special young man who is dealing with recovery and healing.
The archangel Raphael is sent to a former sailor named Cody who is in need of healing from past addictions to painful sensations, as well as reconciliation with his family and his past. Throughout the book, we see a change in Cody as his faith grows, and he learns to trust his angel, and he discovers a greater purpose for his life. In this book, we see an increase of spiritual warfare as the forces of darkness have sent an ancient enemy of the archangels to bring the downfall of humanity. It is a rather fast paced book with confrontations between good and evil increasing, and readers who have not caught up with the series would most likely need to read at least book two (Michael’s Mission) in order to understand some of the references made about the archangels included in this third book.
What do you have coming out in the future?
I am currently working on book four of The Last Prophet series, Uriel’s Light, and hope to have it sent off to my publisher before Christmas, with the hopes of a Valentine’s Day release (or close to that date). That is my “hope” but sometimes life happens, especially with kids with special needs and a busy work schedule. I take it one day at a time, so I keep plugging away until I get closer to the goal.
Since The Last Prophet is a five-part series, book five, Raziel’s Revelation, will tie all the previous books back together and close out the series, while at the same time introduce the follow-up series. Some of the information on upcoming projects is available on my Weebly author’s page.
Do you ever base your characters on real people in your life?
Yes, I do actually. One of the things I love to do is meet new people and as I get to know them and let them get to know me, I ask them to tell me their story. Books two, three, and four of the current series I am writing were based on elements from people I have met or people who have told me their stories through Facebook or in passing conversation. You never know where the next story may come from.
One person was simply telling me of an unusual encounter she had that she believed was an angel to help lighten her heart. From that person’s story came book two. Book three’s characters were based on a young man I met last year at a retreat. He shared his story and the rest was history. Book four is a mix of a tragic event that happened to an old college friend, and the loss of an old church friend of her husband to brain cancer. Each of the characters and the stories are inspired or based on real experiences either I have been a part of or whom others have shared with me. It’s one of the ways I write.
While I love reading different genres, the authors who inspired my spiritual fiction series were Frank Peretti, and Terry Brooks. They inspired me because of their storyline, and their writing style. They both write in a way that pulls at the heart strings and draws out your feelings for the story, but especially for the characters. I try to emulate that style in my own writing, but use my own talents for storytelling to develop a style of my own.
What kind of books do you like to read?
Since I write in spiritual fiction, I do a lot of reading on spirituality, both western and eastern, as well as spiritual fiction. I have developed an interest in reading paranormal fiction because I’m curious about why it seems to be such a fascinating subject to readers both young and old. Most of my reading on spirituality and spiritual fiction is more like research and for my own edification. However, I have been a fan of romance novels since I was in college. It got me through many a stressful day when I was going through rough patches in my twenties and early thirties. I have written two self-published books in the romance genre, which were my first attempts at writing seriously. They seemed to be rated well from those who bought the books, so I may look into including something romantic in future books not related to spiritual fiction.
What do you like to do when you are not writing?
I’m a busy mom, so I do my best to spend as much time with both my sons. This is especially important because of their Autism, and special needs that come with that diagnosis. I love going out with my family, whether it’s a simple outing to eat somewhere, going to the park and playing with my sons, or driving around with no particular place to go and taking in the scenery
That is actually a quite loaded question. My career in education administration keeps me busy, even in off hours. However, my writing career also keeps me busy with trying to market and promote my books, keep up my blogs and websites, and maintaining professional network relationships with fellow authors through social media, emails, and forums.
Is your book a stand alone or a series?
The Last Prophet is a series, but the first two books can be read as stand alone books. As you move into the third, fourth, and fifth books, you may want to get background information from the first two books to make sense of the bigger picture.
What is the hardest part of the writing process for you?
That’s easy to answer – finding actual time to write. However, I tackle this issue on a daily basis. I dedicate several hours on the weekends, and at least one or two hours per weeknight to straight writing on the current series. I discovered that waiting for time that would never come was a bad idea, and now carve out that time as if it is my second job. In essence it really is, except that it is not motivated by a need to pay bills, but rather a desire to tell the story inside me. When life happens with my family, I deal with it in stride and simply devote more time when there is time to the writing.
What is the easiest part of the writing process for you?
Actually writing the story. Once I have a story in mind, the words and the story just seem to write themselves with the help of my keyboard.
What is your preferred writing environment?
My preferred writing environment is wherever I can find myself at ease and relaxed. It doesn’t really matter where, so long as it is comfortably lit and at a table or desk with my cup of coffee (hot or iced) next to me. I’ve been using my laptop to type out my stories as opposed to a desktop computer because I tend to be mobile. I have written at a Barnes & Noble cafe, Starbucks, at home at a writing table, in the comfort of my hotel room when away at conferences for my “day job,” and at my university office. I think the only thing these places have in common is free Wi-Fi.
How would you describe your writing style?
I have mentioned a few times that I am a storyteller, but what I did not mention is that I try to tell the story based on what the character or characters is/are feeling. I focus a lot on describing what is happening to the character(s) internally. What is he or she thinking? What is he or she feeling? I also imagine the story being played over in my head as if it is a movie, and I describe what is happening in my head as I write. I sometimes write an outline when my thoughts go faster than my writing, but most of my writing just comes out as if chapters at a time. When I do create an outline of sorts, it is usually free flowing and fluid so that parts to the story can be moved around. I just need to get the thought or the idea out on paper so I don’t forget.
When did you know you truly wanted to give writing a shot?
I began writing out full novels shortly after finishing my first college degree, just to see what kind of story would come out of me. I had toyed with the idea of possibly having these stories published as early as 1999, but being busy with work and graduate school, I never really thought of it seriously until I had purchased my first Kindle and read several authors who were self-published. I admired their courage for putting themselves and their work out there. I did some research on self-publishing and decided I would give it a shot by using Amazon’s KDP program in 2012. I sent in the first two stories in through that program, and discovered that there were people who would enjoy reading my work and who liked my writing style. I took a chance at sending my favorite story to a publisher who caught my eye, and she liked my work too. That was in 2012 when I contacted Fountain Blue Publishing, and my first book was published a few months after in June 2013. I am so grateful I took that risk of putting my work out there and I don’t regret giving my writing a chance.
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