What inspired you on this book?
So…many…things. The top 3 inspirations? My love of gaming, a couple of poignant dreams that stuck with me, and a determination to create a fictional world by incorporating truthful elements I’ve experienced!
Why did you want to become a writer?
I’ve devoured books since I was young. Reading was like my top hobby as a child, next to video games. I adored chapter books from a very young age, and my elementary school had an Author’s Club where we could create our own stories and craft our own books. But those were little children’s picture books. Once I realized that was supremely different from an actual novel, I grew discouraged. I thought I would never be able to write a 200 page novel about a completely made up concept! Chaos (un)Controlled is proof that I could.
What was the hardest part of creating this book?
Honestly, just DOING it. It took me waaaayyy too long; 5-6 years! I finally self-published to get myself out of that read-revise-read-revise-add-subtract rut. As a writer, you will always see something you can improve on or change, and sometimes your changes may remove or mess with something that worked really well. When I graduated college, I finally accepted that I could never be a full-time writer; not for novels. I commend authors who churn out a book a year, but I could never do it because I can’t be rushed into doing it; it loses its passion for me. It’s hard to balance life, your other hobbies, fitness, gaming, social media, and promoting one book while setting aside the time to create an amazing world that others will love. It takes a LOT of thought and hard work. It’s not enough to just write a book. I feel like if you’re going to do it, it should be the absolute best it can be. At least with self-publishing, you’re not as tied down to a schedule and you have more control. But nowadays, it’s become far more about marketability than actual writing and storyline in my opinion. Now people just follow preset formulas.
What do you hope people gain from reading it?
I definitely wanted to highlight the fact that there’s a gray area in the center of all sides to a story. Charon’s character, one of Rixa’s Guides in the world of University Heights, is the epitome of “gray.” There is no good and evil in this book, merely different views and different driving motivations. Everyone should find a comfortable satisfaction with who they are, despite the fact that others may not understand it. It’s what Rixa struggles with throughout the novel, and what I, myself, strived to attain for years.
When you were a kid, what were your favorite books?
I had this love of dog books, LOL. Not only ones that taught you about different breeds, but novels like Scruffy by Jack Stonely, and White Fang and The Call of the Wild by Jack London. Also, all of Kevin Henks mouse-character books. My best friend and I would gather them up in the after-school program and read them to each other in elementary school. Goosebumps, Ramona Quimby, and the Runaway Ralph/The Mouse and the Motorcyle series get notable mentions as well (I guess I had a thing for mice too).
What is your advice to people who are not excited about reading?
I feel you. You do have to devote time to it, so you want to make sure you’ll enjoy the content you’re reading. It doesn’t have to be a novel, or what’s popular. If you’re not enjoying it, put it down. Maybe reading pieces of poetry is your thing, or magazines, or blog posts that you can scan over during work, or Amazon reviews, which really showcase some hidden talent, haha! I think if the content is something you like (and the writer’s voice isn’t a total bore) then you can enjoy reading it. My own mother hasn’t picked up a book in over 10 years. Reading is not her thing. But she finished Chaos (un)Controlled in 2 days. I was shocked. I even quizzed her on certain parts to make sure she wasn’t just talking. Somehow, she couldn’t put it down, but that’s likely because she picked up on all the realistic elements and experiences I incorporated which made it interesting for her.
Why should we buy your book?
Ahh, THIS question. I’ve re-read my own book so many times, and let me tell you; I love it every time. I never get bored with the storyline, even knowing what’s going to happen, and I’m reminded how attached I am to the characters and the world I created. I want to share this with others. I want others to fall in love with Rixa and Charon and Azurre. I want other youth who may be forced by their parents to observe a certain religion to be able to relate. I want other gamers, especially female ones, to be able to appreciate Rixa’s journey to elemental mastery. I want humans to recognize the act of releasing compressed inner emotion and anxiety through other active channels as Rixa did through EP. I also want #ProtagonistsWithMelanin normalized. I don’t think I highlight it too much, but Rixa is a Black teenage girl. Yet, Chaos (un)Controlled is not a story about Blackness. I once read that most people imagine the main character of a book as their own race, but I don’t think that’s true. I think the default character is “White” unless it’s a book particularly focusing on race. Chaos (un)Controlled is a YA Contemporary Science Fantasy that does not deal with issues of race, and the prejudice encountered in this book is a different kind. But I am Black, so my character is in my likeness. It’s that simple. But it’s a highly relatable story that deals with elements of philosophy, high school, Sci-Fi, RPG, and coming-of-age and identifying one’s self. And if nothing else, I have always strived for my writing to be one thing: relatable so that I can connect with others.