Hello! I’d love to introduce you to my good friend, J.D. Estrada, a profound and prolific writer. I’m honored J.D. carved precious time out of his busy writing schedule to answer a few…ahem, okay a lot…of questions about his mad writing skills and what inspires his greatness. I’ve had the pleasure to peek inside this talented writer’s very active brain and now so will you!
1. Did you always want to write?
As a kid, I wanted to be an inventor. Not sure if part of me wanted to be one of those guys with crazy products and an 800 number although writing is my way of inventing. I was always interested, and I often said I wanted to write...that’s until I REALLY wanted to write. The difference is that when you say it, you write once in a while and when you mean it; you can’t stop writing.
2. Do you see yourself as an author or a writer? Do you think there is a difference between the two and how would you categorize yourself?
I’m sure if you searched for the etymology; there’s a difference. My business cards say author, though, at the end of the day, I’m more of a writer because I love
ALL forms of
writing. It could be a blog post, a poem, a review on Amazon or Trip Advisor, a
story, a novel or a birthday message. The fact remains; I love writing.
3. Tell me about your writing process.
Every single project is a beast I tackle differently. I learned a long time ago that if I get a routine or a process, I run the risk of getting stuck. It also fully depends on what I’m writing. For a blog post, I need it to be something that strikes a chord with me. For a poem, I love capturing a moment although I need to challenge myself. In two collections I’ll be releasing soon, I actually explored two completely different approaches than my first collection. In one, I challenge myself in regards to variety, and in the other I challenge myself to go to dark regions of inspiration. And this is just poetry. For novels, Only Human was a beast that took me seven years to complete. Then again, I was aiming for a story arc in more than one book... so the research was intense. In short, between all three books of the Human Cycle, there are over 600 pages of research. History, geography, topography, religions, folk tales, you name it. For three other projects I have, I wrote down the main plot points on index cards and went from there. Having a full-time job makes time scarce and quite often, my projects keep me company on my lunch hours. I have countless pages of notes, even stuck to my cell phone. I'm efficient with whatever time I invest in a project. As for when I write, good luck getting to me because I’m often lost in my stories.
4. What have you learned about yourself through your writing?
A lot. From my fears, to my values, writing has allowed me to cope, to deal, to understand myself and to explore my emotions. It’s also helped me meet various other people and to show me how much words can heal. In short, I’ve learned how much of a difference words can make when they’re written or spoken from the heart with the sincerest intention to help, comprehend and leave behind judging. I’ve also learned that I love stories, reading and telling them. We grow as people through the stories we read and hear, and of course, the ones we live.
5. Tell me about your projects. You have an eclectic mix of work, which type of writing is your favorite?
Oh, I always have an eclectic mix going on my reading and writing queue. I have one published novel and one poetry collection. Only Human is the first novel within the Human Cycle, a three-book journey in my exploration of humanity through fiction. It started off as something simple and quickly escalated into something that came from deep within. From casual characters, I was writing about; these people became a reality through my words, and it was a beautiful process. Between the Tides is my first poetry collection. For the longest time I had forgotten about poetry, more focused on other projects. Then one day I wrote down some lines on Twitter and people reacted. I posted a poem, and it resonated with someone and I remembered why poetry was so special. That was last year and from that time, I have published one collection and have two others I’ll be releasing very soon. In addition to this, I’m working on a Young Adult Book, a philosophy book, a bilingual collection (English and Spanish), a noir book (dark and murky, kind of mafia related though fictional) and at least 4 other projects, including my blog. I honestly can’t choose a favorite because each responds to an interest, and whatever my soul insists on working on, I follow. You see, I may delay with a particular project because I’m working on something else; the thing is I’m ALWAYS working on something. In addition to the two poetry collections waiting for formatting, I’m also organizing my series of young adult short stories, the Daydreams on the
of which I’ll be releasing the first volume soon. Sherbet Shore
6. Do you write because it’s your job or do you write because it’s your passion?
To be honest, both. I’m a copywriter, editor, proofreader and translator by trade, meaning that’s my day job. Within me though, there’s a deep seated need to write, and it truly is a passion. If you read Only Human, you can see when I went from writing because I was intrigued and then the moment when the story took hold of me and didn’t let go. It was a blissful feeling to lose track of time as I etched down that story. Writing is a true passion, and I write passionately on a lot of topics. I may tackle various genres, but beyond all interests and projects, I just love writing.
7. Your writing reflects a desire to reach out and make a connection, please tell me more about the connection you’d like to make with your readers.
When you write something and someone clicks like, that’s nice. However, when you dig down into your gut, write deeply and have someone write you a private message thanking you... that is the most humbling and rewarding experience I could ever experience. I am fascinated by the aspect of humanity, and I truly do my best to connect with as many people as possible. It could be something casual, a flight of fancy if you’d like, still... it can be meaningful. There are so many things in the news that inspire fear, constriction and people limiting themselves... I’d like to work against that. So many people have so much to offer with just a little encouragement. It’s the 21st century and I truly believe we are living through a massive shift in humanity. Some people will insist on limiting views while others adhere to a worldview of unity, of connection, of love, of understanding. I want to put my grain of sand into that second worldview. I’ve met such wonderful people in real life and online who have been kind enough to invest their time in me, on my writing be it online or in book form. We’ve connected, and I truly believe positive connections cause positive ripples in our lives, and I’m all for positive ripples. Maybe a joke, a comment, a compliment or a conversation sticks with someone and they pass on a smile. I like that and I think that during these times, we need a little more of that and a little less division. Still, that’s my worldview and people are entitled to their opinions. For me though, we have so much more that connects us than what divides us.
8. Only Human is on my TBR. Please tell me more about Only Human.
Only Human spawned from seeing a commercial for the Underworld movie while chatting online and listening to Bach and me being stubborn enough to say, “You know what, I can write something as good as that.” It began as fiction, something simple, my homage to many great writers. I kept writing, then the characters started to get their voices, and then topics started creeping in, then I started seeing links in history, in geography, in philosophy, in psychology... in life. I started seeing so many aspects that fascinate me about what makes us human. I went back to my psychology roots; I started reading on different theologies, I saw how so many things coincide... I saw the beauty of what unites us... and I just wrote. I set certain bullet points, no rules, no limitations; I just needed to get from one point to the next. And slowly but surely, my influences came out, childhood dreams came out in the text, links to forgotten short stories came into play, and the path revealed itself clearly... I found my story, and I committed to it. Regardless of theologies, my story is of unison, of growth, of exploration, of love, of sacrifice, of suffering, of questioning... of life. I started seeing the possibility of angels, of demons, of vampires, of therians (don’t call them werewolves), of photogeni... of any and everything and in that ocean of possibilities I swam. Only Human is the first book in this exploration, and its sequel is in progress. There is much to say, much to explore and much to digest, because imagine if you were told that all you thought was true was actually fiction and that the fiction was actually true... imagine the implications... that’s the basis for the Human Cycle.
9. How do you manage your wide variety of writing projects?
I honestly just go with the flow. Depends on how much time I have and how much time I can make for my writing. Then there’s also the matter of having one project demand and command your attention. That happens as well, and when it does, I stick with that project until it lessens its grip. Sometimes it does, sometimes it insists on me finishing it. I don’t make the rules with my projects, and you’ll probably see me walking with three notebooks to see what catches my fancy. I don’t work on word count quotas; I work on milestones, on chapters and as long as I’m moving forward with my projects, I’m happy. And that’s what it’s all about. I’m looking for my creative happiness, and every single day can have a different answer to what that is. I do keep loose tabs on where I’m at with most of my projects because I like to know. As for deadlines, I only have two set deadlines in all my projects. The sequel to Only Human will be finished by next year and the Young Adult book I want to finish this year. They’re both aggressive although I don’t mind; sometimes you need to prove to yourself just how much you can accomplish.
10. Where can we find your work?
You can find my work at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and soon in Puerto Rico at the Book Mark in San Patricio Plaza.
JD, thanks so much for sharing your work with us and answering my questions. Once you’ve experienced a book by J.D. Estrada you will certainly feel a bigger and brighter connection to yourself and the universe. Go check it out!