Published by mcalvani
It is my pleasure to introduce you to young author Estevan Vega. At twenty, he has already penned three novels, two of which have been published. In this interview, Vega talks about his books, his writing life, and he offers us a glipmse into some of his future projects. Currently he’s looking for an agent, so if there are any agents reading this, don’t miss out the chance to check this promising author’s works.
BIO: Some might assume that Estevan Vega fell in love with writing because math just didn’t make sense anymore, and they’d be half right. Nevertheless, a passion for the written word, coupled with the desire to make a difference not only among youth but also adults, Estevan has sought to figure out what’s wrong with the world, starting with the man he sees in the mirror. His books often struggle against dark themes and involve fighting inner demons. The characters are real and organic, and they strive for deeper meaning and identity and fulfillment. He began writing his first novel in the sixth grade, published it when he was fifteen, and followed it up with THE SACRED SIN, released when he was eighteen. He loves watching movies, finding a great book, and the idea of love. He is the second of four sons and grew up in Connecticut; but don’t hold that against him. Estevan Vega is currently a sophomore English major at Gordon College.
Thanks for this interview, Estevan.Why don’t you begin by telling us a little about yourself?
You mean, other than the interesting factoid that I sing obnoxiously in my car while parked at a stop light, or watch way too many movies? Hmmm, I suppose the most interesting thing about me is my writing. That’s the best of me, I guess. Other than that, I was born and raised in Connecticut. I’ve got three other brothers, of which I’m the middle son, annoying dogs that shed way too much. But they’re cute, so I think I can let it slide. Oh, and I’m ridiculously handsome, wildly funny, and have a physical shape somewhat like that of a mythological god. I hope unnecessary hyperbole is allowed in this interview.
When did you decide you wanted to become an author?
You know that critical age in every young boy’s life? The one where you first start growing hair in funny places, your voice starts to change a bit and the pretty girls in school change from being innocent princesses to something seemingly unattainable? It was around that time. So, eleven, I think. I was in the fifth grade, and at the time, far more focused on what was playing at the local movie theatre, or about my favorite superheroes than about writing. Or reading, for that matter. For some reason, books never really appealed to me. I used to love sketching my favorite comic book heroes. Wouldn’t go so far as to say I was good, but maybe decent. My fifth grade class, led by possibly my least favorite elementary school teacher-maybe second to least, not quite sure-had us bring in 1 page essays or stories each day. The ones she thought were impressive, she’d read aloud in class. And give it an A. My dad, after much arguing, stubborn back-and-forth banter, swearing and eventual submission (on my end), helped me scrounge together my first “real” story. I think I still have it somewhere amidst the sea of rejection letters. Long story short, I wanted to be famous at an early age. Pretentious? Yes. Improbable? Definitely. But what would life be without dreams?
Tell us a bit about your latest book, and what inspired you to write such a story.My latest book is titled THE SACRED SIN. It’s a really cool story, one that I was playing around with for a few months before I actually started typing. The novel opens with a tense scene between a worn-out, cynically self-loathing and world-loathing detective (Jude Foster) and a shrink. Jude is forced to endure mindless sessions in order to be reinstated back into the department because of a past situation: his partner tried to kill him a year ago and left him for dead. The book is super-fast paced, which a lot of people have sort of gravitated to. In the first few chapters, there’s a murder, and the victim is left with a mark in his skin. An investigation is set in motion when the murders keep occurring. Jude leads the homicide case with a new, annoying interim partner…a fiery red-head who doesn’t really know the meaning of “play nice”. As the novel progresses, they discover that the bodies are linked to a more sadistic pattern of evil; the murderer is stealing people’s souls without ever touching them. Only question is: how do you stop a ghost killer? On the surface, the book’s about trying to stop a demonic entity, but there’s a lot underneath.
Who is your target audience? My books have always tried to bridge some sort of gap, or defy convention. Being tucked away in a box or specific genre can be kind of stifling. THE SACRED SIN is my second book, so I wanted it to be different than my first, and I knew it had to be, especially given the subject matter I’d be working with. I knew it’d be dark, and I wanted that, but at the same time, I edited it down enough to the point where some kid’s mom might be okay letting him check it out. Probably give him a nightmare or two, but that’s the fun part, I think. Kids and adults find different things to appreciate, and I’m totally cool with that.
Agatha Christie got her best ideas while eating green apples in the bathtub. Steven Spielberg says he gets his best ideas while driving on the highway. When do you get your best ideas and why do you think this is? Usually when I don’t have a pen. I say I’ll remember it, and the really good ones I do, but sometimes, it’s tough to keep all the potential plot lines and characters together. I suppose it’s unfair to complain about not having a pen, though, because as I think about it, I almost never use one. A spark of inspiration can come from anything: sometimes it’ll be a movie, a brief passage, some Scripture reference. Other times, the ideas just come, and I’ll get the whole concept in about a minute…those I try to write down if I can. Then there’s moments when I’m just sitting in class or looking at someone from a distance at the mall and I’m like: “Whoa, that’s cool, or interesting, or…definitely going in a book.” Most of the times, though, my inspiration comes from lamentation. For some reason, it seems like writing feeds on people’s misery. It’s kinda sick, but I guess there’s something beautiful in pain and darkness, sometimes even confusing. It’s harnessing that into a good story, that can be tricky, but at the same time, very therapeutic.
Do you get along with your muse? What do you do to placate her when she refuses to inspire you?
I didn’t know writers still got those. Maybe I’ll have to sign a better contract next time. Either that, or my publisher’s just holdin’ out on me. They say you’re always supposed to read the fine print.
From the moment you conceived the idea for the story, to the published book, how long did it take?
My books have taken three years from first page to publication. For some reason, that seems to be the magic number. The first draft of THE SACRED SIN was completed in about six months, but everyone knows that once the first draft is done, you’ve just started.
Describe your working environment.
Most of the time, it consists of a messy desk, some post-its, CDs and DVDs, my Zune, cell phone, water bottles, movies. Basically, whatever I haven’t cleared away.
As a writer, what scares you the most?Being forgotten.
Do you have an agent? How was your experience in searching for one?No. I do not have an agent, regretfully. Still on the look-out, still submitting. I recently finished up my third manuscript, which has been the most successful of the three, as far as obtaining requests from agents. But so far, no bites.
How was your experience in looking for a publisher? What words of advice would you offer those novice authors who are in search of one? Getting published is like jumping off a cliff. You free-fall for what feels like forever and just hope to God for a miracle. If you’re lucky, your wings’ll come out.
Do you have any favorite books or authors?
I love the Great Gatsby. Unfortunately, I haven’t read anything else from Fitzgerald, but I have seen The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, which is based off one of his stories, and loved it! I’m in the middle of 1984 right now. I can’t believe I’ve never read it before. It’s awesome.
Do you have a website/blog where readers may learn more about you and your work?Yeah, definitely. Check out www.estevanvega.com.
Do you have another book on the works? Would you like to tell readers about your current or future projects?
The book I just finished is a bit of a departure from the two previous ones. It’s sort of a coming-of-age story. The kid’s kind of in a messed-up place, doesn’t know where he fits in, or why he was born with the ability to start fires with one stray thought. Has a lot of personal stuff in it. It’s tentatively titled A BOY CALLED ARSON.
How does it feel to be an accomplished, published author at such a young age?
Well, I’m 20 years old. I’ve written some words on a few pages. Some people care, others don’t. I haven’t cured cancer or found a way to live any longer. Being published is really cool. I mean, I’m glad I get my voice out there, for those who want to listen. But it’s kind of strange. I still don’t really feel like I’ve made it, or that I’ve made a huge difference. I want to. In my high school, being the guy who wrote a book was like carrying around a scarlet letter; kids can be cruel. In college, though, people are more able to recognize something unique. It’s been a crazy journey up until now, hard and painful at times, but I think I’m starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel. Oh, God! Maybe that’s a car! Let’s keep our fingers crossed.
How was your schedule like for the writing of your first two novels? Did you write during weekends? holidays? classes?
I wrote when I could. When I wasn’t procrastinating with homework assignments or working or hanging out with friends, I’d spend some time behind a computer screen. I remember one Christmas, my friends were over. It was afternoon, and I was still in my PJ’s, parked in front of our home computer (this was before I acquired a laptop of my own), typing away on my first book. Funny, I think I ended up trashing everything I wrote that day, and even the stuff that I spent months writing before it. Sometimes I wonder why I write. But wondering leads only to more wondering…followed by writing about the wondering and confusion. So, I guess, everything’s a vicious cycle. But yeah, I’m not really one to make schedules to sit down and write. Think Johnny Depp in Secret Window…without the murderous, alter-ego.
Anything else you’d like to say about yourself or your work?
If you’re a writer, keep writing. If you’re a lover, keep loving. If you’re a believer, keep believing.