Another Tuesday, another author interview. Today, we have W.O. Torres on the docket. He's a new author who just released his debut on June 2nd. It's a sci-fi novel with a touch of suspense. His book has everything you could ever need. It's got dangerous A.I., time travel, love, mystery, diversity, and my favorite, steam. This book was a really fun read. I can't wait to see what else W.O. Torres brings us in the future. I'm hoping for a sequel!
How did your writing journey begin?
I guess it started in 2nd grade when Mrs. Gardner had a writing contest and I won it with my Santa Claus origin story. That was 45 years ago, and since then I have either written or conceived dozens of stories, screenplays, and plot/character ideas scribbled in notepads, binders, and Word docs scattered across various thumb drives. There are another couple hundred stuck up in my head. Every single last one of them is incomplete. I self-published my sci-fi novel, Tomorrow Lives Today on June 2nd, and even though I've always considered myself a writer, finishing a novel the right way (first draft, editing, Beta input, revising, working with a development editor and illustrator) has made my writing feel complete.
What inspired you to take on a Sci-Fi genre?
Oh boy, this is an easy one. I was 7 years old when I went to the movies with my mom and sister on May 25, 1977. I know people reading this will say, "Star Wars is NOT sci-fi, it's fantasy." I respectfully disagree, 'cause last time I checked Tolkien didn't write about faulty hyper-drives and blasters. That movie began a lifetime obsession for me with all things sci-fi. For me, science fiction has always represented the freest a mind can be. When I walk my dog at night and stare at the stars, I'm not bound by any limits...and that's sci-fi.
What is your favorite hobby?
Other than writing and sci-fi, I've had a lifelong obsession with basketball. Basketball has taught me so many lessons in life and shooting baskets till dark at my neighborhood park, helps me reach a level of mindfulness like nothing else.
What are you most proud of in your life/most prized possession?
My college diploma. I have one framed at my home and one framed at my mom's home. Being the first person in my family to graduate from college was never guaranteed. I was raised by a single mom, in a neighborhood filled with gangs, drugs, and high-school dropouts. Sometimes I find myself staring at my diploma when walking down the stairs, just for an extra second or two.
What is the biggest thing you learned throughout your writing and publishing journey?
Beta Readers! In all my writings over my life, I never shared any of them with anyone. With Tomorrow Lives Today, I made a pledge to get serious about writing. I studied the craft of writing and buried myself in master's classes, articles, books, videos, anything that improved my writing...but it was all a house of cards, never shared any of it. I met a Beta Reader online and said, "Fuck it," and sent them my first draft. They told me all the things wrong with it, BUT they also mentioned several things right about it and that was a feeling I hadn't experienced since Mrs. Gardner's second-grade writing contest. I can NOT emphasize how critical Beta Readers are to all stories. I received input from ten different Betas, all providing some type of feedback on any of my thirteen drafts. Some advice I changed immediately because I felt it in my gut, other advice I rejected as a writer's preference. But all of it had value and my book wouldn't be the novel I can be proud of without them.
If you could spend a day with any author, who would it be?
Stan Lee. This icon was sitting around his apartment writing about characters like Spider-Man, X-Men, The Fantastic Four, and Daredevil just to name a few. I was sad when he crossed over to the other side, but his passing motivated me to finally finish something that he would read the blurb to and say, "Not bad, kid."
What did you find to be the most difficult during your writing journey?
Finding the time to write. The only block of time I could find that didn't pull me away from my wife and daughters, was 10pm-2am. A lot of good ideas and focused writing happened during this block of time, but I paid for it many days at my real job.
How do you come up with names for your characters/locations?
My book takes place in the San Francisco Bay Area, where I lived for many years so all of the places are second nature to me. As far as character names...that's a good question that I wish I knew the answer to. They just sort of pop into my head.
What was your favorite subject in school? Is it still your favorite?
History was definitely my favorite class. My oldest daughter is in high school and whenever she needs help with math, she goes to her mom, but history is all me!
What are your plans moving forward since the release of your book?
Self-Publishing my book has been bittersweet. On one hand, a three-and-a-half-year process has come to a conclusion of something I am super proud of. On the other hand, now I have to figure out how to market it and get people to read it. There's so much creativity when writing, but I feel that marketing is the exact opposite. I have a podcast scheduled and will continue to beg book bloggers and reviewers to read my book. I did have a short story purchased by an e-magazine that will be published next month, so it seems like my writing career is taking off...at fifty-two years old.
Do you have any tips for aspiring authors?
Don't edit your book a line, page, or chapter at a time. Just write the damn thing straight through the end. Then go back and edit and revise it about a dozen times and have Beta Readers provide feedback, even if they only read a chapter. Get as many eyes on your story as you can and never stop polishing and improving that train wreck of a first draft you wrote.
Mr. Torres resides in Northern California along with his beautiful wife, brilliant daughters, and their wonder dog, where he often writes once everyone is finally asleep. As a child of the ’70s, his original works are inspired by his love of the golden age of Marvel Comics, Saturday afternoon Kung-Fu Theatre, Star Wars, Star Trek, James Bond, The Twilight Zone, and all things strange and unexplained. These obsessions helped him avoid gangs, violence, drugs, and dropping out of high school, which were sadly all too familiar occurrences in his neighborhood. He is wrapping up a twenty-five-year career in law enforcement and looks forward to the next chapter. Tomorrow Lives Today is his debut novel and was partly inspired by a lucid dream he had the same day his childhood idol, Stan Lee left this world and crossed over to the other side. When not writing, he can be found coaching youth sports, attending dance recitals, and on occasion, enjoying a super burrito with carne asada…or carnitas.
Tomorrow Lives Today Blurb:
When a weapon composed of dark matter mysteriously arrives from the future, twenty-four-year-old Brody Rodriguez's chill life gets a super-powered upgrade. A clandestine government agency led by Agent Gonzo and a squad of sinister spies kidnaps Brody and his future tech to save democracy … or at least their version of it. Brody’s only ally is his time-traveling granddaughter, Isabella Rodriguez who wields a future tech of her own. Brody must convince his future wife “Dez” to stick around his chaotic life long enough to fall in love with him or watch him die. As an impending A.I. War inches closer, threatening humanity, Brody will face who he was, who he is, and who he is meant to be. Die-hard sci-fi fans will geek out over this time-traveling, roller coaster on steroids ride! Tomorrow Lives Today is a fast-paced sci-fi/spy thriller novel filled with technology, tons of action, a steamy romance with diverse characters, and the occasional laugh-out-loud moment. Not to mention a twist ending that will have readers flipping pages backward! This Jack Ryan meets Marty McFly novel will appeal to readers who love reading just one more chapter as the pace and characters make it a fast and hard to put down read.