Author Pen Name: Bobby Ozuna
Author Interview Questions:
CA: How did you choose your pen name?
BO: By birth, I am the second Robert Ozuna in my family. When I was younger—and apparently when my father was younger—everyone called me (us) Bobby. When I was in grade-school, I went by Bobby. When I grew older I had people start calling me Robert—you know, the whole “I’m a big kid now” stage—and I suppose in an attempt to remain youthful later on (because Bobby’s are so much more fun than Robert’s) I had people start calling me Bobby again when I joined the US Marines. Those new friends didn’t know me anyhow, so it was easy for it to stick. Robert is too official and now I only answer to it when I’m in trouble!!!
CA: What genre(s) do you write? Why do you write the stories that you write?
BO: I write literary fiction and my only novel thus far (PROUD SOULS) and even my short-stories have never been classified or confined to a “genre.” I understand categorizing a person’s work is critical to help the publishing world sort out their clients and help facilitate bookstores and libraries with locating the millions of works on the market, but I personally prefer not to label my work anything more than fiction.
I am very fond of saying, “all fiction stems from some form of truth within the author” and never has that been truer than with my personal works. I think the greatest artists of our time are those who dared to walk the unbeaten path. Robert Frost said it best when he said, “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” Writing is as therapeutic for me as it is pure pain. I live with these stories in my head and I am forced to sit and write them to quiet the voices within my mind. I am a fan of the human struggle. The moments that define us as individuals, groups, a race, a species—are the moments we overcome the greatest of individual adversities. Peace and joy and happiness are what we strive for, but in order to obtain those small moments that make life worth living, we have to go through the struggles of life. And how people choose to overcome their pains, hurts and roadblocks has always intrigued me. That and my willingness to take the risks others only talk about...
I have openly walked two paths in my life, the road most civilized people might call “right” and “proper” and the one those same individuals might call the “wrong” one. I do it without shame or regret and in total disregard for the consequences. Instead, I drink water from two wells and live to tell the tale. I think to better understand and relate to an audience, in a world so dark, you have to be willing to take the chances other authors will not. It has become the staple by which I exist. And in the end...I confess my sins through my characters...
CA: When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
BO: I can't say there was any definitive moment in my younger years when I knew I wanted to be an author, but I can say I have always had a wild imagination and once my writing ability caught up to my imagination...well...apart from being an actor in Hollywood...writing was the next best thing for me.
I was the kid in class who stared out the window and daydreamed; I would definitely be classified as ADD today but who really cares right? I always viewed the world from a different perspective than everyone else around me. Discovering that truth led to some of my early insecurities knowing I was “different” but later it would become a driving force in the development of my stories and my often choice to opt the road less traveled. The choices I made in life helped develop the other side of Bobby Ozuna, the part of me who is free to speak his mind, daring enough to write about topics most people won't and witty enough to justify the creativity of my fiction. In a nut-shell, you can say I have been writing all of my life...not always on paper...
CA: Who or what was your inspiration for writing?
BO: That's always a tough question for me. I worry every time that question is posed that someone—somewhere—will say, “Hey! That isn't true!” I can't say there was any one person who inspired me to pick up the pen and write. There were several people throughout the course of my early years (<18) who nurtured my creative spirit, such as my older brother Joe; He is a painter. Being 12 years apart we weren’t very close growing up, but it was always a magical moment for me when I was able to sit around and watch him work, with his dirty fingers and the smell of oils and thinners and ready canvas enveloping the room. There were many moments he took me and our youngest brother to art stores and would let us walk around and see the various types of creative possibilities. It was a real eye opening experience for me. He is still a huge supporter of my creative ambitions to this day. So if I had to mention a person who sparked my creative sense, it would be my brother Joe. Later on in life, it was my eleventh grade English teacher—Kenneth Polito—who charged that creative spark by introducing me to the symbolism, passion and poetry within the literary world.
CA: What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
BO: I write daily, or at least do everything I can to write something new everyday. Now that can vary from a blog post, a short-story, or work on my upcoming novel: The Other Side of Glory. Being an independent author I am responsible for ALL aspects of my writing career, varying from promotional work, marketing research and salesmanship. And before that I am a father and a husband and my family does come first. I work part time within the IT field and I help develop websites with my partner, Jeff Sneed of Onsite Computer Repair where I develop graphics for business logos and website and blog banners. I work for a small logistical company in Southlake, Texas and from there it's off to school to pickup my kiddos—Elizabeth and Dominic—and then home where we do homework for about one hour, help my wife Michele with dinner, eat and do whatever is required around the house. Then later in the evening when the kiddos are winding down, I work on my writing career. Most of the work I do happens between moments or late at night when the kids get to bed. It makes for a very busy schedule—one I would not recommend to anyone not serious about their work. People have a bad tendency to call my work a hobby and let me be quick to say, with the intensity and quantity of time it takes to be successful in the literary world...I wouldn't do it if I wasn't intent on writing the rest of my life.
CA: Your book is about to be sent into the reader world, what is one word that describes how you feel?
BO: Let me tell you how I felt when Proud Souls hit the Amazon storefront in November of last year (2007). It's an amazing feeling to see your book in print and after all the struggles I had—not just learning the publishing business—but overcoming the initial setbacks because of the controversy with my original book printer, I was ecstatic! It was the only thing I could talk about for about the first twelve months because I worked so hard to do everything right the first time. Not a day goes by (still) that I don't get online in the morning and check the Amazon storefront to see my book on display.
CA: What was your biggest challenge in writing your book(s)?
BO: Time. I work hard to promote my work because I take my writing career extremely serious. I research for hours on end (sometimes up to 6 hours per day) and I plan on working as an author the rest of my life. There are still many more stories to be told! But considering my responsibilities as a father and husband and still working (part time), it seems there aren't enough hours in a day to accomplish all the minute tasks I require of myself on a daily basis. If I knew a way to squeeze another hour or two of daylight within a day...I'd be outside doing a dance right now...
CA: What do you like to do when you're not writing?
BO: Haha...I think about writing every moment I am not writing! Seriously, it's what I do. Every moment I am awake I am working on some new material and I even work while I am asleep! You wouldn't believe my dreams. But I do spend a lot of quality time with my kiddos. Because they range in age from 13 to 2, I am constantly having to switch modes between the protective and teaching father of my daughter Elizabeth, to baseball coach and reading tutor for Dominic and lastly, wrestling partner to my baby, Damian. Then, there is baseball and softball practice during the Spring and Fall seasons. I love watching movies and listening to music with my family while we sing and dance and act like rock stars.
CA: Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?
BO: Every character I create is a figment of my imagination. But let me add one important disclaimer. I never write about anything I haven't experienced. I could sit by a window and write a story, because I am that creative, but I wouldn't dare try. I don't write about the ocean unless I've tasted it myself. I take my experiences, both good and bad, and use them to my advantage. For everyone who has ever told me no, tried to hold me back or dared to conspire against me, well, they are lucky I don't write science fiction. But if you ever came across a homosexual cowboy with a bad back, a hairy-lipped insecure female boss who wears open toed shoes or perhaps a corporate manager with chronic hemorrhoids, well, let's just say, they should keep their private business to themselves or perhaps find another person to mess with. NOTE: Never mess with a creative mind. You never know how you will be eternally remembered... Thank God for the words, “...any relation to people or places is completely coincidental.”
CA: Do you have any advice for the aspiring writers out there?
BO: Yes….Dare to be different…dare to be yourself…and above all else...be prepared to work hard. Success builds on success. What that means for me is this: If you are not working EVERYDAY towards advancing your knowledge of your respective field (writing, painting, photography, etc.), or working to better your abilities, then you aren't preparing for a successful future. I would say to imagine yourself a farmer. If you expect a crop the next season, then you are going to have to first prepare the soil a season or more in advance. Then, you will have to plant the seeds, tend to the watering and finally, reap the reward. If you miss any of the steps along the way, you are only hindering and delaying the moments of success down the road. For everything I do today, may not benefit me right now, but it will, some day and some time along my journey.
CA: How can a reader contact you or purchase your books?
BO: I am easy to get in touch with! I am always online and I use various social networking sites, such as Facebook, MySpace, the Book Marketing Network, Gather and The Odd Mind community on Ning. The best way to get in touch with me is via my blog: “Drawing Stories...With Words.” I love helping others as much as I enjoy being an author. I collaborate with many types of artists online and I am great at pointing people in the right direction. Being I spend so much time online reading a wide range of blogs, I feel I am a resourceful friend to have.
My book, Proud Souls, is available online via Amazon.com. You can walk into any Barnes & Noble and have them order a copy. You only need the authors name, the book title and/or the ISBN number.
CA: Is there anything you would like to add?
BO: Yes, I want people to know that apart from working to promote my own material, I spend as much time working to find material that will be helpful to my fellow artist. I am an advocate for the arts and I believe in tapping into your creative side, whether that be for a living, for profit or just to find a balance in your life. I offer marketing tips and tricks, character development help, and insight into how I (either) created my characters and storyline for Proud Souls or how I am working to develop my second book, The Other Side of Glory. I love answering questions from readers. I post a segment on my blog called: PS, We Wanna Know, where I answer any questions posed by my fans. If you send them in, I will answer them.
Again, I network a lot and I reside on many social networking sites. Below is a breakdown of where I am and how someone can find me. Feel free to connect with me, I'd love to hear from you!
Bobby's Homepage: www.BobbyOzunaOnline.com
Bobby's Blog: http://inotauthor.blogspot.com
Bobby on Gather: http://inotauthor.gather.com/
Bobby on MySpace http://www.myspace.com/inotauthor
The Book Marketing Network: http://bookmarket.ning.com/profile/BobbyOzuna
Bobby on The Odd Mind: http://theoddmind.ning.com/profile/BobbyOzuna
The book is PROUD SOULS and you can find it here...
CA: Thank you Bobby for hanging out here this week! I don’t think anyone would have a hard time finding you with all of your networking connections : ) Have a great week!