My guest today is Gabriel Valjan, author of the Roma series, published by Winter Goose Publishing. The first book, Roma, Underground, came out earlier this year. The sequel, Wasp’s Nest, was just released this week. The third instalment is scheduled for August 2013.
Valjan attended the University of Southern California for his undergraduate education and completed graduate school in England at the University of Leeds. Ronan Bennett short-listed him for the 2010 Fish Short Story Prize. Valjan’s short stories continue to appear in print and online literary journals. He recently won ZOUCH Magazine’s inaugural Lit Bits Contest. He lives in New England.
Thanks for this interview. Tell us a little about what got you into writing?
Like most things in my life the road was not always obvious or straight. I didn’t always know that I wanted to be a writer. As a child I read voraciously, so I was quite awed, quite intimidated, by the great talents on the bookshelves at my local library. I began with a lot of self-doubt about my ability to sustain an idea, create multidimensional characters, and capture the tics of dialogue. I knew what I enjoyed in literature, understood to some degree how it all worked. I was convinced (still am) that nobody could teach the idea that starts a short story, a novel, or a poem. When I had set aside the initial excuses and insecurities, I discovered that I was having fun and I had stories within me.
What was your inspiration for Wasp’s Nest?
After I wrote the first in the series, Roma, Underground, I knew that I had created my cast of characters. Two things happened then: one, I wanted to see how each of my characters would grow and evolve, interact with each other, the world around them, and bond emotionally; and two, I wanted to take my own sense of “what if” thinking and create situations and see how my characters would negotiate them. I believe what makes my characters interesting is that they each of them has their own “issues,” as we all do in life, but mixed in it all is a cultural collision of American and European. In Wasp’s Nest, the “what if” has to do with cancer research and technology. What if someone had a way of detecting cancer at the level of DNA and prevent cancer from occurring without chemotherapy, radiation, and disfiguring surgeries? Since the majority of us will die either from heart disease or some form of cancer, there is that “what if.” And then there is the “what if” in Wasp’s Nest of the threat a potential cure poses to those industries that profit from chronic illness. I don’t suggest that “what if” is a pure either/or. Dance with the angel of a cure, but don’t forget that the Devil was also once an angel.
Interview with Gabriel Valjan, Author of Wasp’s Nest – Blogcritics.org (blog)
wasp nest – Google News