I want to thank fellow blogger & author Jin Okubo for his time. I’m almost finished reading his book, “Love.” The book review will be posted within the next few days here on Life of an El Paso Woman. His book is available for purchase on Amazon at: http://www.amazon.com/Love-Jin-Okubo/dp/1495962717
Check out his blog at: http://jinokubo.com/
So how long have you been writing and what or who inspired you to write your book?
I have been writing for a little over 20 years. But never had I thought about writing a book until just under ten years ago. I guess some things just need time to build. Though my current book was not my first. Still with every book there are books that resonate deep within a each writer I believe.
That resonating for me was due to a woman, and while the female lead of my book is an amalgamation of the many women in my life, it still needed a catalyst, for me it was a woman named Tomoko. What she introduced to my life and what we went through it gave me the experience needed to write a novel, to write the story in a way that would do it justice.
Tell us about your background in writing? Is this your first book?
I have written a ton of essays through my educational background and a few small pieces for newsletters here and there. This is not my first book, my first book was an exploration as well as a cry to the world that I was here. That first book is called “God: life without religion.”
I know you’re originally from the U.S. but you moved to Japan, was it because you teach or why?
I wanted to live in another country for as long as I could remember. I chose Japan because of my first wife. After I had gone through my divorce I just could not live outside of Japan, I tried but found the peaceful settings of where I had come to be as home.
I teach here full-time but my dream to be a full-time author is still at the top of list. So while my original reason to live in Japan was my ex-wife, my reason for staying and receiving my citizenship has been the peaceful life. A side bonus to it has been the fact, that where I have settled down is really inspirational for my writing.
How long have you been blogging? What’s the purpose of your blog?
I started my blog a little over three years ago. Originally I wanted to just debate and ramble, as well as try to promote other writers as well as myself. I found it time consuming and without any joy. It was not until this year 2015 that I started to rebrand myself as an author and not just another blogger.
Coming out as an author on my own page and blog was a big step and it is one that I am proud of.
My blog is for discussion and promotion while trying to raise my readership. While I do pop up a piece here and there that is controversial it is always the raw honesty that in the end will shine through. Just like the rawness of my writing style, the rawness and straight forward talk of my blog when I write a piece is what people like.
The second part of my blog is to bring light to other blogs here and there when I find something that is interesting and honestly written. I love to read honest blogs no matter the topic.
Do you plan on doing a sequel? What else do you have in the works?
“Love”: will there be a sequel, it is almost done. Well the first draft is almost done. I also have a fantasy series which I am in discussion with a publisher, I might end up getting my rights back and will release it under my indie channels.
I am also currently in the process of translating my children’s book into Spanish. Currently it is available in English and Japanese.
Personal life? Married, single, kids?
I have remarried and have a son. Having a child has allowed me to follow my dream even harder. I spend my free time with hobbies such as wood working and gardening. But I am also working on some engineering projects. One can be found on my site, it is called Water Engine. I plan on making a prototype of an engine that runs on hydrogen but only creates hydrogen as needed rather than storing large tanks of hydrogen which I find dangerous.
Is “Love” a reflection of your life? Why or why not?
Yes, I am Robert and Robert is I. Love is as close to life as I could make it. Which is the reason I think that it rings true in the story of love. It is unadulterated, pure, and well raw. You live my life and are therefore more affected by the story in the end. I think that is also why the reviews that I have gotten have been positive and solid reviews.
What advice would you offer aspiring writers and authors?
Write. It does not matter if the words do not make sense. Write. The more you write the better you become at it. Also the more you write even if it is gibberish, the less cases of writers block you will encounter.
Who are your favorite authors and books? Why?
Lovecraft, Poe, Wilde, Yeats, Whitman, well the classics and some from the 80’s and 90’s. I have a few writers that I enjoy reading from time to time and will always read an indie book. But for my favorites it is the classics. From the time when writing was not just about sales but about telling a story. And the story was for a well-read mind because, well people read more since there was no TV. So the classics were and are hard to get into, but I find that they call to me.
Anything else you would like to add?
I believe that in helping each other we all become better. The reading market is large and unending, and I find writers that do not want to give a helping hand to an indie writer as vile.
Sure sales matter to make a decent living, yet cutting another writer down or stepping on them or refusing to help because you think it will cut into your sales is beyond petty.
People helped me in many cases throughout my life and in that sense I ended up where I am. So I see the value in helping each other.