IndieView with J.C. Diaz Rei, author of Quietus

Now, due to what I learned during those dark moments of my life, my approach to storytelling is very unique; or so I am told.  

J.C. Diaz Rei – 4 November 2017

The Back Flap

Once upon a time, there were parks, swings, slides and purity; what was once a magic kingdom, now plays with the vacancy of children. For decades, the human race untruthfully smiled uphill to find nothing but their own despair.

About the book

What is the book about?

Quietus is a kind of apocalyptic thriller, but it’s much more than that. It delves into the ideas of humanity and human civilization. How dark and how shallow we can become when circumstance becomes nigh unbearable.

Quietus presents an absolutely believable outcome to an absolutely catastrophic event. All of which occurs in response to the world of today.

We follow these events through the eyes and voice of the narrator and through the heart wrenching attachment created with its main characters.

Contemplation, reaction and distress are masterfully captured through descriptive and in-depth story telling.

When did you start writing the book?

I began writing Quietus about 4 years ago. I was studying at university at the time. It became a bit of a side project for me that I began working on in my spare time. I always hoped, but never expected, it would get published the way it did.

How long did it take you to write it?

It took me roughly three years to finish the book.

Where did you get the idea from?

Well it began with my parents visiting me in Orlando, Florida. We were at the downtown Disney one night just out as a family. After parking the car, in the middle of the parking lot, my dad gets out of the car and approaches me saying, “I have an idea and I’d like to know what you think.” He told me the main storyline, about the discovery, and what it actually meant. As soon as I heard it, I told him that I loved it. I told him that it needed to be a book. Neither of us had had any previous writing experience. We both agreed that I should write it and that my father would come up with the main storyline; and so a working routine was developed. He would write the main events in Spanish, send them to me by email, and I would translate and develop the story. Every so often we would meet, and discuss the storyline. Slowly but surely, we worked as a team and finally finished ‘Quietus’.

Were there any parts of the book where you struggled?

Routine was and is not one of my winning traits. My writing style is not a scheduled one. It is impossible for me to write a couple paragraphs a day, every day. On the contrary, I would spend days, sometimes a couple weeks without anything, and then all of a sudden, an intense session from 3:00pm to 4:00am. So the most difficult thing for me actually is pushing away the pressure of having to finish, and the insecurities that come with it, and just allowing creativity to flow. I more than often find myself worrying and overthinking, which can actually frustrate the flow you’re meant to be having. But the intense sessions work fine for me because they allow me to do both.

What came easily?

What came easily later did not come without that which was extremely difficult at the time. I was diagnosed with ‘Crohn’s Disease’ during my long stay in England. I consequently had to return home to Florida to take care of my worsening condition. My father had a connection with a doctor friend he knew from when he was a university student. The doctor agreed to see me, and I agreed to participate in a fairly new procedure that alters the nervous system, reprograming my brain to stop attacking my small intestine basically. The procedure included many pills and medication that affected me greatly. The side effects included depression, lack of energy, and many more, which had a traumatic effect on my life. I began to become extremely depressive, to the point that my family could not recognize me. In my darkness and moment of desperation I discovered my cure. It began with writing short stories, about circumstantial events, and how characters in those stories reacted and changed due to those events. It was quite unique in my opinion given to the current predicament I was under. I did this for a couple of months until I was done with my treatment and began to recover. With my recovery I was left with documents and documents of short stories that I had written in a very dark place. Instead of discarding them, I decided to send them to a local publisher. They were extremely intrigued by my writing style and asked if I could write more and make a book out of it.

That call served two purposes. One, it gave me hope towards the alien idea that I could write. Second, it gave purpose to that horrible experience. I never finished that book. Each short story had a different story to tell and I could not for the life of me, glue them together. I went to university to pursue a degree in Audio Engineering, and that is when my dad approached me with an idea that I could not refuse. Long story short, my ability to forget the world I am currently in, and enter a completely different one became easy to me; and it was so because of my experience. Now, due to what I learned during those dark moments of my life, my approach to storytelling is very unique; or so I am told.

Are your characters entirely fictitious or have you borrowed from real world people you know?

My dad and I agreed to name some of the characters with family names. It made the project a bit more personal that way. But in all honesty, the character’s development were done as the story was developed. I never truly had a complete idea of how a character was going to be until I arrived at the scene.

We all know how important it is for writers to read. Are there any particular authors that have influenced how you write and, if so, how have they influenced you?

I think this is where it gets quite controversial. I have never read nor do I enjoy reading books. I’ve only read two books in my life. Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant for the sole reason of having the book/film experience. People spoke about reading a book before a movie gave the viewer more insight to the film; and so I gave it a try. I was somewhat disappointed, but that’s beside the point. The second book was The Book of Mormon.
I have however always been drawn to writing, and its poetic medium of expression. Writing was always done in a very private and intimate place. It seems to me that it is a place of poetic exploration. Writing to me is an untouched and unstained method of creativity that reaches out to each reader in a way that only their minds can express; that to me is magical.

Do you have a target reader?

The purpose of Quietus is to entertain and to give subtle, yet powerful messages that we feel are important to interpret in today’s world. So in a way, the target reader is actually anyone. Different genre tastes and age; teen years and above and all the way to late adulthood. I truly believe there’s something that can be offered to all.

About Writing

Do you have a writing process? If so can you please describe it?

I have never before really given much thought to my writing process. But, if I were really to analyze my writing strategy it really is a simple case of sitting down and writing whatever comes. But it is important for me to have the story clear in my head before I write, because writing is more to do with storytelling than the story itself.

Do you outline? If so, do you do so extensively or just chapter headings and a couple of sentences?

I never outline. I believe jumping into a scene in the book and writing what you see is more effective when it’s raw and uncensored. Later, in editing, you can take a look at those ideas and make an observant decision.

Do you edit as you go or wait until youve finished?

I wait until I’m finished. Editing as you go is equivalent to showering and drying at the same time. If you’re a creative, don’t torture yourself. Creating and editing are two separate procedures that require one’s separate and complete attention. The stonemason needs the raw stone before he can chisel.

Did you hire a professional editor?

Austin Macauley made the main edits to Quietus. My wife and I later reviewed the edits and in conjunction with them made careful decisions.

Do you listen to music while you write? If yes, what gets the fingers tapping?

I’ve tried, and I cannot. It keeps taking me away from the story. I need complete silence where the only sound I can afford to hear is the tapping of my keyboard.

About Publishing

Did you submit your work to Agents?

Austin Macauley was accepting solicits. We sent an email and they responded.

What made you decide to go Indie, whether self-publishing or with an indie publisher? Was it a particular event or a gradual process?

The process was gradual. We found Austin Macauley to be interested in our book and then our investment became partial.

Did you get your book cover professionally done or did you do it yourself?

My younger sister, an extremely talented artist, sketched the cover in pencil. I, having dabbled a little with graphic designing in the past, scanned it into the computer and touched it up a little until we were both happy with the ultimate result.

Do you have a marketing plan for the book or are you just winging it?

As an Indie writer, my experience in this industry is limited. My wife started a social media presence, but as you can see, we are trying as best as we can to get the message across. We really want to just share news of Quietus’ existence. So I guess ‘winging it’ might in fact be the most appropriate phrase.

Any advice that you would like to give to other newbies considering becoming Indie authors?

Get feedback, is the first thing. Write enough to give a sampler to people you respect, and get their opinion. If you are satisfied with the feedback, then you will receive something you usually lack when you begin writing a book; hope. Later, push away the pressure. Lose yourself in the story, stay excited about the project, and most importantly, finish that book. Whether it’s today, tomorrow, or in ten years, if you believe in it; finish.

About You

Where did you grow up?

I’ve moved about 33 times. I have lived in North, Central, South America, and England. I know a plane better then I know a house. It sounds bad, but it actually isn’t. Your mind expands, and your mentality morphs into a less arrogant one when you move. Notice how I used the word move rather than travel. When you travel, you are a tourist. You see places with the mentality you took from home. When you move somewhere different; that is where your mentality grows by observation and interaction with that world. I truly believe that within this one world, there are many worlds to explore.

Where do you live now?

I currently live in the small town of Ephraim, Utah, where my wife and I are pursuing further education.

What would you like readers to know about you?

I’m not conventional. My approach to life is very different to what surrounds me, which again I believe is to do with moving so much. If something naturally calls to me, I try to prevent the world’s standard of qualifying or not qualifying from influencing me. I guess I move towards what naturally calls to my nature, and that makes my conviction that much more powerful. It’s difficult to fight against what you’re naturally drawn to. Something I would like to tell readers about me is; my purpose as an author is to grab hold of you and take you to a place you don’t recognize.

What are you working on now?

I am working on the second book.

End of Interview:

For more from J.C., visit the book’s website, like it’s Facebook page, or follow on Twitter.

Get your copy of Quietus from Amazon US or Amazon UK.

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