Thursday, December 29, 2011

Author Interview with L.M. Vila - Including personal pics. Book - Agent M: Project Mabus (The Agent M Series)

Where were you born?  I was born in Chicago, IL but my true home is Southern California. I’ve traveled a lot in my day and nothing compares to SoCal’s weather, restaurants, and overall comfort level. Currently, I’m living on the surface of the sun (the locals call it Arizona).

 A glimpse into Luis's Private world -  

My beloved dog Cody. He’s a golden retriever/chow chow mix and pretty much the most amazing animal you will ever meet. 


This is a picture of my parents house.

Where the series concept/idea all began. I wrote the entire book in nearly every room of that house so I decided to send you a picture of the entire place instead of the dozen or so rooms I was in and out of.

What is the name of your most recent book and if you had to sum it up in 30 or less words, what would you say?
My most recent book is also my first one. It’s called Agent M: Project Mabus and to summarize it briefly, it is the tale of two F.B.I. Agents as they are burdened to battle against the prophesized threat to destroy the world.

If you gave some of your characters an opportunity to speak for themselves, what would they say?
Agent Michael Madison would have much to say. He’s very reserved and stoic in that regards. Agent Meryl Lewis on the other hand would shy away from giving her two cents whether it was asked for or not.

Do you have plans for a new book?   Is this book part of a series?
Agent M: Project Mabus is the beginning of (what I have dubbed) the Agent M series. Currently, I am working on the second book and I’m hoping to have a rough draft finished within the next few months.

What or who inspired you to write?  And how long have you been writing?
My writing inspiration comes from my comic book idol Stan “The Man” Lee. His brilliance stemmed from taking simple concepts and making them extraordinary and it has heavily influenced my story creation and style of writing.

I have been writing for as long as I can remember but I didn’t start to seriously publish some work publically until about 8 years ago. Fan-fiction is where I spread my writer’s wings. I received a lot of great critiques and compliments from my fellow writers. It was instrumental in helping me developed the confidence needed to write my very own original story.

Would you like to giveaway a copy of your book on this blog?
Absolutely! If just one person read my book and enjoyed it then all of the time and effort spent would be more than worth it.

How did you come up with the title and cover design?
I know this is kind of a writing “no-no” but I actually came up with the title first before outlining the story. I knew what I wanted for the series as a whole so I thought it best to title it where it all began.

The cover design is something I had in mind for a while. I wanted it to not only attract attention but convey the personalities of the main characters. Michael is more reserved but powerful, hence why he’s handling a semi-automatic shotgun like a pistol. On the other hand, Meryl is more impulsive and doesn’t shy away from a fight so I wanted it to appear like she’s rushing out of the cover and straight into the thick of battle.

Have you based any of your characters on someone you know, or real events in your own life?
I’d love to say not really but that would be a lie (heh heh). In a way, Meryl and Michael have similarities to my own personality. The shy and reserved aspect in public settings (Michael) as well as the brash and no-limits demeanor amongst my friends and family (Meryl). But, when I created these characters, I thought of them as two completely different people that have little hints of myself sprinkled on top.

What books have most influenced your writing most and why?
I am a huge government agency/crime story buff as well as technology guru. While I was in college for my undergraduate degree, I picked up (on a whim no less) a Tom Clancy book called NetForce. It combined by two greatest literature loves (sci-fi and crime) into one complete package. I ended up reading the rest of the series within the next 2-3 weeks.

The NetForce series had a huge impact on my writing because it took a fairly complex subject and made it captivating. I couldn’t put the books down. After reading through them, I knew that if I were ever going to start a series of books, the NetForce series would be a great jumping off point for inspiration.

Is there an Author that you would really like to meet?
Stan Lee of course. I did have a chance to meet him one time though. I had a short internship on The Jace Hall Show. It was about a one and a half hour commute one way but I braved the distance about 2-3 times a week. Stan Lee was a guest on the show a couple of weeks before I started and on one particular day, he decided to stop by the studio to see how the episode was going. I had ignorantly decided not to show up that day and instead, play some video games before my night class started. It was one of the dumbest and unluckiest decisions of my life.

Do you prefer ebooks, paperbacks or hardcover?
I love hardcover books simply for the fact that I am an avid collector (comic books, action figures, ect) and they look a lot nicer on a bookshelf. For reading purposes, paperback books are much easier. I’ve tried reading ebooks on my computer but it wasn’t as comfortable. I’m sure my stance will change if I ever get a hold of an Amazon Kindle.

Patti Says: i love my kindle!

Where do you prefer to buy your books? or a brick and mortar Barnes and Noble store. A lot of my friends that work at a Barnes and Noble near my parent’s house so going there gives me the added bonus of hanging out with them for a few minutes and getting to read my books before I even buy them.

Are you a self published (Indie) Author?
Yes I am and proud of it!

Have you ever read a book more than once?
I am guilty of this. The titles include: To Kill a Mocking Bird, The Outsiders, Diablo: Legacy of Blood, and Crime and Punishment.

Is there a particular movie that you preferred over the book version?
I hate to say it, even though I’m a big fan of John Grishman, but I loved The Runaway Jury film more than the book. Maybe it was the all-star cast, or even the switch to guns over cigarettes but I could watch that movie over and over again and I really don’t need to read the book anymore.

What book are you currently reading and in what format (ebook/paperback/hardcover)?
I’m currently into the 2nd book of the Night Angel Trilogy Shadow’s Edge in its paperback form and I believe there is a new hardcover World of Warcraft novel that I’ve been meaning to pick up as well.

What book do you know that you will never read?
Even though I love to quote it from time to time, Sun Tzu’s The Art of War is just something that I’ll never be able to sit down and read cover to cover.

Are there any new Authors that have grasped your interest and why?
Brent Weeks of The Night Angel Trilogy fame. I never heard of him before a couple of months ago. I just happened to be in an airport bookstore looking for a book to read on my flight and instantly fell in love with it. I’ve been following him on ever since and he’s always posting some very insightful and helpful blogs for new authors like myself.

Is there anything you would change in your last book and why?
Not a single thing. Every word on every page is exactly how I want it and where I want it. That’s the beauty of being a self published author.

Who designed the cover of your book?
This cover was drawn by David Sondered. He does such phenomenal work in the realm of science fiction/fantasy, hiring him only did my book justice. I found him on a Warhammer 40k forum after posting some samples of his work. He is a very gracious and patient man that is willing to do whatever it takes to make you happy. I’m very privileged and excited to have his artistic touch grace the cover of my first novel.

Do you have a book trailer?
Sadly no, but I did write and plot one out. The only thing I needed to do was about 15-20 drawings but sadly, my skills in that department have waned over the years. If I ever do get some time I’d love to go back and revisit it, even if only for nostalgia purposes.

What are your thoughts on book trailers?
I think they’re phenomenal! It’s a great way to go beyond the blurb to catch reader’s attention. One particular trailer caught my eye, Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld. Everyone who is anyone should go check it out. In my opinion, that is the perfect book trailer. From start to finish, it’s engaging, informative, and makes you want to dive right into the book.

Do you have any advice for other writers?
Never be afraid of what you’re writing. Some of the bestselling authors of our time wrote their books purely for their enjoyment. As long as you believe in your story then it will show in your writing. We’re all readers as much as we are writers. We can tell when an author believes everything they’re saying and others who are just trying to tell us what we want to hear.

What is the best advice that you have ever been given when it comes to writing?
Some of the best advice I’ve ever received when it came to writing actually came from my favorite chef (the product may be different but the logic’s still the same). Keep it simple. Mastering complexities may take time but is still achievable. The people who get noticed are the ones who take something ordinary and turn into something extraordinary.

Do you write under a pen name?
Technically no, but I do abbreviate my first two initials.

Do you have any nicknames or other alias?
Back in my days of playing World of Warcraft, I was known as the greatest priest on the Jaedenar server (well, self-proclaimed but that’s a minor detail). My character’s name was Dr. Legend and most of my buddies since then have been calling me that. It’s got a nice ring to it and gives me a good reason to get a PhD.

Do you ever write in your PJ’s?
Of course. I can easily slip into a roll and write up a storm in my PJs. That’s where I’m most comfortable.
Who is your biggest critic?
Definitely my brother. He’s not afraid to tell me something I’ve done is crap. I appreciate it now more than I did when I started writing in high school. Probably because I just thought he was being negative out of spite.

What are your pet peeves?
People that try to impose their hatred of certain things on you as if their angry will compel you to change your opinion.

Cats or dogs?
Cats are alright but dogs > cats.

White wine or red?
I’m not a big alcohol drinker. Sadly my taste buds do not want to acquire anything beyond Dr. Pepper.

Coffee or tea?
Tea in every single category (favorites being Rooibos and Green). The only way I can drink coffee if it’s as sweet as a milkshake. However, Starbucks has a seasonal Toffee Mocha Frap that I just can’t get enough of.

Favorite food?
Croissants. Nothing beats a golden brown, flaky croissant from Essence Bakery just up my street.

Patti Says:  Hmmm, now you've gone and made me hungry!

Favorite drink?
The nectar of the Gods has been and always will be Dr. Pepper but I’ve recently fell in love with Vanilla Chai Tea from Bolthouse farms. Also, an honorary mention goes out to Cold Stone’s Cake Batter milkshake with Heath bar mixed in. I’ve coined the drink Liquid Justice because if justice was edible, it would definitely be a cake batter milkshake with Heath bars.

Vanilla or chocolate icecream?
Vanilla if I had to choose. Butter Toffee on a normal day. If I had the power to summon deceased flavors I would bring back Baskin-Robbins Crème Brulee. I probably gained at least 10 pounds in college thanks to those milkshakes.

What do you normally eat for breakfast?
Scrambled eggs, two slices of toast, and a side of sausage links.

What are 4 things you never leave home without?
Rosary necklace
Wallet w/picture of my fiancé

Laptop or desktop for writing?
Desktop even though I wrote 60% of my first novel on a laptop. My desktop keyboard/setup is way too more comfortable then typing in the confined space of a laptop. Granted I do have a 37” television I use as a monitor but that’s a minor detail.

Where and when do you prefer to do your writing?
In my office as soon as I get up. I like to get as much writing done as I can (usually I want to complete 3-5 pages in a day) and I’m much more motivated to do that in the morning rather than later in the day.

Patti says:  I go by word count.  If i do 1,000 words a day I am HAPPY! (or 5,000 words a week)

What is one of your goals you hope to accomplish with this novel?
Actually, it seems minute but I’d love to have my own Wikipedia entry. Nothing too glamorous, just a couple of paragraphs and my picture. I used to have a Wikipedia page dedicated to a character I portrayed on a YouTube account but it was taken down within a week. Apparently I wasn’t “mainstream” enough to warrant the added bandwidth.

Patti says:  Yeah, that would be cool!

If you were deserted on an island, who are 3 famous people you would want with you?
Stan Lee
Liam Neeson
Gordon Ramsay

If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
Probably a Green Lantern power ring. A weapon based off imagination for a writer? The possibilities are endless!

One of your favorite quotes –
 “He who can have patience can have anything he will.” – Benjamin Franklin

Who is your favorite character in all aspects of fiction (movie, books, television, games)?
The people that know me would say this is typical but it’s definitely Solid Snake from Hideo Kojima’s  Metal Gear Solid franchise. Here’s a guy that gets tricked into saving the world time and time again and the poor bastard doesn’t even give an ounce of resistance because he knows that what he’s doing is for the greater good.

List 3 of your all time favorite books:
Soon I Will Be Invincible – Austin Grossman
Without Remorse – Tom Clancy
Diablo: Legacy of Blood – Richard Knaak

List 3 of your all time favorite movies:
Terminator 2: Judgment Day
Street Fighter
Judge Dredd

List 3 of your all time favorite songs:
Don’t Stop Believing – Journey
Indestructible – Disturbed
Pretty Handsome Awkward – The Used

If you could go back in time and redo one moment of your life, what would you change?
I’m pretty content with the way my life turned out based on all of my past decisions but if I had the opportunity, I’d love to redo my marriage proposal. The original idea I had was unfortunately unavailable due to uncontrollable factors so I opted for a more practical approach. I still enjoy that moment very much but even my fiancé agrees my original idea was better. She even tried to con me into proposing to her like that if I ever get the opportunity even though we’re already engaged.

Patti says:  nothing wrong with a surprise do-over!

An actor you have a crush on –
Liam Neeson (my fiancé says I have a problem. I say, if loving Liam Neeson is wrong, then I don’t want to be right!)

Patti says:  Oh that is funny!  But she is right - you have a serious problem!

What is a movie or TV show that you watched recently and really enjoyed?
I’ve become a really big fan of Community. Although the premise is a bit farfetched, the comedy is spot on and I’ve enjoyed every single episode to date. Particularly the Dungeons and Dragons episode. That one hits very close to home.

What is a movie or TV show that you don’t care for that others seem to love?
I’m not a hateful person but if the entire case of The Jersey Shore were to drop off the face of the earth never to be heard from again, I don’t think humanity will miss them all that much.

Where can your readers stalk you?

Is your book in Print, ebook or both?
Currently it’s only in ebook form. If everything goes according to plan, the print version will be out within a few weeks.

Thank you for doing this interview with me.  It has been informative and fun.  Patti

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