Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Q&A with Joshua P. Aguayo

Psychoanalyst by profession, Joshua Aguayo was born in Quito, Ecuador. Since his very youth, he showed an interest in science fiction and high fantasy. His passion for elves and warp drives would eventually breed together with the traditionally grim artstyle of his latin american upbringing into an amalgam that carved itself a home in the neon-lit streets of the cyberpunk genre.

He also enjoys watching TV shows for little girls.

Want to get in touch?

Twitter: @josh_aguayo

Drugs, an attitude, and an impassioned relationship with her best female friend are the only things Samantha Thorn has left. Forced to keep a facade of normality by the very mega-corporation that executed her father for delving into the arcane, and on the brink of mercy suicide, Sam will embark on an ordeal set against dystopic hispanic locales to rescue the only family she has left, with little regard for the corporate thugs and street gang politics that will stand in her way.

A tantalizing adventure, The Lost Thorn takes on the traditional pillars of cyberpunk and shatters them with a fresh gush of inspired and playful narrative. Fast-paced and grim, this book and its characters scramble the contrasts of the modern world, a testament to the crumbling norms of a society where both body and mind have become mere tools for absolute markets.


1.       What inspired you to write The Lost Thorn?

I'm the kind of writer that begins with a character, rather than with a story. I remember Samanth was the fist thing that came to my mind, she was at the same time a reflection of myself and a character inspired by many girls in my life. The idea I had for her, along with a passion for magic and science fiction, eventually mixed together to come up with the setting and story behind The Lost Thorn.



2.       What was the development process like?

One of my favorite writers is Gabriel García Marquez. When I started writing and I was trying to find a “rhythm” for my own writing I read an interview he had, where he was asked this same question. And the answer he gave inspired me and stuck with me ever since. He used the word 'ruminate' to describe his writing, and that's the same way I would describe my own creative process. When I have an idea, I spend a long time just 'thinking' about that idea, ruminating. It can be anywhere from a few days to weeks or even months, until one day I just sit down and write for extremely long amounts of time, until those thoughts are depleted and the process starts all over again.


3.       Did you do any kind of research for this book?

Yes, lots. That 'ruminating' phase includes research too, which for The Lost Thorn implied traveling around my city, learning about the customs of my own people and those who lived before me, and of course, reading the “big names” of the genre I was aiming for, namely titles like “Neuromancer” or “Do androids dream of electric sheep?”


4.       This is an interesting story. What genre would you put this in?

I like to say it's a “Cyberpunk” story. However I usually classify it in the broader “Science Fiction” category, simply because I did take some liberties when writing the story in my own personal style and when setting it against a Latin American locale.


5.       What do you hope readers will gain from your book?

Mainly I hope they will have a good time and a couple of laughs.  I think The Lost Thorn is a novel with heavy social commentary. I also think it could be explored from a psychoanalytical point of view, through the eyes of madness and sanity. I also think it's a political critique and a literary blend of fantasy and science fiction. However all this is just me, and the reader might aswell ignore all that and just enjoy Samantha's terrible puns. I think that's the beauty of literature: You don't take what the author wants you to take, you take what you want to take. So all I want is that my readers enjoy their read.


6.       What do you like best and what do you like least about being a writer?

What I like best has to be having an excuse to learn about many different topics, travel to the strangest of places or try the weirdest of things. What I like the least is probably how hard it is to put something “out there”. I think that what I like the least is the “business” part of it, where you try to market and sell the product of your effort.


7.       Who are some of your favorite authors?

García Marquez as I said earlier, Jim Butcher, Akira Toriyama, If you count mangakas, William Gibson, Ragnar Tonquist and Oscar Wilde, are some of my favorite.


8.       If your book would be turned into a movie, who would you imagine playing the part of the main character? (Actor can be ANYONE, living or dead.)

Oh this is a tough question… When I daydream about it… (That's not weird, is it?) I usually imagine The Lost Thorn as an animation, rather than as a feature film. But I if was a live action film, I'd say maybe someone like Chloe Moretz or the girl from David Fincher's “The girl with the dragon tattoo”. I know they are diametrically different actors, but I think each would be able to portray Samantha in a different light.


9.       Are you working on anything right now?

Yes. I'm working on the second novel in the series and I'm also working on a startup company to help local authors from Ecuador put their books online.


10.   And, finally, what do you think is in store for the future of Latino literature?

Ah… This may be the hardest question. I don't know to be honest. I feel like there are two strong “currents” for Latin American literature. One that sticks to the classics. To the style of authors like Cortazar or Borges. And one that is moving towards the alluring stream of globalization and trying to fit in the global market a la Bestsellers like Harry Potter or Hunger Games. I think that both are valid and I think that only time will tell where we end up.

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