Excuse the excessive use of the word DOPE but this picture was taken on my birthday.
A.A. Gabriel is the author of "Charlie Jones and the Planet Behind the Sun", a fantasy novel he began writing in November, 2016, six years after the idea of a planet "sharing orbit with Earth" came into his mind.
He's written other two novels as well, "Travis and the Heart of Water", book one of a post-apocalyptic trilogy and a romantic novel titled "Ian Johnson".
What made you realize writing was your biggest passion?
I can say that I always knew it. I remember being young (perhaps around twelve years old or younger) and having the realization that writing was what I really loved to do. It's a feeling you get and you just know what your truth is. For me, it felt as if time had stopped for a second so I could calm my thoughs and actually pay attention to the feelings in my body. The feelings telling you which path to take. It's something surreal anyone can experince. You only have to listen.
Even though I knew I was meant to write novels, it wasn't until I met the two amazing people who inspired the characters of Susan and Blue that I started to formally write what became my first novel, Charlie Jones and the Planet behind the Sun. After all, there can not be a great story without the main character having best friends. I had a world built in my head, part of the plot and various characters created as well, but I didn't have the excitement I needed to sit down and write. Susan and Blue gave me the excitement and energy I needed. They were the missing ingredient to create something fresh, joyful and human. That's why the book is dedicated to them. THANK YOU, SUSAN AND BLUE!
Where do you get your ideas from?
I will be honest; I never sit down with the intention of coming up with a novel. Ideas simply show up in my head like flashes of inspiration or messages sent from the heavens. However, I'm well aware that more often than not the stories I write are related to my own life events. This is a good thing because you can't write about something you don't know.
It was one evening when the idea of "a planet behind the sun" showed up in my head while in my room. At that moment I just knew that I was someday going to write a book set in that imaginary planet. Then, little by little, as the years passed, more elements of the story began coming to me. Things like names, places, action scenes and more made their way to my head until I realized I had enough material to write a full novel after meeting my friends Susan and Blue. That's how Charlie Jones was conceived.
After seeing the word water while scrolling YouTube videos, the idea for a novel where water was of vital importance because of its scarcity came to me at once. Travis of Dwr was born and I began the writing of the first novel of the trilogy right away.
Once night, shortly after I finished writing the first draft of Travis and the Heart of Water, I had a dream in which I saw a rich man in a restaurant asking for his bill. For some reason, a magnified image of what seemed to be a green ring the man was wearing on his index finger was all I could see and I got the strong feeling that this man was different than all the waiters around him. This gave birth to the extreme class system (if it can be called that) in the novel that dream inspired, Ian Johnson.
Why do you write?
I write because I truly enjoy it. Getting to watch a mental movie about the book you're writing is a true delight. You should try it. Writing is my passion. I lose sense of time every time I plot, write and edit something. It's such my obsession about writing that I sometimes wish I didn't have to spend time eating and sleeping so I could stay in my room and write all day and night.
Do you plot out your novels in advance?
I don't like plotting my novels, even though a lot of authors say it's the way to go. I just love the sense of adventure I get when I write because I have no idea where the story will take me. Sure, I get hints and know what's going to happen at times but, mostly, I just go with the flow and "see" what my characters do, say or want to do. As a writer I do feel that characters and events in my books are not there for me to command. They are like living memories in my head with their own wants and desires. I like to stick to what I feel is the right way to treat a novel (which is nothing than pure inspiration given to you by the Universe) and prefer to simply become the vehicle to bring the stories into this world.
Another reason why I don't like plotting is the fact that I tend to stop writing once I know how the story develops. It's fine if you know the end, but ends are boring. Characters' journeys are the best parts so keeping most of them unknown to you as you write is the best way to keep yourself motivated to actually finish writing your story. I truly write because I love it and once I know what happens in a story, I just want to jump to writing the next book and get the feeling of excitement and exilaration I get from it. That's why I keep plotting to a minimum.
If you want advice, just write and stop worrying whether what happens in your book will be considered right or wrong by others. Your story is and should be a unique gift from you to the world.
What are you working on right now?
Oh, my god. I am eager to finish the new novels I have been slowly working on for some time now. Strangely, I have the plot of book 2 of Charlie Jones ready (which came to me practically after finishing the first novel). However, I think I will begin writing book 2 after Charlie Jones and the Planet behind the Sun is published. The same goes for book 2 of Travis of Dwr. I have the first 12 chapters finished but will only continue writing after book one, Travis and the Heart of Water, is published as well.
Also, I have written the first chapters of a new Fantasy novel set in... You are going to have to wait until I finish it to know. But just so you know, I am really enjoying writing it. It's full of funny bits that make me laugh every five minutes.
In case you wonder which new book I will end up finishing first, I can say with confidence that it will be a Charlie Jones prequel set... You will have to wait this one too. Sorry!
In short, I can't wait for you to read new material!
Who are your favorite authors?
Some of the authors whose works I love the most for personal reasons are: J.K. Rowling, Michael Crichton, Christopher Paolini, George R.R. Martin, Roald Dahl and Gerald Durrell (his memoirs are the books that have made me laugh the most).
Yes, yes, but I want to know specific books that you really like.
The list is too long to mention each of them here, specially when they are part of series like "Harry Potter" and "A Song of Ice and Fire", but some of the books that contain much of what I love in novels are:
"Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" by J.K. Rowling
"The Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins
"The Maze Runner" by James Dashner
"Jurassic Park", "Lost World" and "Timeline" by Michael Crichton
"Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" and "Matilda" by Roald Dahl (Matilda's book is far funnier than the movie)
"The Lightning Thief" by Rick Riordan
"Divergent" by Veronica Roth
"Eragon" by Christopher Paolini
"Mortal Engines" by Philip Reeve
"A Game of Thrones" by George R.R. Martin
"The Da Vinci Code" by Dan Brown
"Assassin's Aprentice" by Robb Hobb
"Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" by Lewis Caroll
"Bambi, a Life in the Woods" by Felix Salten (really, it's touching)
"How to Train Your Dragon" by Cressida Cowell
"My Family and other Animals" by Gerald Durrell
"Doctor Dolittle" by Hugh Lofting
"Lord of the Flies" by William Golding
More books to be added as I finish reading them
What are your favorite children's tales?
I fell in love with literature by reading children's tales. My favorite ones when I was younger were: "The Tale of Peter the Rabbit" by Beatrix Potter, "The Happy Prince" by Oscar Wilde, "The Nightingale" by Hans Christian Andersen and "Hansel and Gretel" by the Grimm brothers.
Besides reading and writing, what other things interest you?
I really enjoy learning about art, languages, architecture, ancient cultures, history, plants, animals, nature conservation, gardening, all things organic, clean energy, business-related subjects and listening to classical and electronic music.
What are your favorite movies?
I've always been fond of The Parent Trap, Jurassic Park, the Harry Potter movies, Matilda, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief, National Treasure, Independence Day, Interstellar and more.
What's your favorite Game of Thrones character?
It was Daenerys Targaryen (Because the one with the dragons gets all the fame) until I discovered Olenna Tyrell. I wish she'd been my grandma! Dame Diana Riggs did an amazing job playing the Queen of Thorns. I wish I had met her!
What's your favorite food?
My favorite types of food are Japanese and Mediterranean food. Thumbs up for sushi, miso soup, salads and pizza!
What are some of your favorite quotes?
"If a tiny light catches your attention... follow it. If it takes to a swamp and you get stuck in it, don't worry, you'll get out of it. But if you don't follow that tiny light... you'll forever wonder if it was your star." Seneca
"Read good books many times, rather than many books." Seneca
"Only do what your heart tells you." Princess Diana
"There is something delicious about writing the first words of a story. You never know where they'll take you." Beatrix Potter
"If you think you're too small to make a difference... try sleeping with a mosquito in the room." Dalai Lama
"The land is chief, and men its stewards." Hawaiian proverb. Original in Hawaiian: "I aliʻi ka ʻaina, i kaua ke kanaka."
"If one could but paint his mind." Francis Bacon
"There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you." Maya Angelou
"Be steadfast in the seeking of knowledge." Queen Liliʻuokalani. Original in Hawaiian: "E onipaʻa...i ka ʻimi naʻauao."
"Art washes from the soul the dust of everyday life." Pablo Picasso
Have a question for me? Get in touch! I'd love to hear from you!