Name: Imy Santiago
Age: Thirty four years of age
Where are you from: Long Island, New York
A little about yourself `i.e. your education Family life etc:
I have a Bachelors Degree in Social Sciences with a major in Criminal Science with a minor in Psychology. I live with my tiny family on Long Island.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
I recently published my second novel and sequel to chasing Reese. titled finding Reese. on May 26, 2015. Since then, I’ve been multitasking between promoting finding Reese. and writing two other projects for a release later this year.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I started writing when I was seven years old. I was waiting for my brother to be released from the ER as he had broken his arm. My sister Emily took me for a walk down the beach while we waited, and it was there that I penned my first ever written work. It was a poem about the ocean waves.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I always knew I could write, but I never embraced the title until my late twenties. After much encouragement from my college professors, I started writing on a more serious level; paying attention to what I was writing and mixing my feelings in with the words. It took me three more years after that to determine my writing was okay.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
Back in 2012-2013 I was severely depressed. I was sunken into a bottomless pit of hopelessness and desperation. I was at work, bored out of my mind, so I opened a black document on the computer and started writing. It was the first time I’d written anything for three years. In fifteen minutes I wrote what is now known as the Prologue in chasing Reese. It’s a very sad beginning which is an mirror image of how I was feeling at the time.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
If I can’t see, hear, feel, taste what I’m writing about, then I scrap those words and start again. I am a visual writer. When I write, I see the scenes and dialogue of my novels play in my brain like a movie. The truth is, chasing Reese. was originally a screenplay I wrote shortly after writing the Prologue I mentioned earlier. A few friends encouraged me to rewrite it into novel format. Five rewrites and three edits later, we have what we now know as chasing Reese.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
The original title of chasing Reese. was in fact SAFELIGHT. However, one day I was doing research online and came across a book with the same title, and while it was a crime thriller and nothing remotely similar to the other writer’s book, it did evolve around a photographer with New York City as a backdrop. I decided to give to switch it to something more cohesive to the book, and chasing Reese. was born.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Indeed. It’s okay to live after losing someone. It’s okay to find love and give yourself a second chance to experience adventure and live life to its full potential. The biggest message in this book is that love comes in many forms, and without love, life can be rather bland.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
I would say 80/20, eighty being on the realistic side. I did eighteen months of research for chasing Reese. I tried to make it as realistic as possible.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Chasing Reese. is a romanticized retelling of my life, but it is all made in symbols. I’m afraid only my close friends and family have been able to figure out the clues. Some facts have been altered to protect the innocent.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
I love the works of Shakespeare, Twain, Cummings, Poe, and Hemingway. Classics have molded me into the kind of writer I want to grow up to be. Now, current authors like Sylvain Reynard, Colleen Hoover, Raine Miller, K. Bromberg, Jodi Ellen Malpas, Gail McHugh have definitely influenced me. None of these authors know of my weary existence, but I’ve read their work, watched them online, and their business models are very successful. Every day I strive to be as kind and compassionate as them. They are role models for sure.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I am currently reading Shattered Lies by Theresa Sederholt. It is the third novel in the Unraveled Series and I’m enjoying it immensely.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Lately, I strive to read the work of up and coming Indie writers and authors. This is nothing against traditionally published writers and authors. Our community is very small and I like to know I’m supporting my peers. I have read awesome books from incredible writers that would certainly challenge the norms of traditionally published books. Here are just a few: Alannah Carbonneau, Theresa Sederholt, Marc Nobbs, A.M. Wilson, among many others.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
I am working the next installment in the SAFELIGHT series: saving Reese. and We Met on a Train.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
Wordsmyth, Inc. is a core of women who read my debut novel chasing Reese. and got together to support my work. They are not a street team and don’t boast themselves as such. They are my biggest cheerleaders and keep me grounded, honest, and focused. I’d be lost without them.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Indeed. Sure I’m in my yoga pants all day, but I work the same if not more than my corporate world counterparts. There are days I do twelve to fifteen hour shifts between writing and promoting. There is little to no pay, there are no paid holidays, vacation or sick days, no overtime pay, no benefits beyond the satisfaction that you’re doing what you love most. At the end of the day, I’m happy. Maybe one day things will change, but for now, I’m content with what little I have and the small victories I’ve accomplished.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
No. I wouldn’t change a thing, and the reason is, finding Reese. was never meant to be written. In my original storyline, there was only room for two novels: chasing Reese. and saving Reese. So I am happy I was able to add a new book to add depth and dimension to the lives of the three characters within the series, while paving the way for Jackson’s story. It was a huge risk, and for that I have no regrets.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I was seven years old. It could be said I have lived a long life despite being young. Heartbreak, disillusion, fear, hope−all those feelings that should’ve shown up later in life arrived sooner. So I read books and wrote to keep the pain at bay.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
We Met on a Train is based on a true story. While it is categorized as Fiction, there are certain elements of truth that are based on events that took place during my childhood. This novel is not for the faint of heart. It will evoke many feelings; both good and bad. It’s definitely an emotional roller coaster of a novel.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Indeed. Writing sex is one of the most difficult things to achieve. None of the sex scenes in my books are there as fluff. To me sex is a special moment shared between two people, and it has the power to strengthen relationships, break them, and change a person as a whole. Having said that, it can be difficult to write a sex scene that is both tasteful and elegant, yet it doesn’t read like a text book/reference manual.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
My favorite author is Sylvain Reynard. He made me fall in love with the written word again. His writing is sophisticated yet endearing, flawless yet humble. It is hard to explain, but he is one of the few writers who can blend the perfect balance between poetry and prose. I love the Gabriel Series he penned. He elevated Twilight fan-fiction to new heights.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
As a child, my father’s job demanded lots of traveling and moving to different countries and cities. To stay I traveled a lot is an understatement. I learned about so many different cultures which in turn broadened and opened my heart to be respectful and tolerant to other cultures and beliefs. This traveling influenced my writing, and it continues to influence me as a person with each sunrise.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Marisa Shor with CoverMe, Darling (www.covermedarling.com) is the person responsible for the breathtaking covers of both of my novels. She understood my vision and interpreted it exactly, if not better, than what I saw in my head. She is one of the best cover designers in the business, and I’m proud to have her talents and skill on board. Some say don’t judge a book by its cover, but in a world full of sensual book covers, I wanted to do something different. Marisa loved that. She recently saw the image I acquired for saving Reese. She was beyond excited.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
I truly believe it was finding the right balance between family life and book life. Writing isn’t hard. What is hard is managing your time successfully. Having written two books, it’s tough to write another, market, promote, and interact with readers in a way that doesn’t affect your production schedule. It is complete chaos, but I love it.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I learned to be hopeful. I embraced adventure, and I look forward to a happily ever after in my life.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Write every day. Keep going, even if the words don’t make sense. Never give up.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I would like to thank all of my readers for taking a moment to read my work. In a limitless sea filled with incredible authors and writers, amid millions of stories, they picked my books. They gave me a chance, and for that I will be eternally grateful.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Indeed. Charlotte’s Web. To this day I cry when I read it.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
My daughter is funny. She’s quite the hoot. She makes me giggle a lot. So does her father. My daughter gets her sense of humor from him.
Fireworks, and sappy movies/commercials get under my skin. I cry like someone stole my lollipop.
Fiona: Is there one person past or present you would meet and why?
I would love to meet Colleen Hoover. Her story is so inspirational; she went from nothing to something. I’d love to sit down and pluck her thoughts. She may not be the highest grossing author out there, but she has all of my admiration. It’s her human nature that draws me in. When I grow up, I want to be just like CoHo.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why?
“Loving Mom, awesome Grandma, supportive Wife, loyal Friend, and part time Writer.” Above all things I am a mother first, partner second, friend third, and whatever space is left, I dedicate it to writing.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?
I love to listen to music and watch movies with my daughter in my spare time. When she’s asleep at night, her father and I search for new series to watch, and binge watch for hours at a time.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
If I had to narrow it down to one genre, it would be anything comic-related. My partner is Team Marvel and I’m Team DC. So we pretty much own every single Marvel movie, as well as DC movie ever made. I favorite superhero is Super-Man while, his is Captain America.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
I love Italian cuisine as well as sushi. My favorite colors are black, white, and purple. My favorite genre of music is alternative rock.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
I was accepted into Law School, so maybe becoming an attorney would’ve been something cool to explore. I’d also love to travel the European countries, backpack around Spain, and maybe dance under the stars in Paris. One day.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
I have a website which I occasionally blog on. www.imysantiago.com
Buy/Social Media Links: Imy Santiago
The next chapter continues! Read the next volume in the SAFELIGHT series!finding Reese.
a SAFELIGHT novel vol.2
Signed Paperbacks: http://goo.gl/forms/uIkYFWHJ4z
Catch up with the SAFELIGHT series! Read the novel that started a movement: chasing Reese.
a SAFELIGHT novel vol.1
Signed Paperbacks: http://goo.gl/forms/uIkYFWHJ4z
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