Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.
Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?
My name is John Adrian Tomlin. I go by my middle name Adrian. I’m 35 years old.
Fiona: Where are you from?
I’m from Oceanside, CA.
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
I was born with merosin muscular dystrophy which makes my physically weak and bound in a motor wheelchair. I have one half sister and one adopted sister. Both have kids and are living out of state. I live in Oceanside, CA with my parents. I’m unable to take care of myself, so that’s why I still live here. I have a B.S. in Game Art and Design with the intention of becoming a video game designer. Because of circumstances beyond my control, I wasn’t able to obtain my dream job, so I decided to be a writer. Game designing is just another form of storytelling, so, in essence, I’m a storyteller.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
I’m working on my third book titled “The Imaginarium Conspiracy.” It’s taking me awhile to write, but it’s coming along.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I began writing around 2011 when E3 was on. E3 stands for Electronic Entertainment Expo. It’s when all the video game companies come together and show off their upcoming games. During physical therapy, I got to thinking of the future and what kinds of things that will come out next, especially when we get to the point where video game graphics and reality are indistinguishable. Somehow, my mind dreamed up of a device that lets you play in your mind instead of the TV which opens up all five senses so the player can be fully immersed in the gaming world. I believe it was God that gave me this idea and told me to write about it. And so I did. The plot of the story wasn’t planned ahead of time. It just poured out.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I got my first taste in writing in fourth grade. The teacher assigned us to write a story in 30 minutes (I think it was 30 minutes). Any story at all. I just wrote what I saw that came to my mind as if a movie was playing. We all turned in the assignment when we were done. This is a class of around 30 kids. The next day, the teacher said, in a nutshell, that everyone’s story was bad…except one. Mine. She asked me if she could read it to the class. I said sure. I honestly don’t remember what I wrote, but that experience told me that I have a hidden talent to tell stories. I didn’t really exercise my talent until I started writing “The Imaginarium Machine.” I still feel I could get better the more I write.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I believe it was God that inspired me. The idea itself wouldn’t have come from me.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
I came up with the title from the movie “The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus.” I like the word Imaginarium, so I looked up the definition and thought it was perfect. I slapped the word Machine next to it and thought that it rolls off the tongue nicely.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
I can’t really say about my writing style because I’m still learning and experimenting. “The Imaginarium Machine” was my first book and I feel like I have a long way to go to hone my craft. I would love to try other genres like Fantasy, but I feel like I need more experience before I can tackle that genre.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Some of the names and personalities are based on people I know while others are based on personalities from movies and video games. I tried to keep the book grounded in reality as much as possible while making certain liberties to make a coherent plot. I’d say about 75% of the book is realistic.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
I didn’t need to travel, ever.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
I designed the concept of “The Imaginarium Machine” cover using Photoshop. I designed “The Imaginarium World” cover myself. I’m an artist too, not just a writer.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I wrote the book for entertainment purposes, but if there is a message it’s this: Be cautious on new technology. The promises of technology being better, safer, and faster could end up being the thing that chains you into submission.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? Who is your favorite writer, and what is it about their work that really strikes you?
I don’t read books. I play video games and watch TV and movies. I love “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy as well as “The Hobbit” trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien. There’s something about epic fantasy that draws me in and wish I was a part of their journey. I also love the movie “The Dark Knight” starring Christian Bale and Heath Ledger. It was written by Christopher Nolan and David S. Goyer. What struck me most about this movie was the Joker. He made me laugh in a sickening way, he was scary at times…he was just plain evil. He is a really interesting character and Heath Ledger played him perfectly.
I love the Final Fantasy series by Square-Enix. My favorite ones are Final Fantasy VI and Final Fantasy VII. The stories and characters in those two games really stand out and are memorable.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I could see it as a career, but the dream is to become a video game designer.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
In the “Imginarium Machine,” yes. I would make it longer and to take my time. My excitement to publish my book got the better of me and I rushed it a bit. I learned my lesson and took my time with “The Imaginarium World.”
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
I learned that it is not as easy as it seems. It takes a lot of discipline to stay focused. If you knew me, you would know that my focus most of the time is on video games. In order to focus on writing, I have to sacrifice my time on video games.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Andrew Lincoln or Jon Bernthal. Their performance in “The Walking Dead” makes them my favorite actors.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Take your time and don’t rush it. Do your research on publishing, whether it is self-publishing or traditional publishing.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
I hope and pray you are entertained in my work. This is why I want to tell stories: to entertain.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
As I said before, I don’t read books. I can tell you what games I’m playing through currently: Overwatch, Tales of Zestiria, and X-Com 2. The TV shows I watch currently are The Big Bang Theory, Young Sheldon, NCIS, NCIS: New Orleans, Criminal Minds, The Orville, The Good Doctor, Designated Survivor, The Young and the Restless (mom got me hooked as a child), Fear the Walking Dead, and many others. The most recent movie I saw in the theatre was Spiderman: Homecoming. I plan on seeing Bladerunner 2049 and Thor: Ragnarok in the near future.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
I started reading around the age of three (that’s what mom tells me), so it had to be a children’s book. I don’t remember it though.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
It’s rare that I cry in sadness, but I do cry in joy when worshipping God in church or at home, especially when worshipping in music. I laugh at comedy shows mostly.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
I want to meet Jesus to ask him to heal me and to give him a hug.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I enjoy watching action, comedy, and superhero shows/films. Sometimes I like watching horror, but it depends on my mood.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
I like Filipino foods like lumpia and pansit (I’m half Filipino). My favorite color is green. My favorite music are Country Rock and Christian music.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Probably art using Photoshop or resume my pursuit to being a video game designer.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
John Adrian Tomlin
A Humble Child of God
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
I do not, but I have several websites that people can visit.
Haha. It feels great to read an interview with a gamer. I’ve written stuff ever since I was in primary school but it was videogames what pushed me to make my first story and share it with some friends. They were doing their stories and crossovers so it was really fun. From there I started bringing bag all those stories I used to tell myself growing up. I always had a big imagination and daydream is my way to escape stress. Videogames are a great escape and some have very cool and touching stories.
I definitely feel interested in the premise of the future of the videogames and what it can come with it. How not everything is like it seems and we might be giving up more than we assume in exchange for the commodity.
I can imagine you’d make a fine game designer with that huge passion and it is great that you haven’t stopped and adapted and are pouring it into writing. It sounds like the time you are taking from playing videogames to focus on writing these books are being worth it.