Ladies and Jellybeans! We have today an interview with guest author Omon Hart, author of fantasy novel The PureLights of Ohm Totem (Book I of The PureLights Fantasy Series).
“Two children from a forgotten land, ancestors of the Island of Ohm Totem, one being of the night walkers and the other of the sacred heart, will purify the energies, bring back the old ways, and unite the PureLights once again, putting an end to the coming Shiver.” ~ Windstorm Prophecy
Let’s just jump right into this… Omon, when and why did you begin writing?
I began writing when I was a kid. I’d tear off a paper towel from the rack and grab my dad’s pen. I’d then write a short but silly adventurous story and leave it on the dining room table. When my parents would sit down at the table they’d read it and chuckle. My dad would usually say, “What a nut!” That meant dad was entertained.
Then came my first year in college when I took my first creative writing course. After my fourth short story, my professor stood in front of the class, pointed at me and said, “I would not be surprised if in two years he writes a best seller.”
That stunned me. One, because I never thought of writing as a career. And two, because I didn’t think I was that great of a story teller. He thought the opposite—along with the rest of the class. To them, I was that quiet kid in the back of the class with the great stories.
How awesome to have a teacher set you on such a course! What books have most influenced you?
It’s very eclectic. I love Lord of the Rings, Warrior Cats, Journey to the Other Side: A True Accounting of a Death Experience, and Mists of Avalon.
Variety is the spice of life! What gets your creative juices going?
Everything! For example, I live in Portland, Oregon where the beauty of forests surrounds us. When I walk through the forest I create entire worlds, naming giant trees things like, “Elder Friend” or “The Wise Oak”. Those names aren’t clever, but the world of life I create around them is.
I also get inspiration from good, epic movies. They get my juices going big time.
Do you have any writing quirks or rituals?
Yeah, I do. Sometimes I close my eyes before I write and take deep, calming breaths. I ask myself, the universe, the writing God or gods, to please help me write. I hope that works!
I think it’s important to focus on effort of writing and try to keep the distractions to a minimum. Not everyone is lucky enough to have the time or space to dedicate solely to writing. Are you a story architect (plotter) or a discovery writer (pantser)? (Tell a little about WHY you work that way!)
I’m a plotter, since most of the story erupts in mind in a brief flash, making me sit down and write out the summary of what I just saw. Then, throughout the day, more elements show themselves.
How does your environment or upbringing influence your writing?
The characters in my books seem to have the personalities of friends, family, and acquaintances. No one in my family or in my circle of friends know about this, but now they will. Now, they’ll read my books trying to figure out who is who. Hey, Josh! You’re in The PureLights of Ohm Totem, buddy. Try to find him!
That is fun to know! Why did you choose to write this particular book?
I wrote this book simply because it exploded in my mind when I walked in my room after a long day of work. It was pure fantasy and fun. I was so intrigued by the characters and situations that I saw, such as why they became Spirit Animals, the life lessons they had to go through, and their quest to find their home while stuck between a raging war and their own survival.
Sounds intriguing. What was the hardest part about writing this book?
The hardest part of writing this book was showing it to my friend, Deborah B. Gregg. Much of the lessons are things I’ve learned from her Near Death Experience and from the book she wrote about it. She died, went up a tunnel, then talked with a “guide” who gave her great insights and incredible spiritual and physical instructions for life. I wanted to incorporate those into my book and I didn’t want to get it wrong. When she read the book, she loved it, fixed any errors I had, and gave me two thumbs up.
I can see where that would have been both nerve-wracking and encouraging. “Trying to get it right” can often lead to self-doubts and difficulty writing. How do you deal with writer’s block?
My creative writing professor once told me that writer’s block is a block in NY where writer’s live. Otherwise, it doesn’t exist. I don’t know if that’s necessarily true, but what he told me to do when I feel blocked is to just write and write. Write anything and everything, even it if has nothing to do with what you’re currently writing. Why? Because inspiration will come once you are in motion toward your goal. Effort and action can move any block. It works well for me.
I love that philosophy! I think that as writers we can always write something. Anything. Spending a little while scribbling isn’t a waste of time, especially if we know it will eventually free the “clog.” So, after finishing your novel, how did you decide how to publish your books?
I decided to self-publish. I heard many horror stories about the “Big 6” publishing companies and about all of the rejection letters authors receive when trying to get published. I’ve also heard of authors who had been rejected time and time again, then went the self-publishing route and became a big success. Plus, it’s nice to have freedom to do with your book what you want.
Being able to have more control is great—It’s also a lot of work! What do you most wish you had known when you first set out on this path?
How much work it is. I’m marketing almost all day, either with clients from my full time business as a sports massage therapist or on the internet, figuring out how to get my book to the masses.
Exactly! Is being a writer anything like you thought it would be?
It’s nothing like I thought it would be. I never knew how much fun it really was. It’s my true joy and inspiration. It’s a way to move my mind and heart like none other.
After the writing and initial editing is done, do you use critique partners or beta readers? Why or why not?
I use a lot of critique partners. I’ve found that community is much better than having no community at all. It truly takes a community to help me out. They have been a life saver for me with my most recent book. They keep me going, driving me to my ultimate goal—being a best seller. When I need them, they come and help.
Those “first readers” are, to me, an invaluable part of the process. Not only do they help catch errors, but they often give us little nudges of inspiration that make our work sparkle.
If you could take a journey into any book, which one would it be?
Good question! My favorite so far. I’d probably choose Warrior Cats, but I’d put a little twist on it, since I like magic so much. I’d be a cat in one of the clans that had magical powers, but used magic for only good.
That’s good to hear. No Evil Mage lurking in the corner over there… What about you? What do you do to relax? Do you have any hobbies?
I don’t relax much. My time is spent with my partner and kids. My hobbies include getting peed on by my two year old while potty training her; mediating my 11 and 13 year old from their daily arguing routine; getting bear hugged by my 13 year old son; begging a kiss on the cheek from my 11 year old daughter; getting strange looks from my partner when I say my strange and quirky things; then at the end of the day laughing with them all, kissing them goodnight, and getting back to my writing.
Chocolate or vanilla?
Tough choice, but I would choose vanilla.
Apparently we can’t be friends any more…
Just kidding! Thank you so much for sharing with us, Oman. Dear readers, be sure to check out Omon’s book, just recently released:
“Two children from a forgotten land, ancestors of the Island of Ohm Totem, one being of the night walkers and the other of the sacred heart, will purify the energies, bring back the old ways, and unite the PureLights once again, putting an end to the coming Shiver.”