Terrie Leigh Relf: What types – and forms – of writing do you do?
Aurelio Rico Lopez III: I write fiction and poetry.
Relf: What forms of poetry do you write? What is it that you love about these forms?
Lopez: I write free verse poetry because it grants me the freedom to express myself.
I also write haiku. I enjoy the challenge of saying (or writing) everything that needs to be said in just three lines.
Relf: What is your area(s) of subject matter expertise? How did you discover this niche? What intrigues you about it?
Lopez: I have an affinity for the dark, horrific, and strange. The first novel I read as a boy was a horror novel by Dean Koontz entitled The Vision. I’ve been hooked to the horror genre ever since.
Relf: How do you balance your creative and work time?
Lopez: There has never been an effort to balance the two. Not consciously, anyway. Whenever an idea pops in my head – be it a plot twist, a line one of my characters says, or a description I can use later on – I grab the nearest pen and paper and jot it down. Sometimes, I’ll write it on my cellphone.
A writer writes, and you either write or you don’t. It’s that simple.
Relf: What tips do you have for other writers?
Lopez: The age-old rule “Write and read” will always hold true. You need both to hone your craft.
Relf: Where do your ideas come from? What inspires and intrigues you?
Lopez: I find that some of the best ideas come from mundane situations. Take that scenario and add, “But what if . . .?”
For inspiration, I listen to heavy metal (because it’s hard to write about an angry zombie horde while you’re listening to Rhianna or Kenny G.).
Relf: Where have you been published? Upcoming publications?
Lopez: I got my first big break when Crowded Quarantine Publications decided to publish my zombie novella, Food for the Crows. That was four or five years ago. Since then, I’ve been published by SST Publications, Great Old Ones Publishing, Alban Lake Publishing, Night Horse Publishing House, Severed Press, and most recently, Fat-Lip Press.
Right now, I’m awaiting releases under Great Old Ones Publishing, Alban Lake, Fat-Lip Press, and Stitched Smile Publications.
Relf: What are you working on now?
Lopez: I’m currently in the middle of a novella called Hangover of the Apocalypse. You don’t need alcohol to have fun, but during the end of the world, it helps. (laughs)
Relf: What challenges have you faced as a writer and/or with a particular project? How did you meet them? What did you learn from these challenges and how did they make you a better writer?
Lopez: Challenges I’ve faced as a writer? That’s a pretty long list.
I think the biggest challenge is dedication. Some of my non-writer friends congratulate me when I release a new book, but many of them don’t know how hard it was to write, edit, and pitch.
Over the years, I’ve learned to look past rejection and view it as an opportunity to learn.
Relf: Are you currently a writing mentor? If so, what are your thoughts on mentoring?
Lopez: I’ve had a few people ask me for advice, but I’m not sure that qualifies as mentoring.
I think mentoring is great, though. I’ve certainly learned a lot from talented people who have been in the business longer than I have.
Relf: Who are your favorite characters? How did they come into being, and what do you love – or loathe – about them?
Lopez: Nick Sharpe, my main character in the novelette, No Grave Too Deep (SST Publications), has always been a personal favorite. I wanted to create a foul-mouthed, burnt-out version of Jason Bourne, so it was a pleasure creating Nick and watching his story unfold.
Another character I’m quite fond of is Clarence from Old School (Fat-Lip Press). Imagine a senior citizen with a seriously deadly mean streak and you pretty much have an idea what Clarence is like.
Lopez: Years ago, I joined an online writing group. This was before Facebook and Twitter. All the members were asked to submit a story they had written for the entire group to critique, and those guys tore my short story limb-from-limb. Although depressing, I believe the experience toughened me up.
Relf: I know our readers would love to hear about your networking, marketing, and promotional experiences – including tips.
Lopez: I’m relatively new to the business. I’m still learning as I go.
Aurelio Rico Lopez III hails from Iloilo City, Philippines. He is a self-diagnosed scribble junkie and an avid fan of all things spooky and weird. You can find him on Facebook and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.