Author E.N. De Choudens, whom I call Efrain, connected with me some years ago when he fanned my Facebook page. We chatted about so many things, including books. I learned he wrote in numerous genres: erotica; poetry; science fiction; and horror.
Coming from a Spanish background, I knew English was not his first language, but that never stopped us from having the most charming conversations. You will discover that for yourself in his responses.
Please welcome Efrain and find out more about this dedicated and talented man.
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Buy Links: Amazon | Barnes and Noble
“A fascinating collection of dark poetry exploring the mind of a serial killer. A man judged by law to be mentally ill but not being of the same opinion.” ~Lisa Knight -Artifice Comic- UK~
Read more excellent reviews on Efrain’s site.
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Efrain, I’m thrilled to finally be able to feature you! Tell my readers how your best friend would describe you.
Complicated and a little crazy but an easy and loyal friend with an adventurous spirit, open minded and sincere.
Nice, are you a full time writer or do you have a day job?
I’m not a full time writer, at least not yet. I still have my day job in the biotechnological industry, more specifically in the research and development area. Usually my days are long. I wake up at 5:00 AM to edit until 6:30 AM, from there I prepare myself to work from 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM (I have a one hour commute). When I arrive home, I make dinner, study with the kids (my wife works from 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM). When I finish with the kids I do one hour of workout, later I read until my wife arrives so we can eat together, and finally I write from 10:00 PM to 12:00 AM. By Friday I’m exhausted , basically I am more a zombie than a human being. The problem with this is that one of my neighbors is part of “The zombie outbreak response team”. Seriously I need to buy a helmet for Fridays. Also I usually skip the writing part this day. For the weekends, I wake up at 6:00 for a one hour run, after that I edit, write or read, depending on the mood but just until the family wakes up. From there, it is family time.
I love your devotion to writing and your ability to fit it into your life. Do you have any great extravagances?
I love to be naked in the house, my wife and I did it all the time when we didn’t have kids, now we need to wait until they are at their grandparents’ house, so my greatest extravagance these days is chocolate. I’m addicted to chocolate (now you know why I need to exercise). Yes, I have like a millions books, but that doesn’t count as extravagance, because that is love.
Indeed. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
My hair, I would like an easier style, less curly so I can leave it a little longer before I become bald.
What profession other than your own would you like to try?
I would like to try anthropology because other cultures fascinate me, moderns and ancients. I like to learn about other societies, about their beliefs, religions, and their way of life. Humanity is very interesting.
What are some of your favorite curse words?
Ahhhh I like my Spanish ones. I should be polite and not say them here but I can’t resist, so here they are “Coño” and “Puñeta” meaning “pussy” and “masturbation” but I really love the Puerto Rican Spanish force on them, and of course, the most beloved “Fuck.”
Of course, ha! What do you consider your greatest accomplishment?
Sweet. What makes you laugh, and I mean, REALLY laugh?
Embarrassing moments, when I’m nervous is when I really laugh. I know you are going to remember this one very well and I know that I need to be ready for you. But good jokes works well too.
I love a good joke! As for your writing, where do you draw your inspiration from?
Everywhere, from a conversation, a picture, a book. I think that the secret is to spin the common things.
Great answer. What motivates you to write?
I have always liked to read and write. Since I can remember I was always attracted to books. I like to think that I was born with it, but probably the truth is that my mother slapped me with a book when I was a little boy and miraculously, I ended up loving them.
What is the best advice you’ve received as a writer?
If you want to write, you need to read. Don’t trust in a writer who doesn’t read because language is a changing entity, language is alive and if you don’t read and evolve, your writing is going to be obsolete.
So true, Efrain. Name a few of your favorite authors and books, and why you like them.
Arturo Perez-Reverte The Club Dumas is a dark mystery novel that plays with the occult, The Ninth Gate is the movie adaptation. Stephen King and Anne Rice, but too many titles here.
Alexandre Dumas The Count of Monte Christo. I’ve always been attracted to that novel for the patience of Edmund toward his vengeance. H. P. Lovecraft for the infinite universe of possibilities that he created. Gabriel Garcia Marques (In Evil Hours, Of Love and Other Demons) and Jorge Luis Borges (The Book of Imaginary Beings, Labyrinths) for the magic realism, Milan Kundera The Book of Laughter and Forgetting because he is insanely complicated.
And for erotica, my favorites are Megan Hart (Tempted, The Space Between Us) because she writes very fluently and interestingly and of course Eden Baylee, and I don’t say it because you are doing the interview. Ever since your first book I already told you I was fascinated with your writing.
You’re a sweetheart Efrain, thank you, and it’s a great list too.
How would you define your style of writing?
Most of the time as dark and obscure.
Do you outline, plot and structure, or do you just sit down and write?
For flash fiction I don’t plot but for long pieces I usually create a guideline:
At the beginning a hooking element
At one quarter of the work, a small twist
At the middle a major twist
At third quarter another small twist, no important character enters after this point.
All this trying to keep to the three act structure.
Yes, I know that well too. Are you working on another book now?
I’m editing the first draft of a horror/science fiction novel tentatively called Three Hours After Midnight: A Horror/Science Fiction Novel. The story begins when a global event is creating a black zone around the world, exactly three hours past midnight. No communication, no satellite, no airplanes, nothing can be obtained from the black zone. Everybody is scared awaiting 3 AM to see what is going to happen. The next day, the protagonist wakes up in an empty world. Everybody is missing with the exception of a few mummified bodies he found. No running water, no phones, no electric power, so eventually the food became bad, even the canned ones, and he is forced to move if he wants to survive. But something in the shadows watches him, manipulates his life until he discovers what it is and what happened to the world.
I also started an erotic fantasy novel tentatively called My Visit to the Court, a modern version of Brian Merriman’s poem “The Midnight Court.” The story has more liberal situations, different twists and new elements.
Wonderful projects! What is your best advice for new authors?
Go and do it. You do not need to rush, writing is a form of expression, is a form to tell something, to live our fantasies, it’s not a race. Unless you have a big contract with a serious deadline, take your time and don’t look to your side. Forget about the authors who say that he/she wrote three or four novels in a year. Your writing is your work, if you need a year or two for writing your novel, take that time, be sure that your final product is the best that you can do and do it at your pace. Eventually the speed will arrive, just don’t stop.
I love the way you answered this, Efrain. It’s a tough lesson to learn that we cannot compare ourselves to others when we write.
As for your book, A Quick Look to an Insane Mind, tell us more about it. Great cover, by the way. I couldn’t resist adding it here again.
It is a collection of horror and science fiction poetry. My book is a little different because I present the dark poetry through the eyes of a madman where I intercalate narration from this man, making the book basically a story in poetry. Plus the madman is a potential character for a complete new work.
Tell us about the road to publication.
The road took me around 8 months and six rejections before I found a house.
How did you celebrate when you finished your book?
A Guinness or wine watching an old classic horror or science fiction movie.
What has the reception been to it?
As expected, a modest one. Poetry is more for exposure than for big sales.
What is the best way for someone to support your book, aside from buying it?
Leaving a review is always a good way to support the book or talking about it to their friends.
Let’s finish with a fun lightning round!
Aside from people/pets, what is the ONE item you would save if your house was on fire? The box with the memory sticks with our family photos or the external hard drive with those photos, the first that I can grab.
Favorite place you’ve traveled to or would like to travel to? I really want to visit Easter Island during the Tapati Festival. And Prague.
Name a food you can eat everyday. Salmon.
Salty or sweet? Salty of course, unless I can use some wet cream.
Favorite season. Fall, I love the colors, the chilly weather, the candies, Halloween, Samhain, the day of the dead, Thanksgiving for the food and the sweets. Of course, fall in Maryland is not as cold as in Toronto.
I’m sure it’s not! Name something you cannot go a day without. My little black notebook and no, it is not for writing the phone number of a new girl, but to take notes of any new idea. I don’t like to use the notepad or cellphone.
Cat/dog/other pet? Cats, because they can do their business by themselves, I don’t need to walk them. But any stuffed animal absolutely wins the first place.
Favorite style of music? Power Metal and Hard Rock, European style. I grew up in the 80’s, so especially Scorpions, Doro, Micheal Kiske, Helloween, Gamma Ray.
The best gift you’ve ever received? I can’t tell, but believe me, it was very, very, very good.
Okay … now you have me curious!
Lastly, your most guilty pleasure. Food, all kinds of food. I like to taste new plates, greasy, not greasy, healthy, not healthy, strange or common. I like food, this is another reason for my exercise. I work out not too look good but to eat what I want. I know that some day the doctor is going to restrain my diet. Aging has a price, so before that occurs, I will continue enjoying all kinds of plates.
Sounds like a great plan, Efrain. Is there anything else you would like to share?
I want to express my most sincere gratitude for the opportunity to share with you and your readers. I wish you the best in your career.
And I wish for you the very same. 🙂 Readers, please connect to Efrain. He’s truly a lovely man to know.
I was born on the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico, where I enjoyed the blue sea, the nice sun and the good rum. If I was not practicing scuba diving, snorkeling, fishing, surfing, camping or doing any other outdoor activity, I was reading some horror or science fiction book or magazine.
I studied Marine Biology at the University of Puerto Rico and Creative Writing at Southern New Hampshire University. In addition to the outdoor activities, I have a fascination with antique cars, and I try to enjoy any classic auto-show or car museum. It is not uncommon to see a classic car in one of my stories. I can have in front of me a new model and an old model, and for sure my eyes are going for the old lady. I also love to travel, but who doesn’t?
During the past years, I have published various poems and short stories in different magazines, e-zinea, and anthologies. I like small press magazines. I found that these magazines actually have better stories than the big ones.
Coming from a Spanish culture, the English language is my major challenge in my writing, making every new acceptance a major personal success. Now I am living with my wife and my two kids in the state of Maryland missing the sun and the blue sea, but embracing new experiences and adventures.
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