Many of you may be familiar with author Dennis Macaraeg and his debut novel Somewhere in the Shallow Sea. You can find my review here. I am pleased to have an opportunity to discuss his writing and introduce his latest novel Somewhere in San Diego. Of course I also had to ask about his favorite tea!
Getting to Know More About Dennis & His Work
As your sequel is releasing could you describe the inspiration behind your work for those who are unfamiliar with your books? Please feel free to share anything you would like readers to know about your work.
Perhaps my greatest inspiration in writing the sequel is undoubtedly my readers. At first, I wanted to work on a different novel, but when my readers kept asking me when my next book is coming out, the answer was a no-brainer. I had to write a sequel. I set a goal to finish the first draft within a year, and I did it considering it took me close to five years to write my first novel.
My books, which I call ‘the Somewhere Series’ has a recurring theme. The first part has the element of danger. The bad guys are chasing Danny and the person he’s with. They must get from point A to B without getting captured. The second part is a love story. Usually, it’s about past lovers joined during an extraordinary circumstance. They must work together to save a life of a friend, and of course, during the ordeal, their old feelings for each other begins to surface.
Many people think of their past love, and this book delivers that memory.
Essentially, my book is a love story while running for their lives.
Is writing something that you have always enjoyed the thought of doing or did you have other childhood goals/dreams?
To tell you the truth, I wasn’t interested reading storybooks when I was in elementary school. In high school, reading novels didn’t interest me. I don’t know why? Maybe because the required readings and the books read in the classroom felt as if they were forced down on the students. I remember spending hours in the library reading the Encyclopedia, though. I read lots of informational books when I was growing up.
Then when I was around 13 years old, my dad brought home an electric typewriter. I immediately liked the sound of the hammer as it strikes the paper on the roller. One night, out of the blue, I don’t know what I was thinking, I began typing for fun. An hour later, I typed my first story. It’s about an old tree. It’s on my website for everyone to read. Let’s say it’s a story of adventure.
That’s when my interest in writing began. I thought to myself that writers are those super talented people like Ernest Hemmingway or Mark Twain. For me, becoming a writer was like wanting to become an astronaut. It was nearly impossible to achieve. I don’t have chops to get it done.
How does an aspiring writer even begin the first sentence of a book and end it with about 50,000 words in between?
How do you balance the commitment of writing a book with the demands of daily life?
Balancing my day is one of the hardest parts of yearning to be a novelist. I’ve read that some writers woke up at 4:00 a.m., wrote for 2-3 hours before going to work. I’m not a morning person, so I write at night when everything is quiet, and I hear the crickets in the backyard.
My weekends are usually busy. I have a big family. There is always a birthday party, a wedding, or some special event to go. I get up around 7:00 a.m. and start writing until ideas stop flowing out of my brain.
What is the most difficult part of the writing process for you?
This is the easiest question to answer. Unfortunately, it is also the problem for most writers.
It is simply—what am I going to write?
When I first conceive a story in my head, I get excited. It’s like having a massive crush on the girl sitting next to you in high school. A week later, after summoning all your courage, you would ask her to go to the school dance. This is the terrifying part because if she said no, then you would be crushed and you have a lot of explaining to do with your buddies. If she said yes you would be elated but this brings out another set of problems. You need something to wear, and you need to borrow your parent’s car.
This is where the story is outlined, and the research begins.
Then the night of the big dance arrive. She is in her pink dress while you are in your rented tuxedo.
This is the part where the final draft is finished and sent to the printer.
Also, the scariest and the most exciting part.
Will she kiss you on the dance floor while a thousand balloons fall from the ceiling, and all your friends are wide eyed and looking at you as you live the moment of high school bliss?
Or is it where the record skip and everyone on the dance floor screech to a halt?
Do you have any unfinished books lying around or any “works in progress” that are not a part of your current series?
Yes. It is a love story loosely based on my college experience. It’s about falling in love. Not knowing what to do after graduation. Choosing between growing up or continuing with a carefree lifestyle.
If you could recommend only one book that you feel everyone should read, what would it be and why?
The Greatest Salesman in the World by Og Mandino.
This book is about perseverance and motivating yourself to keep reaching for your goal. It is a short book. I read it again and again.
How has writing affected your life?
Writing is the fuel that keeps my passion for living and exploring the world around me. It’s like falling in love and being loved. The other person does everything to make you happy, and in return, you’ll do everything to match his or her kindness.
Writing is the same.
My day is never boring because I’m always thinking of a new plot or researching about it.
Last but not least, can you share something about yourself that we do not know?
I earned my pilot’s license when I was in my early twenties. I dreamt of becoming an airline pilot. In fact, there is a scene in the book where Danny, the main character is flying a two-seater single-engine open cockpit airplane.
About Dennis Macaraeg
Dennis Macaraeg is a fiction writer who lives in San Diego. He graduated from San Diego State University. When he is not writing, he enjoys photography.
Somewhere in San Diego
A thriller about best friends, scientific data, hired guns and a harrowing race with a past lover to stay alive.
Marine biologist Danny Maglaya must meet with his best friend and fellow scientist Blake Mason to upload the data demanded as ransom by the kidnappers of Blake’s fiancée. The task might have been simple, but every time the two scientists try to rendezvous, two contract assassins show up. With Danny and Blake’s phones hacked and each move they make monitored, the only way to survive is to outwit the men wanting to eliminate them. With an ingenious but risky solution, Danny teams up with his ex-lover to piece together secrets that only she, Danny and Blake know. A series of perilous events follows as Danny and his old flame, Valerie, race through San Diego County, solving clues about Blake’s whereabouts and about their possible future together. Will their love for each other be the catalyst for success or will the bitter pain of their breakup be a recipe for disaster?