Interview with debut author Justin Ordoñez

Today’s guest is debut novelist Justin Ordoñez. He’s doing a virtual book tour with Goddess Fish Promotions for his novel, Sykosa, Part I: Junior Year.

Along with the interview, there’s a $50 Amazon gift card up for grabs at the end of the tour to one randomly drawn commentor. If you want to be entered to win, leave your e-mail address with your comment below. And, you can increase your chances of winning by leaving comments on other tour stops. (Feel free to leave a comment without your e-mail, too!)
Bio:
Justin
Ordoñez was born in Spain, raised in the mid-west, and currently lives in
Seattle. He’s thirty years old, almost graduated from the University of
Washington, and prefers to wait until TV shows come out on DVD so he can watch
them in one-shot while playing iPad games. Sykosa is his debut novel.
Welcome, Justin. Please tell
us about your current release.
Sure, this
is my favorite blurb about the book:
Sykosa
(that’s “sy”-as-in-“my” ko-sa) is a sixteen-year-old girl
trying to reclaim her identity after an act of violence shatters her life and
the life of her friends. This process is complicated by her best friend, Niko,
a hyper-ambitious, type-A personality who has started to war with other girls for
social supremacy of their school, a prestigious preparatory academy in the
Pacific Northwest of the United States. To compensate, Sykosa has decided to
fall in love with her new boyfriend, Tom, who was involved in the act of
violence. Propelled by survivor guilt, an anxiety disorder, and her hunger for
Tom and his charms, Sykosa attends a weekend-long, unchaperoned party at Niko’s
posh vacation cottage, where she will finally confront Niko on their
friendship, her indecision about her friends and their involvement in the act
of violence, and she will make the biggest decision of her life—whether or not
she wants to lose her virginity to Tom.
What
inspired you to write this book?
A mixture
of things. This was a book that really came together oddly. One of the first
versions originated when I was in high school. I was struck one day by this
character named “Sykosa.” At the time, I knew I wasn’t the writer I needed to
be to handle this character, so I sort of let her sit in the back of my head.
It wasn’t long before an English teacher asked me to come up with one goal for
improvement as a writer, then pursue it for a quarter. My goal? To write women
better, sort of trying to put myself on a path towards Sykosa. The challenge
stuck with me long beyond that quarter. Over the years, I started writing
Sykosa in some shorter stories, then in just snippets of dialogue, and in
various unfinished stages of the book. As you can see, there was no light bulb
moment of inspiration, just a lot of smaller moments as the time went by.

Excerpt:

She
knows her parents are debating any number of topics. Maybe they want to talk to
her about sex. Or what love is really like. Or, if they feel bold, they want to
explain how life, unlike what they’ve presented thus far, is a cold and lonely
place, and they’re a tad worried she’s learned this too soon. Possibly they
want to get really specific. They want to tell her how sometimes bad things
happen and, yes, it brings people together, but it can also create attachments
that, while not bad, are not by such automatically positive. And they fear this
has happened to her, and that this boy, Tom, who seemed like an alright guy
when he picked her up, may be inadvertently, and by no fault of his own,
prolonging her pain and intensifying her suffering.
None
of it gets said.
They
think: She’s only sixteen. Kids don’t feel things that serious, and I’m
projecting my emotions on her. I shouldn’t put these thoughts in her head.
Besides, other than the occasional second, she seems happy, and okay with life,
so let her be a kid and…
The problem’s I’m no “kid.”
What
exciting story are you working on next?
I’m working
on Part II for Sykosa. I’m hoping it’ll be easier to write than Part I, but
knowing the kind of things I expect from myself, that might be easier said than
done. We’ll see, I’m trying to have fun with it.
When did
you first consider yourself a writer?
Hm, I’m not
sure I currently think of myself as a writer. Even if people ask me what I do,
or what my hobbies are, I don’t self-identify as a “writer.” I simply state, “I
write.” I use the verb. I’m not sure I understand what a writer is, lol. It
feels like 20 or 30 different jobs. But, I did realize pretty young that I was
interested in these 20 or 30 different jobs, as young as elementary school.
Do you
write full-time? If so, what’s your work day like? If not, what do you do other
than write and how do you find time to write?
I do not
write as a full time job, or as a means of employment, but I do some aspect of
it for at least five or six hours in my day. It monopolizes my free time,
without a doubt. When I’m not writing, I’m usually working out, as I like to
get my body moving, or I’m playing a game or two on my iPad or iPhone. I might
be taking a nap!
What would
you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I write
throughout the day. A lot of people write just in the morning, or they set
aside three hours and that’s what they do. I just write throughout the day.
I’ll stop doing this or that and knock out a few hundred words, then stop and
do something else, then knock out a few hundred more words. If I’m super
focused, I can do those stretches where you write or eight or nine hours
straight, but a lot of times, I pad my time in between writing with other work
or errands or exercise.
As a child,
what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to
be a writer, but that’s lame to say for this interview. I also wanted to be
Peter Jennings or Dan Marino. I actually used to dress up in my Sunday clothes
and I’d carry my Dad’s old briefcase to the recliner. I’d kneel on my knees, put
my papers on the cushion and stare into the recliner like it was a TV camera
and deliver the news. I also had wild fantasies of being an NFL quarterback,
but I never had the athletic talent to even pretend that was a possibility. It
was something I always knew would never happen.
Anything
additional you want to share with the readers?
I would! I
have a blog, http://sykosa.wordpress.com,
and I’m paying much more attention to it. I’m putting up old guest posts and
I’m adding funny pictures with captions and things. I’m trying to make it a far
cooler, funner place. Please stop by and take a look!
You can
also find Sykosa, the novel on
Amazon. Feel free to connect with me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter, too. 

Excellent, thanks, Justin. 

Readers, don’t forget about the giveaway! A $50 Amazon gift card is going to go to one randomly drawn commentor on this virtual book tour. If you want to be entered to win, leave your e-mail address with your comment. And, you can increase your chances of winning by leaving comments on other tour stops

8 thoughts on “Interview with debut author Justin Ordoñez

  1. MomJane says:

    Your story sounds really good. It is rare for a male to write a great story about a female heroine, but it sounds as though you have captured the essence of the young lady.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I like that concept of "I write" as a verb, rather than being a writer. Good luck with the release!

    eai(at)stanfordalumni(dot)org

  3. Justin Ordonez says:

    Thanks all! Sorry to be slow in responded! Got stuck in the hospital for a day or so, but NO EXCUSES!! lol, 😉

    I hope you all choose to give Sykosa a chance and see for yourself if I managed to pull it up!

    I'm glad someone sympathized with me wanting to be Dan Marino!

  4. Veronika says:

    Great interview! I can't wait to read the book and I'm glad you're working on the second book already.
    verusbognar (at) gmail (dot) com

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