(The Gatekeeper’s Son #1)
Publication date: October 1st 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Junya’s grandfather is a billionaire who keeps the secret to his success hidden in a heavily guarded safe.
His mother is a martial artist who wields a razor-sharp katana—and seems to read his mind.
And a mysterious girl in a Japanese school uniform can knock him over—literally—with just a look.
What do they know that he doesn’t?
Junya’s life takes a dangerous turn on his sixteenth birthday, when someone sets out to destroy not only the family’s business empire—the one that he’s set to inherit—but Junya himself. He’s fighting for his life, and doesn’t know who to trust.
What has his family been keeping from him?
Junya’s journey takes him from the narrow streets of San Francisco to Japan, and through hidden portals to the top of the ancient Japanese Izumo Shinto shrine, to places where death and violence are a way of life. And in a mystical world he’s never imagined, he finds his true destiny.
- Your book, The Gatekeeper’s Son, takes place in two very different worlds and cultures, and you manage to slide from one into the other without any problem – even gracefully. How do you do it?
Japan is so different from any other place I’ve visited; it was as if I was on a different planet! On my first visit, I just walked around in awe. Huge glass towers, bullet trains and so many people! But then, you’d round a corner and find yourself in the quiet garden of a 800 year old Buddhist temple. The ultra-modern and the ancient co-exist everywhere so for me, it’s not hard to describe an ancient world beside a modern San Francisco.
- Like most writers, I noticed on your website that you also work a full-time job. (Yes, we all need to eat and pay bills.) Do you have any secrets for juggling both at once?
Finding time is a constant struggle. With a busy family and a job, writing often ends up at the bottom of a long to-do list. I keep my laptop with me and when I’m waiting for my kids at music class or sports practice, I write. Then, of course, there is the late-night writing sessions that leave me bleary-eyed at work the next day. That’s all I can do until this becomes a full-time gig.
- What is your favorite part about writing?
I love it when I lose myself in a scene and become so engrossed that my fingers can’t keep up with the story. It’s also fascinating how my characters surprise me by doing something unexpected. They take on a life of their own.
- And what would you rather eat worms than do?
I would happily chomp worms to avoid anything involving heights. “Want to bungee jump or go skydiving?” Chomp, chomp.
- Many authors were avid readers during their childhood. What were you favorite books while growing up?
I read like crazy! I can’t really remember specific books but I know there a lot of mysteries and comic books. In my teens, I read a wide variety of novels but westerns were my mainstay.
- What are you reading write now?
- When you aren’t writing, what do you like to do?
Sleep? No, there are many beaches near my home and we try to get to them as much as we can, rain or shine. And of course, reading is one of my favorite things to do.
I know it’s a boring answer but you need to write, write, write. We get better by doing. As we say in martial arts, 10,000 times to master something, a lifetime to perfect it. You need to read a lot too; you can’t write if you don’t. And read a broad range of genres, not just the type you want to write about. Inspiration for a space fantasy story could come from a Jane Austen novel.
I get paid to daydream.
- Why did you decide to write Young Adult books instead of Adult books?
I think there’s something really exciting about the teenage years. Sure, a lot of things sucked too but it’s a time when you have your whole life ahead of you and anything is possible. I find that YA has a more optimistic outlook than adult books where people are usually ‘set’ in a restricted set of circumstances. Also, I found many YA books I read were somewhat condescending to the readers. Teens are a smart group and there isn’t any topic/subject that needs to be ‘dumbed down’ for them and I wanted to write for them. And lastly, I write the books I would’ve liked to read when I was a teenager.
- Where did the ideas come from for The Gatekeeper’s Son?
Any book has innumerable sources of inspiration but the event that first made the idea ‘click’ was on one of my first trips to Japan. My father-in-law took me to an archeological site where may un-before seen ancient artifacts were discovered. The story was, a work-crew cutting a new road through a bamboo forest noticed something bronze and shiny poking up through the soil. When archaeologists began to dig, they discovered hundreds of bronze swords, laying in rows. There was no doubt they were buried long ago but why? The archaeologists couldn’t find any obvious reason–it was the first finding of such a thing. My first reaction when I saw them was, maybe they weren’t buried for use on This Side. Maybe they were left for others in another dimension -The Other Side.
- When did you first start writing?
I started in high school.
- Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
You’re asking the first one I remember? It was for socials 11. We were reading Macbeth and we had to write a modern version. I’d just finished reading The Godfather and I wrote the Macbeth saga as a gangster story. I got an A+ and the teacher read it to the class!
- What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I love seeing what my characters will do next. It’s way more fun than watching TV or movies.
- What are you working on next?
The Gatekeeper’s Son II. Junya and Shoko will spend far more time on ‘the other side’ in this book. There will be more violence, more characters and Junya and Shoko are going to get ‘intimate’ in this book (definitely PG14 stuff). VIsit my website (www.crfladmark.com)if you want more details of the publication date.
- What motivated you to become an indie author?
The current model of traditional publishing is irrelevant to today’s market. They want what’s already successful––another vampire book is safer than a new idea because they know vampire books sell. I had a story to tell and the best way to get it to you was to start my own publishing company.
- Describe your desk
Uncluttered and neat, 2 large flatscreen monitors and a great view of the mountains and trees.
- What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
I have to. I still need a full-time job. Can you help me with that so I have more time to write?
- What is your writing process?
I try to plan ahead with a storyboard and I also use an outline. As I write, I update the outline with a short summary of each chapter to keep myself on-track. However, the creative process can’t be re-planned too much. I let the story evolve organically within the structure and change things as I need to.
- What’s the best way to write a story?
Know what the ending will be before you start (Although sometimes I don’t)
- How do you approach cover design?
I go into it already knowing what I want then my amazing designer, Pete Garceau, brings it into reality. (The Gatekeeper’s Son won a silver medal for the cover design at the 2015 Benjamin Franklin book awards).
- What do you read for pleasure?
Lots of different genres, from young adult to literature. Everything I read provides inspiration. You can’t write if you don’t read.
- What do your fans mean to you?
My fans are everything! Without readers, I’m not an author. It’s as simple as that. Every time I see a book sales report, I feel so thankful that so many people are interested in what I have to say. It’s pretty cool!
- Signed copy of The Gatekeeper’s Son