Happy new year to all of you! It’s 2020 now, and I, personally, have a lot of hope and a positive outlook on the year ahead of us! That includes Imagine Magazine! So I am honored to bring you guys our new featured author, Talo Segura, and his story “Milo”! I truly enjoyed this story, and I’m happy to welcome Talo to the Imagine team!
Here is our interview! Be sure to send feedback and comments whenever you get the chance! And look for “Milo” to have a new chapter every month this year! Cool? Enjoy!
Comicality: – Welcome to Imagine! We’re happy to have you here with us, and I’m loving the talent that I see with your story here. So let me start off by asking…reading this story, right off the bat, it felt very personal to you as an author. If I may ask, where did the idea for this story come from? And how close is it to any personal experiences that you’ve had in the past? Or is this just an original idea that you wanted to explore on your own?
Talo Segura: – Great question! Where did the inspiration come from? It’s a mixture, you take ideas and add in experiences and that kind of makes the basis for a good story. I took inspiration from a great film, but I don’t want to say too much because it could be a bit of a spoiler, let’s just say it was about how parents could react to discovering their son (or daughter) might be gay. I added in some personal experiences, long hot summers in the south of France, which (hopefully) evokes a certain atmosphere, I wanted the reader to feel they were there. The story plot and idea were original, aided by a little research to get the facts straight.
Comicality: – You said that this was your very first effort at writing a novel. Can you tell us what made you actually sit down and do it? What motivated you to write “Milo”, and put it out there for people to see?
Talo Segura: – I should make a confession (of sorts), I wrote something else, but Milo is my first book, first story I finished. I started writing encouraged by someone I met, I can’t say that the very first effort was a success, more disastrous. I still can’t decide about it, but that’s another story (no pun intended!).
Along the way, I suddenly told myself, “I CAN write,” and set out to write the book that became Milo. A story I constructed with a beginning, a middle, and an end, and which I got edited and had feedback to help put together.
What motivated me? Inspiration and a desire to prove something to myself. To produce a finished novel, or novella, because it’s short, but then it’s best to be realistic when you start. A short book completed is better than a long one you don’t quite manage.
Comicality: – Congratulations on that then! Hehehe! So, if you had to describe your story (Without giving away any spoilers, of course), what would you say that it was about? What would you say to draw readers in, and what would you want them to take away from the story when they’re finished reading it from beginning to end?
Talo Segura: – It isn’t easy to answer these questions. Let’s say I would very much like readers to be pulled into the story, to want to discover what happens, to be surprised by unexpected twists and turns, but to come away at the end pleased and a little sorry it had finished. Without giving anything away the book is a little like one of those European movies you might have seen. There is no huge world shattering event (it’s not a block buster with special effects) it is one summer and two families confronting what life throws at them.
Comicality: – I can definitely see that. There seems to be a focus on the family life and surrounding characters in your story instead of just the protagonist and his thoughts about being gay. I’m interested in what you were thinking and what led you to make the choices you made to develop the story and build it up the way you did. Can you give us some insight on your thought process there?
Talo Segura: – Lots of stories with a gay theme can swing the pendulum too far in the opposite direction. The desire to create and read about our hero who (perhaps) like us, is or might be gay, can lead to places which don’t look too much like the real world. That’s fine for fantasy and sci-fi, but this book was a real life drama, so I wanted the gay theme to be set as very much a part of everybody’s life. Which means the whole world isn’t gay and there might even be other issues people have to confront. I believe that in setting a balance rooted in reality it can make for a more powerful exposition of coming to terms with and accepting being gay, as part of everyday normality. At least, that is what I hope for.
Comicality: – So, you feel that having a wide and diverse cast of characters and personalities makes for a more realistic representation of the real world when it comes to your writing? Care to elaborate?
Talo Segura: – A diverse cast of characters can make for interesting reading, but I don’t mean to say you need a large number, more that the people that populate the story reflect reality. I’m talking about real life drama, a slice of life, and I mean an author might want to consider that there are men and women (boys and girls), all sorts of inbetweens and lots of diversity out there. I would simply like writers to think about that, the mother of the boy coming out, what is she thinking, why does she feel so bad?
It is not easy to get inside the heads of your characters, but I think sometimes the parents (as an example) of the boy coming to terms with maybe being gay can get overlooked. What are their feelings? My own mother blamed herself, I don’t judge her for that, I tried to understand how she felt. She thought she may have been responsible, done something wrong. She did nothing at all to make me gay, but she was playing out all her own fears and worries at the same time as I was trying to come out and stop hiding.
I think giving a little time to develop supporting characters personalities makes them more real and in doing so heightens the drama. It is not only all about the gay son coming out, but at the same time his mother and father are coming to terms. It’s why in Milo there is more going on than simply what is happening for the main character.
Comicality: – Very true, indeed. I noticed that you have a real flair for description and paint beautiful pictures with your use of words and metaphor in your story. It’s really cool to see such passion in someone’s writing. Where does that come from? How do you find the words, and apply them so effectively to the scenarios that you create?
Talo Segura: – I’m a little embarrassed by your praise. What can I say? Before ever trying to write I have been (still am) an avid reader. I love the English language (all variations) and I love books that not only tell a great story, but do so in a way that makes you enjoy reading the words. A story, for me, has three important aspects, the plot and storylines, the characters that people it, and the places where it takes place. The author has to try to bring alive those characters and evoke the imagination of the reader who conjures up the images in their head. It isn’t easy to do and I had lots of trying to get it right, I’m not sure I can match it in another book.
Comicality: – Hehehe, well you’ve got to at least try, right? Now that you’ve gotten the writing bug, and a loyal fanbase reading your work, I would assume that you might try to follow up with a sophomore story some time in the near future. Do you have any ideas floating around as to what your next story might be about? Or is that on the back burner for now?
Talo Segura: – They say that the second book is the hardest to write, I do have ideas floating around. Actually, more concrete than ideas, I have started writing, however it is probably best not to say too much. I am currently getting feedback to get another point of view, a second opinion. My dilemma is around the type of story, let me explain: Milo falls within a certain genre, would I disappoint readers with something different? I will let you in on a secret, which may be something a number of would be authors share, I am insecure. The hardest step to take is to publish what you have written and wait to see if it is read.
Comicality: – “Milo” has many moments of sensual tension in the story, some a bit awkward, and some very arousing. How do you go about creating moments like these, enticing the reader, all while keeping your big secrets until later chapters?
Talo Segura: – An interesting question and one which touches on how the author writes a book. Do you have an idea, sit down and start writing, see where it takes you, or do you plan it all out?
I have an idea and an outline of where the story is going, then I plan out the detail before writing. Not all the way to the end, but enough to see the road ahead. Then I pause to consider one very important aspect, how do I bring it all together and end it. I may not have the ending in detail, but I do work it out before I get there.
Writing in this way allows scenes that hint, mis-direct, and little things that get slipped in. It’s like a jigsaw, you have to create all the pieces and fit them together, you get to choose which parts you build in what order, but they all come together at the end to reveal the whole picture, or almost, you are allowed a few loose ends!
Comicality: – Sweet! Well, would you like to give your audience any links to this story, any of your other projects, or to your social media? How can new fans of your work contact you if they want to send you feedback or ask any questions?
Talo Segura: – Like any writer who publishes a story for free, the only recompense is a word from a reader. I always reply and am very happy to answer questions. I love feedback (even if it’s to say you didn’t like it). I count this as my first book, I don’t have anything else to really show you. It took me two years to get this together, which is a long time for a little book, but I had failures as well as help along the way. You can write me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Comicality: – One last question. What advice would you give to any other writers who may be just starting out, or are looking for a reason to create a story of their own? Maybe you inspired them to give it a shot.
Talo Segura: – From my own experience you have to be a reader who loves reading before you attempt to be an author. You have to accept (not easy) that your first efforts might be – not that good. You have to try and get some help and feedback that you can use to develop your skill.
And try to keep in mind that simply because most people are literate and know how to write does not mean everyone is an instant author. Everyone (most) know how to talk, can even sing along with music, but that doesn’t make you a singer!
It takes effort, practice, perseverance, and a little help. But don’t be discouraged, try your hand, you got to try it to see if it works, same with everything. And remember this: everyone of you is good at something, it’s waiting there for you to discover.
Comicality: – Thank you so much for the interview and your insight on how you put this series together and for giving us hope for another entertaining tale in the future. All of you guys can check out Talo Segura’s story right here in Imagine Magazine, chapter by chapter! And feel free to write in and give him your thoughts at the email above! K? Enjoy! And welcome to the asylum, Talo! >:)