You’re already an accomplished model, CEO, athlete and musician – what inspired you to write a young adult book series?
Long before I began my efforts as an entrepreneur, I had always loved to read and write fiction. The power of words enticed me. I wanted to use writing to connect with others while also bringing my imagination to life.
For those who haven’t read Zephyr The West Wind yet, can you tell us what the first book of the Chaos Chronicles is about?
The book follows Zephyr, a seemingly weak teenager living in a fictional isolated island village called Dentro. Everyone there hates him, aside from the chief, but they give no answers as to why. He loses his mother at a young age, and all he knows about his father is that he left Zephyr as a baby. Desperate to prove himself, Zephyr finally passes a trial that allows him to leave his village and fight in dangerous missions alongside another young teen, Leon. Very few know of the outside world, but Zephy and Leon must learn it soon if they want to save their village from destruction.
How does your main character Zephyr play into the overall messaging behind the books?
For me, Zephyr is the embodiment of the innocence, kindness and passion within us all. In the beginning, he lacks confidence, and it isn’t until lots of hard work and training that he unveils his potential in life or death situations. And later, when Zephyr makes his first friend and continues to make others, his resolve grows to protect those he cares about. The message is that in the end, no matter how bad things look, one should never give up.
Also, Leon and Zephyr are almost polar opposites (skill wise) for most of the book. Leon is a genius and learns quickly, while Zephyr seems to have to work 100 times harder to achieve the same feats; I wanted to press the notion that someone who works hard, is just as much a genius as someone who learns quickly, because they can be seen as geniuses of hard work.
How does your fascination and education in metaphysics influence your writing?
Metaphysics has always played a role in my life. From my own life philosophy to my thirst for knowledge and new experiences, I try to use my writing and the characters developed from it to light a fire in others. I want them to think beyond the normal standards of society. My characters look beyond the physical and material, and instead into the metaphysical, asking questions like, “Why did we end up here?” and “Why at this exact time?”
You speak six languages. Do you plan to create or use different languages in your stories?
Yes, I use all of the cultures connected to the languages I speak in my stories. (Nai, boró̱ na chri̱simopoií̱so̱ óles tis kalliérgeies pou syndéontai me tis gló̱sses pou miláo̱ se istoríes mou.) – Greek
Languages also have a big influence on names in my stories. (Idiomas también tienen una gran influencia sobre los nombres de mis novelas.) – Spanish
Also, yes, I love languages and would like to make a language sometime. (また、はい、私は言語が大好きで、いつか言語を作成したいと思います.) – Japanese
Who are some of your favorite authors?
J.K. Rowling, Jenny Nimmo (Charlie Bone Series), Christopher Paolini, Aristotle, Rick Riordan, C.S. Lewis and Jonathan Stroud are some of my favorites. They each create unique stories and characters and bring life-lessons to light while keeping you entertained.
How’d you choose the cover of the book? Most certainly some readers will go ga-ga over that hunky photo!
Funny – and true. I wanted a cover that would appeal to both gender audiences and still maintain a connection to the story. The front cover is one perspective of Zephyr at the end of the book, while the dragon gives the elements of fantasy and mythical creatures as a sample of what the story entails.
Speaking of hunks, you’re a model. Who have you posed for?
I have modeled since around the age of 8 for some magazines but mostly live at events hosted by different charity organizations, firefighters and clothing lines. It’s always an interesting day when I model in person during Black Friday for Abercrombie and others similar brands.
You’re also a teenaged CEO?! Tell us about your company and when you founded it.
I am the head of one large company known as RJTIO, which I founded at the age of 17 during my senior year of high school. The company is currently made up of three divisions, a web design and computer software branch, general tutoring, and an international charity called Forever Trust. I started my business originally with web design as a way of having some extra cash, and it took off from there!
How do you manage to go to college, run companies, do charity work and write?
I honestly don’t really know. A big part of it is organization, and I think even more so my desire and willpower to be able to choose work over hanging out with friends sometimes.
Tell us more about your charity and how people can help.
My charity is an international organization that focuses on two main actions: raising money through events (walks, for example) to support causes like breast cancer research and aid throughout the world, and we also utilize our connections to other organizations by taking money donated by benefactors and organizing it to make sure it is received by their specific or general charitable organizations or causes.
The best ways to help are by donating even just a moment of your time or any amount of money. Any effort helps us provide relief and support those in need around the world. For more information, please visit www.forevertrustworld.com and help the world by lending a hand.
Can you give us a sneak peek into book 2 of the series?