Good Staurday morning, world! I don't normally blog on Saturdays, but today we have an incredible guest through the Authors Promoting Authors program: Lloyd Kaneko!
Good morning, Lloyd! You mentioned you wanted some coffee to start with, so here you go. As well, I'm giving you some birthday cake since tomorrow is your birthday! Enjoy! :)
I looked at your website and I am beyond impressed! You have a
tremendous writing background. Have you always wanted to write or was
there a specific moment or event that made you decide you wanted to
Thank you for the kind words on the website! I just gave it a facelift and a makeover just a few days ago. I used a new template keeping with my publishing goals of going green and friendly with the environment. By self-publishing and using print-on-demand, I hope to minimize waste and use only what is needed. Thus spare some trees and the forest.
As for me always wanting to write, that would be true. I was inspired to become a writer from creative writing exercises that we had in high school English. After I graduated from high school, I entered into community college and majored in engineering but was frustrated because of the repetitive attempts I experienced in mathematics and science. My advisor there suggested I’d take up technical writing. When I transferred to Cal State Long Beach, the only course that was offered in technical writing was through the English Department and via the Creative Writing program. What luck! I had the opportunity to chase after a degree in something I wanted since high school. While at Long Beach, I also took weekend courses on screenwriting through the Writers Guild of America, West. My original ambition was to be a screenwriter.
So I received my degree in Creative Writing, but it took well over 30 years until I could once again use the “creative” portion of the degree. For a better part of my life, I primarily wrote technical and training manuals for computer systems and also for management and organizational development. After I graduated from Long Beach, I did work for a while as a journalist and wrote some news and magazine articles. So, generally speaking, my writing was always active.
It was about four years ago that I actually started to use the creative aspects of my degree. That’s when I took my old screenplay project out. But since the story went south on me, I decided to write the book which established the framework and structure for the screenplay. It was actually a blessing in disguise, recent events in politics, society and personal experiences helped my story become even better and these were the driving motivators behind Kami Jin. Last September, the book was released in e-book format as an experiment. Now, in March 2010, the book is published through Wordclay in paperback.
Your book, Kami Jin,
has an incredible story line. It's very interesting and unique. Yet, at the same time, I almost feel as though I'm reading something akin to 1984, just as an example. Have you always been drawn to Sci Fi, or was this a new way of challenging yourself as a writer? To go along with that, do you tend to read
Science Fiction more than other genres?
I’ve always been attracted to Sci-Fi, but it wasn’t my first choice at the bookstores. My primary choices were typically inspirational and political commentary – especially those that had something to say about the former Bush Administration. In fact, the Sci-Fi elements of the book came purely on its own. I originally didn’t plan on it, but it just seemed like an interesting twist to the story and I had fun doing it. Especially making things seem like they were practically facts (real). It wasn’t necessarily challenging, it was like a whole new door opened up in my creative writing world. That being said, I would say that my tendency to read Science Fiction are just as equal as other genres on the market. There are some great stuff out there right now and I’m not talking about the works published by major traditional publishing houses.
Your website states, "All proceeds of Kami Jin will go to First Day
Homeless Coalition of Whittier, California." This, to me, has got to
be one of the most incredible gestures I have ever seen. It is more than touching to see someone give so freely back to their community. Could you please share with us more about your decision to give so generously?
Of course. My book’s protagonist was homeless after being displaced as a college professor by automation (droids/robots) and eventually forced into a homeless facility. The character somewhat mirrors myself. I was laid off from my last employer and was out of a job for over four years. Being jobless is practically one step from being homeless. I have suffered to cruelty of society when you are out of a job; when you are down to your last penny; you can’t get a line of credit; and you wonder where your next dollar is going to come from. Eventually, I was put on permanent disability, but I was close enough for retirement, so the administrative judge reviewing my Social Security case declared me permanently disabled until my retirement age at 65. At least now, I am getting Social Security Disability Benefits. Lauren, I consider myself very fortunate to at least receive a small income through Social Security. There are millions, especially homeless women and children, who aren’t so fortunate. First Day Homeless Coalition of Whittier is doing an excellent job for the homeless and has received many accolades in Los Angeles County. Their program is especially commendable because they are not just a shelter for the homeless. They have a working motto that states:
“Give a man a fish, you feed him for a day…Teach a man to fish – you feed him for a lifetime…”
This facility goes beyond providing a shelter for the homeless and homeless families. The actually provide programs and assistance in transitioning the people back into society – something that will last a lifetime. I’ve been extremely blessed that I have had the opportunity to write the book. But I’ll be even more satisfied personally if I can be of greater help to those truly in need.
“Kami” in Japanese means “paper.” “Jin” means “person or people.” One of the major themes in the book is that the protagonist develops the impression that government, society, and Corporate RNA (formerly the United States), has come to the point of treating its citizens like paper people – or “disposables.” With workers massively being displaced by droids and robots in every walk of life, unemployment rises to 95%. Families are forced out of their homes unmercifully in the name of profit mongering companies. Shantytowns rise at an alarming rate in all major metropolitan cities in the country. People literally “liter” the streets. As the protagonist says in the book, “we are not like paper, to be thrown away like trash…”
Ok, I have to bring up your singing. I studied Belle Canto for a few
years and I simply adore the opera. How long have you been singing?
I started singing with a church choir as a Tenor just over 27 years ago. About 15 years ago, they discovered that I had an extreme case of spinal stenosis and cervical spine protrusion. I had cervical spine surgery where I received a donor bone graft which fused into C3-C6 of my neck and stabilized with a titanium plate and screws.
During this process, my right vocal cord was paralyzed. When I got my voice back after receiving fat injection into the vocal cords, I my singing voice changed from a tenor to bass.
Around that time, I auditioned for a masterworks chorale here in Whittier, Chorale Bel Canto, and have performed a lot of major choral works by Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Vaughan Williams, Benjamin Benjamin Britten, Rachmaninoff, and others just to name a few. I have performed in Carnegie Hall under the direction of maestro John Rutter and in the Hollywood Bowl. I’m noted in my ensemble for singing my pieces memorized and without using the score to major works. (But then, when you memorize your own works of writing, memorization of choral works becomes easy. Especially when you have grown up performing music by memory).
About two years ago, I received a Montgomery Thyroplasty implant for my paralyzed vocal cord, which pushed me back up to a tenor for a season. The exactly one year after that operation, I was in the hospital once again for additional cervical spine surgery only to take the old hardware out and put new hardware in at C5-C7 due to new disk protrusion.
Once again, I lost my voice. However, the quality of my voice has not returned to singing. I’ve been out for the entire season and I’m expected to undergo at least two more operations. One for another cervical spine operation to relieve disk protrusion at C2-C3 and possibly to re-innervate the vocal cord nerve or replace the implant. All of this depending on the findings of the imaging studies that will take place in April.
Nevertheless, when I had my most recent operation last July for another disk
prolapse between C6-C7, I used the therapeutic in writing to recover and
finish Kami Jin.
"If you don't have a clear picture of your destination and a precise map to
you won't even begin the trip." -- Steven K. Scott, Simple Steps to
Do you find that other artistic ventures like music help you with your
writing and overall creativity?
Definitely. I, like you, enjoy a wide spectrum of music to help keep me centered on my writing. I especially enjoy classical and opera. But occasionally, I will change to bluegrass, country, western, new age, soft rock, heavy metal. And, depending on the mood I’m in, unlike you, I might turn on some rap, but not too often.
Could you please give us the synopsis of Kami Jin? For anyone who hasn't yet heard, this is one of the most interesting and intriguing story lines ever!
Kami Jin is a tale of two worlds according to the diary of A. Gordon Sakata II of the 23rd Century. Gordon records an era of despair and misery on Earth as life in the Republic of North America includes a jobless rate of 95%. People are homeless: poverty and starvation is global and governments around the world are ineffective in solving the crisis. Corporations have taken over governments, taken away the basic rights of citizens such as freedom of speech and expression and have replaced many people with droids and robots. Citizens of nations who once lived comfortably in homes, now struggle to survive in streets lined with cardboard condos. When war breaks out, Earth finally meets its doom, but through the miracle of time travel, it is given a second chance. Gordon is saved and taken to a utopian planet mirroring Earth’s orbit. There, inhabitants are treated equally: poverty, homelessness and starvation are non-existent, and everyone is paid $25-million annually in universal life credits by the Universe, regardless of social status. The quality of health care and education is next to none. Inhabitants’ brains are so advanced that they travel by merely willing themselves to their destination, rather than using conventional vehicles, yet, they do not manufacture any weapons of any kind. The world is one planet, one nation. Gordon vows to right a sinking ship – at least provide hope for the disadvantaged of the world. He returns to Earth to fulfill his life’s promise.
Homeless and victimized by corporate greed, Gordon Sakata, a former displaced college professor, is replaced by droids, separated from his family and sent to a concentration camp at the outbreak of war over oil. After being rescued from imprisonment and taken to a utopian planet, he inherits the throne of Emperor and returns to Earth to fulfill his life's promise -- to eliminate poverty, homelessness and starvation from the planet.
Is there anything in particular that you would like people to know
about you as a writer?
I guess I would like the readers to know that I always try to put my best foot forward when I’m writing. And that includes having my works reviewed and re-reviewed before the manuscript was published. Some writers fortunate that they have access to staff editors who are able to perform superior full-book line edits of their works before it hits the printing presses. Other writers, like myself, have to pay to have their works edited. In both scenarios, there will be cases where things will fall though the cracks. While I was writing the screenplay based on this novel, I noted many things that were over looked several times over and Kami Jin was reviewed by three editors plus myself. Of course, I have seen many times when errors get by through the editors of the Los Angeles Times, and they do this daily. So, even though there may be some flaws here and there, please understand that every attempt was made to provide you with the best manuscript humanly possible. With the key phrase “humanly possible.”
My last question of the day is: I see you're also on Farmville. Would you be my neighbor? :)
Of course. But I should forewarn you, I’ve taken a temporary active leave off the farm to come into the big city to promote the book. I’m only going to the farm to tend to the critters and prune the trees. I haven’t planted any crops for awhile – it’s been taking too much of my writing time! That plus playing Farkle in between chapters!
Here are some links for the amazing Mr. Kaneko!
Lloyd Kaneko, Writer
Business E-Mail: mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
Book E-Mail: mailto:email@example.com
Business Website: http://www.lloyd.kaneko.com
Book Marketing Network: http://www.bookmarket.ning.com/profile/LloydKaneko
By the way, here's that Jack and Coke for ya, too! ;)