Arnaldo Lopez Jr. has been employed by New York City Transit for twenty-eight years and was formerly employed as a dispatcher with the NYPD. Mr. Lopez is also a speaker and trainer, speaking on subjects as diverse as terrorism and customer service. He created the civilian counter-terrorism training program currently in use by New York City Transit and many other major public transportation agencies around the country.
As well as writing, Mr. Lopez is an artist and photographer, having sold several of his works over the years. As a writer he’s sold articles to Railway Age magazine, The Daily News magazine, Homeland Defense Journal, and Reptile & Amphibian magazine; scripts to Little Archie and Personality Comics; and short stories to Neo-Opsis magazine, Lost Souls e-zine, Nth Online magazine, Blood Moon magazine, and various other Sci-Fi and/or horror newsletters and fanzines. He was also editor of Offworld, a small science fiction magazine that was once chosen as a "Best Bet" by Sci-Fi television. Chickenhawk is his first novel.
Thanks for letting us interrogate you! Can you give us a go-for-the-gut answer as to why you wanted to be an author?
I love to write and I really, really want to see complete strangers reading and enjoying my work. I also hope to make some money at it!
Tell us (we won’t tell promise!) is it all it’s cracked up to be? I mean what are the perks and what are the demands?
Yes it is! I love the idea of having created something that others enjoy. The perks range from being recognized on the subway to being asked to speak at an event. The demands include everyone asking you to give them advice on their writing or constantly asking you when your next book is coming out.
Which route did you take – traditional or self-published – and can you give us the nitty gritty low down on what’s that like?
Self-publishing with Café Con Leche books (a subsidiary of Koehler Books) was a pleasure! Leticia Gomez was very helpful and supportive throughout the entire process.
Tell us for real what your family feels about you spending so much time getting your book written, polished, edited, formatted, published, what have you?
Unfortunately my family does feel forgotten and neglected when I’m in writing, polishing, etc. mode. They feel like 2nd class citizens in their own home! I just hope that I can make it up to them someday.
Are your plants actually still alive?
I love plants and at one time I had a mini-jungle growing in my enclosed porch! But when I get immersed in my writing the poor things are usually the first to suffer, and right now I just have legions of brown, crunchy things decorating that room.
In writing your book, how did you deal with the phone ringing, your family needing dinner or your boss calling you saying you’re late?
Actually, depending on the importance of the interruption I would just stop whatever I was working on and deal with it. Sometimes those interruptions turn out to be good news or something I can use in one of my stories.
What was the craziest or insane thing that happened to you in the book publishing process?
Well, I had a potential publisher tell me to change the ethnicity of my main protagonist because she insisted that most people identify Puerto Ricans as criminals rather than police officers…
How about the social networks? Which ones do you believe help and which ones do you wish you could avoid?
I believe that the old standbys of Facebook and Twitter help. I’d like to avoid Instagram and a couple of others that I can’t think of now.
Book sales. Don’t you just love them (or lack of?)? How are you making the sales happen for you?
Promotion and marketing are extremely important in creating demand for or boosting book sales, and that’s what I’m doing!
What is one thing you’d like to jump on the rooftop and scream about?
My runaway bestseller being made into a movie!
Okay, too much sugar for you today! Here’s a nice cup of Chamomile tea and come on over and sit under the cabana and watch the waves roll in. Now…can you tell us what you love about being a published author and how all those things above doesn’t matter because it’s all part of the whole scheme of things and you wouldn’t have it any other way?
I love seeing my hard work in print. I love holding the culmination of all my research, time and effort in my sweaty, little hands!