Every once in a while, something, or in this case someone, gives me pause to genuinely smile. The other day, it was Albert Oon. I was wandering through the Smashwords horror listings, perusing titles and artwork when I came across a cover illustration similar to these (above). It was Albert Oon’s latest release, Desecrating Infestation, just published on March 6th of this year (2019). I was immediately reminded of myself. The artwork, the stories, all took me right back to my early days, back when I would spend far more time writing in my head while I worked scenes out with colored pencils. So, wanting to know more, I reached out to Albert and asked if he would agree to an interview.
Albert consented to let me pick his brain a little bit, and answered a few questions for me. I was thinking my efforts might garner this highly creative young person some exposure, but more importantly, I wanted to share, as I feel most writers–particularly my age and older–might smile as I did. I think a majority of writers can relate to those days when we first started writing with a good deal of nostalgia. We furiously scribbled down words in our notebooks instead of paying attention to our history lectures, continuously breaking pencil lead and making repeated trips to the pencil sharpener on the wall; many of us, I’m sure, worked out scenes drawing sketches on any scrap of paper we could find; and so many of us secretly thanked our typing teachers when we tried banging out those horrid, mistake-ridden, white-out blotched first drafts (which, for me, were typically the only drafts) on our mom’s ancient Uniroyal typewriter. But we were doing it. We were writing!
We didn’t have the resources kids have today–computers, the internet, Indie publishing, etc. Albert Oon has it, and it’s inspiring to know he’s taking advantage of it. And, by that I mean this young author has been busy! An incredibly prolific writer, he has already published almost sixty stories on Smashwords, with word counts averaging between 4K and 9K! Try doing the math on that! He has several web sites, and he even makes videos! Where does he find the time? The energy? The drive? You’ve got to respect that. He certainly has my admiration. Anyway, please let me introduce Albert Oon.
- Tell me a little bit about yourself. How old are you? Where do you live? Do you own a cat?
- I am twenty-two years old, but I turn twenty-three this March (March 25this my birthday). I live in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, most of the time, but I’m with my parents in Pennsauken, New Jersey if I need to go to work. No, I do not own a cat.
- So, how old were you when you first started writing?
- I was seventeen and in high school when I first started writing stories and drawing for them.
- What inspired you to take up the pen?
- My inspiration for writing first came from a dream I had that is part of a series of dreams. Check out my Society’s Monsters stories to read more about them. Anyways, my girlfriend, Alicia (from my dreams), told me I should become a writer since I knew so much about stories (particularly video game, movie, and TV show stories). This was to get me in college and to do something besides being a car mechanic in the dream series. My second inspiration came from the previous idea where I know a lot about stories and what makes them entertaining and informative to read. My parents wanted me to go to college and I eventually found an interest in writing stories.
- Your stories seem to be a blend of several genres, including science-fiction, fantasy, and horror. Do you know where your story is headed when you begin to write, or does the story itself lead the way?
- Before I start to write a story, I have a general idea of the major events and point of the story. I use this general format to begin writing and then everything else falls into place.
- Most writers tend to be voracious readers. Do you read a lot? Do you have a favorite genre? Do you have a favorite author?
- I do read a lot of manga, comics, and Christian/Catholic theology books. My shelves are filled with dozens of them. Horror is probably my favorite genre, and I don’t have a favorite author, but I do like a lot of authors. I just can’t pick one that’s my favorite.
- You mentioned college in your Smashwords interview. Are you still in school? What is your major? Have you taken, or will you take, any English, writing, or literature classes?
- Yes, I’m still in school. I’m in my 5thyear as a senior. My major is Adult and Organizational Development. I have taken a creative writing, script writing, and fiction writing class in college.
- I really enjoy your artwork. What comes first? The story in pictures, or the story in words?
- The stories and the pictures come together. When I imagine a story, I also imagine what it’s going to look like.
- You’re a Christian, particularly a Catholic. Do you ever feel conflict between what you want to write and your Christian values? That is, are there any subjects you consider to be taboo? On the other paw, do you ever try to infuse your beliefs into your work?
- I never feel a conflict between my writing and Christian/Catholic values. What I’ve found is that no subject is too taboo to talk about as long as you handle it with care and respect. My beliefs are infused with my stories to the soul. They might not always show themselves in every story. They’re either in-between the lines or front in center depending on the story.
- If you could ask questions of a favorite writer, artist, or illustrator, what would those be? Who would you ask?
- I’d probably ask them what their inspirations, writing process, goals, and motives were for writing. I would probably ask G.K. Chesterton because he is one of my favorite Catholic writers.
- Finally, what would you like your readers to know about you? About your work?
- I would like my readers to know that I’m a devout Catholic, but also a sinner who makes mistakes. I would also like to tell them that I don’t write stories for myself. Even though I like the stories I write, I never write stories for me only. If I wanted the stories for myself, I would just keep them in my head so I wouldn’t have to go through the trouble of writing and drawing for them. Every story I write and publish is for everyone to read. They are my gifts from me to you because I want to share the gift I have. I don’t want to keep it to myself. That’s why I write and publish so much. What’s the use of a story if it’s just kept to one person?
- My readers should know that my work is out there for their enjoyment and to possibly interest them in learning more about what they believe. The obviously more Catholic stories are there to interest them in looking into the Catholic Church. What kind of Catholic would I be if I didn’t share with them the good news of Christ?
- Oh, yeah… Cats or dogs?
- If I want elegance, I’d pick cats. If I want a guard, I’d pick a dog. I don’t have a preference. For me, it’s like asking me if I want tea or coffee.
I like Albert. He’s straight forward, honest, and determined. But, most of all, he’s imaginative. He’s having fun. And, isn’t that what writing’s all about? Isn’t that what we were doing when we started out?
Albert Oon: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/Gimjuie