Meet the Author! A Conversation with Daniel Santos – Author of “Life is Inevitable”

Meet the Author! A Conversation with Daniel Santos – Author of “Life is Inevitable” 175 142 Reader Views Kids

Life is Inevitable

Daniel Santos
Independently Published (2022)
ISBN: 979-8986616216

Daniel Santos is a twenty-one-year young adult author, born in Manila, Philippines, and immigrated to the U.S at a very young age. He’s spent most of his life living in the West while occasionally flying home to visit his family. When he’s not listening to music, playing video games or just doing things people of his age engage in, he’s writing. Daniel’s writing usually consists of fantasy fiction that delves into the paranormal. He likes to focus on characterization and letting the reader get to know his characters. He genuinely believes that we often learn more from fictional characters than we do from real ones. Life is Inevitable is his debut novel.

Hi Daniel, welcome to Reader Views! Tell us about your writing journey. (When did you start writing? Have you always wanted to be an author? What made you decide to actually sit down and write a book?)

I started writing in my first year of elementary school, but I wouldn’t say I liked it. Initially, I only wrote to understand the English language, and every minute of it was painful to me. For example, when my mom taught me how to read, I’d start kicking and crying every time she pulled out a flashcard. However, I eventually came to appreciate literature once I was fluent enough to understand it. But even with my infatuation with writing, I didn’t entertain the thought of becoming an author. It wasn’t until my friend passed away that I decided to start writing fiction. I tried writing in a journal, but I felt like I didn’t express my thoughts and emotions enough, so I went ahead and wrote stories based on how I felt. As time passed and I recovered from her death, I started to lose interest in writing, but when I got a job in the emergency department, my stress ended up being more than I could handle. Eventually, I met a patient who reminded me of my friend, so the first draft of Life is Inevitable came to mind, and I decided to turn that into a novel.

What is Life is Inevitable about?

Life is Inevitable Centers around two high school students, Brennan and Olivia. Brennan is a hot-headed and impulsive boy who is angry at the world and lashes out at everyone and everything. Over time his anger escalates until it takes over him, and he sees suicide as his only escape. On the other hand, there’s Olivia, who is the complete opposite of him. She’s very timid and tends to shrink in times of stress. However, eventually, she’s pushed to the edge and, just like Brennan, sees suicide as her only option. After experiencing all the trauma, abuse, and neglect, they end their lives on the same day, and after death, they are brought to a train station. In this station, the dead wait to receive tickets that take them to heaven or Hell, but God decides to give Brennan and Olivia a second chance. With the angel, Haniel, acting as his messenger, they are given tickets that will take them back to their bodies, but in a rush to get back, they accidentally switch their tickets and end up taking over each other’s lives. Now, in the world of the living, they must undo the mistake that was made while experiencing the world from the other person’s perspective.

What was your inspiration behind the storyline?

The storyline spawned from the event of my friend’s death. She took her life a month before I graduated high school, and I always wondered, “what if I could have her back?” That question is what started the entire story. At first, the novel was going in a very different direction, but over time, I learned that things were going on in her life that I didn’t know about. I did more digging into it by talking to her friends, looking at her social media photos, rereading old text messages, and conversing with her mom. That’s when I realized how badly her living conditions were, which turned the novel into a story about abuse, neglect, and trauma.

How long did it take you to write the story?

It took me two years to write the story, but technically you could argue that it took five years, but I wouldn’t count that because I stopped working on it at some point. It wasn’t until last year that I decided to turn my manuscript into a novel.

Tell us about Brennan and Olivia. What motivates your young protagonists?

Brennan is motivated by the people around him. Whether they have a negative or a positive impact, he’s motivated based on how he is treated.

Olivia acts on her own, according to her thoughts and emotions. She’s very reflective, thinks about everything that takes place, and makes her judgments and decisions based on that.

You have a great cast of characters. What was your biggest challenge in writing your characters?

My biggest challenge in writing my characters was giving them their unique personalities. In the end, I’d say I was successful in doing that, but I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t challenging. I reread many old passages of the novel. I revised new ones to ensure the characters stayed true to how they were depicted so that their personalities were consistent or changed at a reasonable pace in a realistic way.

Which of the characters do you relate to the most and why?

The character I relate to most is Brennan. This is mainly because, in high school, I would lash out at others, just like he did. Whenever I look back on those days, I deeply regret how I treated my schoolmates and teachers. Now, I realize that everyone has issues that aren’t always visible on the surface and always need to be considered.

You cover some heavy issue in your book. Which part of your story did you have the hardest time writing?

The hardest part of writing the book was deciding how I would depict these serious issues. I knew that I wanted to show it realistically despite the supernatural elements. Many novels and films will show aspects of depression and suicide, but I find that many are very over-the-top, so I made sure to show those things more subtly. Some graphic scenes forced me to heavily consider how I would write them. I care about my readers, so I initially wanted to censor myself to avoid disturbing them. Eventually, I decided not to do that because I believe every challenging topic, such as violence and mental illness, should be depicted in a “ true way.” What I mean by this is that they need to be shown for what they really are. These graphic scenes are disturbing and brutal because that’s what they’re like in real life. I wanted to show people how brutal these acts are without shying away from them or pushing an agenda. Therefore, I opted to write every horrible act the same way you’d see them happen in real life.

What is the most important message you hope readers take away from Life is Inevitable?

A message I want readers to remember is that if you believe there’s no one to help you, then you’re either looking in the wrong places, or you’re not looking at all. As I grew up, I knew many teens who thought they had to bear their burdens all by themselves because no one wanted to help them, but they were always wrong. If you can’t find someone to help you, whether it’s among friends or family, then look somewhere else. Some people will even assume that no one wants to help, but they never even try searching for help. Help is always there. Sometimes it’s in plain sight, and sometimes it’s doing a great job hiding from you, but you must remember there’s always support when you need it.

How much research did you need to do for your book and what type of research did you do?

I had to do quite a bit of research for writing this book, and most of it involved talking to old friends and acquaintances about their experiences with mental health. For some of them, it was hard because it was like opening an old wound, but many of them were open to talking with me. I even spoke to schoolmates who I wasn’t on good terms with, but we managed to set aside our grudges to write a book that will help teenagers going through a crisis. Other than that, interviewing counselors specializing in depression and PTSD was very valuable, as well as reading commercial and scholarly articles.

What do you like to read and which authors have inspired your own writing?

I love reading young adult novels, especially those that are very character driven. J.D Salinger is my favorite author, and his novel Catcher in the Rye was very relatable to me. Since I was very emotionally involved in the story, that’s when I wanted to write about young protagonist. I loved his focus on the main character, Holden Caulfield, and seeing him go through his struggles as a young adult cemented my passion for the genre.

What do you like to do outside of writing?

Other than writing, I like making music, video editing, and playing video games. I used to make music on my YouTube channel. It was in the Spoken Word category, which combined poetry with an instrumental track. I added my own touch to it by making it sound more like a punk rock song with things such as voice tears, growls, and screams. They’re all private since I’m transitioning into dedicating my YouTube channel to my books, but one day I might give them a spot on the channel again. As for my video editing hobby, I used to make AMVs (Anime Music Videos). These were put on an old YouTube Channel that I don’t use anymore. I even entered one of my videos into several contests, with one of them taking place at a convention. I garnered a decent following, and one of my subscribers even recognized me by my username when I walked around a panel of other editors. When it comes to playing video games, it’s always been a hobby of mine since I was a child, and when I got around to making my own computer, I got even more involved in it. Many older people will scoff at my passion for games, but I’d argue that it’s a valuable piece of media that should be appreciated. Many games are plot-heavy with worlds and characters that can teach us valuable lessons. Not only that, but it even brings people together by allowing them an activity to do while interacting with each other.

What are your plans for future writing projects? What are you working on now?

My current writing project is the next book in the Life is Inevitable series. The story should end there, and then I’ll focus on turning some of my short stories into full-length novels.

Based on your debut experience, what advice can you give aspiring authors?

Authors should know that publishing a book is like participating in a marathon. It’s a long process that takes a lot of determination to see through to the end, and the farther into the process you get, the greater the temptation to give up becomes.

Is there anything else you’d like to add today?

I want to thank my friends who invited me to their discord server. Talking to them kept me sane while I tried to figure out how to solve each problem that came with the publishing process.





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