A COLLISION OF HISTORY AND FANTASY
TRIALS OF THE MIDDLE KINGDOM
I was born at the heart of Manila in 1990 and since the age of five have lived most of my life in New York City. Graduated with a degree in Multimedia Design & Development then decided to write books and combine written storytelling with digital art and drawing. I also enjoy martial arts and parkour.
Some of my passions are digital art, design, writing, and history -particularly Asian history and Chinese civilization. I thought, why not put it all together? The result was the trilogy in progress -Trials of the Middle Kingdom, this website, and all the artwork presented in it. There will be more to come.
Everything you want to know about my books and why I write them can be found in the interview posted by Asian Books Blog here:
Here is the pasted interview:
What inspired you to write a historical fantasy set in China?
History has always been one of my passions, along with the sci-fi and fantasy genres in movies, games, television, and books. Ancient and Imperial China has tremendous untapped potential for those genres. China has a very rich and long history that continues to amaze me. Chinese civilization is still largely a mystery to people outside China and I want to play a small role in helping people gain interest and some basics in the culture and history. There are not many historical and cultural Asian themes in popular fantasy books, movies, and TV shows, which tend to have European cultural themes, or are Eurocentric in nature. There is nothing wrong with that but there is so much more to offer the fantasy genre. This is why I wrote The Sage, the Swordsman and the Scholars. I decided to write the book I would want to read.
Why do you set this novel at the time of the Ming Dynasty?
The Ming Dynasty is one of China’s most powerful and wealthiest eras. It began after the Han people ended a century-long occupation by the Mongols, at a time when global interactions were accelerating. Trade, travel, and communications within Asian countries increased and tributary missions to the Emperor became frequent. The world was becoming more aware of itself. It’s truly a unique time in history. The Ming Dynasty was like its own little world with its own comings and goings and great events. It had many guilds, secret societies, and village associations to protect common folk from the exploitation of corrupt officials, wealthy merchants, and other powerful people. Vigilantes and a strong martial arts, or kung fu, culture also added colour to this dynasty. The timing of the arrival of the antagonists fit well with this period in history when many nations were sailing to other parts of the known world.
Can you give an overview of The Sage, the Swordsman, and the Scholars?
It tells of how an unlikely band of misfits come together to defend the Ming Dynasty against nonhuman invaders and the rise of the rebels of the Underworld who are rallying in favour of them. There is a genre of Chinese fiction called wuxia, which features itinerant warriors of ancient China, often depicted as capable of superhuman feats of martial arts. Mine is not necessarily a wuxia novel but it definitely was inspired by wuxia books and movies. I use elements familiar to mainstream fantasy such as the emergence of mythical creatures and the minor inclusion of certain elements of magic or spiritual powers. My novel has scenes of epic warfare, and martial arts style duels. Most wuxia novels are philosophically driven by Buddhism, neo-Confucianism or religious Taoism. My book takes a different approach: it borrows heavily from Mohism – a Chinese philosophy developed by the followers of the scholar Mozi, in ancient times.
Where did your inspiration for the characters come from?
They were all based on the kinds of people that existed in medieval China: the wandering vigilante, or swordsman; a Shaolin monk; a traveling merchant; a crazy pyrotechnician-turned weapons engineer, an outlaw; the teacher/ philosopher. The characters are clearly diverse in their backgrounds, abilities, goals, and personalities. Each of them represents the different aspects of my own personality. They include the “secretly angry and serious”, “the profound”, “the proud”, “the crazy”, “the happy-go-lucky”, and “the innocent”.
Are you a full-time writer?
No, I also spend much time in digital art and design. Perhaps in the future, I can release a short book of concept art and illustrations related to the books in my trilogy. I do my own artwork, including for my book trailer: