Actor and musician Joseph M Armarillas’ earliest memories are of constantly boarding planes, trains, and automobiles to meet a fascinating variety of characters while traveling with his show business parents. A longtime science fiction fan, Joseph began writing while in grammar school, and hasn’t looked back once.
A little about you, first. Do you have any hidden talents?
JMA: I grew up in a very artistic creative family. My mother and father were in show business. My mom, Margarita Lecuona, was a very well-known Cuban songwriter. She wrote Babalu, made famous by Desi Arnaz on the “I Love Lucy Show”. My dad was an Argentinian actor/singer/dancer. I began playing guitar and piano at a very young age. Seeing my father rehearse lines for his acting work got me involved in the world of theatre early on.
I’m a very good carpenter and I’ve designed and built several recording studios over the years. I was in the US Army for three years and served as a cook. I’ve loved cooking ever since and I must confess I’m a bit of a foodie. My dream is to one day have a big professional style kitchen where I can really cook to my heart’s content.
I had a successful career as a musician for thirty three years and I owned and operated a commercial recording studio for half of that time. I’m a member of SAG and AFTRA and work as a professional actor in film and TV. I’m featured on Lil’ Wayne’s latest video on his hit song “How To Love” from his new platinum album, appearing as a doctor. I’ve recently started hosting an interview show on YouTube, called LA Interview where I interview creative people in the entertainment industry and the arts. I look forward to interviewing self- published authors like myself.
Tell us about your book — what themes does it tackle?
JMA: Plantanimus “Awakening” is part one of the Plantanimus Trilogy. The story begins in the 27th century on the planet Mars, four hundred years after being settled by humans. The main character is Kelem Rogeston, a young Martian psychic and scientific genius who is the first member of the 6th Root Race, the next step in the evolution of mankind. Kelem learns to harness his amazing abilities and invents the n’time generator, a device that will carry mankind to the stars. Kelem struggles against The Phalanx, an evil organization from Earth that wants to steal the technology and conquer Mars. He designs an n’time ship and on its maiden voyage accidentally becomes stranded on Plantanimus, an alien planet where the Dreamers, an ancient race of sentient plant life, help him expand his abilities and teach him the true nature of consciousness.
The story deals with psychic phenomena, the true meaning of spirituality and consciousness, encounters with alien species one of which is a race of telepathic plants and the other a race of humanoid insect-like beings, called the Kren. Books # 2, (Return to Mars) and #3, (The Gulax War) deal with war, revolution and re-incarnation.
The inspiration for Plantanimus came from a dream that I had over three consecutive nights in the summer of 2000. I’ve always been able to “lucid dream”. It’s an ability that manifested itself early on in my childhood, so it was very easy for me to remember the arc of the story and write down the entire three part dream which eventually became the three books of the Trilogy.
Is there anything you want readers to take away from your writing?
JMA: A sense that we humans are so much more than the bodies we inhabit and that the universe is more exciting and mysterious than we can imagine.
That pain and suffering are often self-inflicted and that much of the misery that we humans experience could be easily avoided by simply opening our hearts and minds and letting go of our egos.
That prejudice, racism, ageism, gender and sexual discrimination are the stumbling blocks that keep humanity from truly advancing as a species.
Which other indie authors do you recommend or admire?
JMA: Sadly I haven’t read other independent author’s books yet, but I intend to remedy that shortcoming soon. I’m a member of Authors Learning Center and I already have several authors whose books I intend to read.
I plan to begin a series of interviews with those individuals on my show, LA Interview. I do a lot of research on the people that I interview and before interviewing these self-published authors I will be reading their books in advance.
Lastly, what question should I have asked you, and why?
JMA: 1. What was your journey as a self-published author like?
2. What made you choose self-publishing instead of going with an established publishing house?
3. What if any advice would you give to others that want to self-publish a book?
I would have liked for you to ask those questions so that I could impart what little wisdom and experience I’ve gathered in the last few months as I began to investigate the world of self-publishing, and how and why I reached the decisions I made, and what my experience was like.
Self-publishing is usually a faster way to put your book out there as opposed to the traditional route of signing with an established publisher, but it is not an instant thing. The first thing I recommend for first timers like me is to make sure that your book is as good as it can possibly be. Don’t be afraid to re-write or change things. You’d be surprised how many mistakes and inconsistencies you will find in your manuscript if you take the time to put it away for a week or two, before proof-reading the entire thing. Do it as many times and you can stand it, even if you think that you’ve caught all the mistakes in grammar and spelling.
Even now that my book has been published, I still found a couple of things that I’ll have to correct during the next printing! Be organized and be prepared. Read/research as much information as you can digest regarding self–publishing companies, marketing etc. Thousands of books are published every month and yours is just one of many competing for that market share of business in whatever genre you write in. If you can afford it, join an organization like Authors Learning Center or IBPA, (Independent Book Publisher’s Association) or any of the many organizations out there that exist to help and support independent, self-published authors.
I’m organized and I spend a tremendous amount of time taking care of business. Like most creative people, (particularly writers!) I’ve been known to be a bit of a procrastinator, but over the years I’ve become very disciplined and learned that one must approach writing and business in equal measure, particularly if you’re self-publishing. I schedule a certain amount of hours of the day for writing and another portion of my day for promotion and marketing.