Dennis Macaraeg is the author of the thriller novels Somewhere in the Shallow Sea and Somewhere in San Diego. Aside from writing, he also enjoys photography.
I met Mr. Macaraeg through Instagram and I was lucky to be a reviewer of his books! If you like thriller and adventure books, or if you have read his book, then you would want to read this interview!
When did you first realize that you wanted to be an author?
To tell you the truth, being an author was the farthest thing in my mind. I used to play guitar, and I would write my songs. Song lyrics are like mini stories in a way. I began writing short stories on the side and thought to myself, ‘hey, I can do this.’
Who are your author inspirations?
How long did it take you to write your first novel?
It took me about five years to write it. That was because I didn’t know what I was doing it first. When I thought about writing a novel, I attended a creative writing class at the local college and joined a read and critique group. In the creative writing class, we analyzed the classic novels. In my read and critique group, it was my turn to get critiqued by the other writers in the group.
Before writing it, have you thought about making it into a series?
Not at first. When I wrote ‘Somewhere in the Shallow Sea,’ it was a stand-alone novel. But when I was getting ready to write my second one, I liked the character I created named Danny Maglaya. I wanted to create a Filipino hero who saves the day.
Somewhere in the Shallow Sea took place in a province in the Philippines which is not so famous to tourists, what inspired you to write that?
When I was in my 20s, right after college, I went backpacking in the Philippines. I went to Northern Luzon and all the way to southern Mindanao.
I remember sitting in the sand on a small island and looking up at the big blue sky; the clearest and widest I have ever seen. I had a serendipitous moment. I realized that I would be writing about my experience one day.
What is the most challenging part in writing your novels?
The world we live in right now is extremely distracting; with so many things to do. There is the Internet, movies, and all kinds of things that we do every day.
On top of the list is finding the time to write.
My weekends are usually full of family activities.
Did you travel a lot to write your books? Or did the trivia in the books come from research and previous travels (even before you thought about writing a book)?
Fortunately, when I wrote ‘Somewhere in the Shallow Sea,’ I didn’t have to do much traveling because I already went to most the places that I described in the book; and for the places I didn’t go, I was already familiar with them. Also, growing up in the Philippines made it easy for me. I already know the culture. It’s beating in my heart in my every waking moment.
On my second book, ‘Somewhere in San Diego’, since this is my hometown. All I had to do was to drive to the places I described in my book to verify what I was writing.
When was the last time that you’ve been in the Philippines? What are the places that you traveled to?
The last time I was in the country was in 1993. I went to Baguio City, Olongapo City, Metro Manila, most of Luzon and Visayas. When I went to Mindanao, I was able to visit Dipolog City, Zamboanga, Jolo, and Tawi-Tawi.
Can you tell us what the inspiration behind the covers of your books is?
In the book ‘Somewhere in the Shallow Sea,’ I took the picture while I was sitting on the floor of an overwater bungalow.
In the book ‘Somewhere in San Diego,’ it is the skyline that is most recognizable in the downtown area.
Are you planning to write a third book for The Somewhere series?
Yes, of course, I am already working on it. It’s a big secret for now. Sorry…I can’t tell you the release date.
Any messages to your readers?
Thank you for your support!
If you like reading my books, I will try to write more of the same style that you enjoyed. As always, my books have action and adventure, a love story and of course, an added thriller.
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