It’s finally here! Can you stand it? Our first guest on Writing to Insanity! Let me tell you more about Estevan Vega.
As a young boy, Estevan Vega never really felt interested in the written word.
Far more fascinating things like comic book superheroes and sketching
fantastical beings caught his eye. But in the fifth grade, writing short essays
for a standoffish teacher ignited a fire that is still burning. Using his
imaginative father as a springboard for ideas, Vega set out to write a full
manuscript. His dream to become a published author came forth when he was just15
years old, releasing his first literary creation, Servant of the Realm,to the
world, a story about a teenager who sees the future deaths of those he loves and
tries to change it. “There is something therapeutic and natural about breathing
life into the mundane, or finding escape through odd characters and strange
concepts,” says Vega.
Vega’s newest release, The Scared Sin, is a dark who dunnit story. But I’ll let him explain it. Here is a Q&A with Estevan.
1) At a time when kids are concentrating on other things other than writing, what drove you to write a novel at 15?
I wanted to be cool, rich and famous. Looking back it kind of sounds ridiculous. I mean, that was a pretty cocky aspiration for an eleven year old to make. (That’s when I started writing.) But I was stubborn, and I had my mind made up. It was weird. I was really into drawing and sketching, and was actually descent at it. And then when I started getting A’s on writing assignments and my teacher began reading my stuff for the class, I was addicted. I was consumed with the notion that I had to be published and famous by age sixteen. I don’t know why it was sixteen, it just was. And Servant of the Realm came out when I was fifteen. Stubborn, punk-kid won.
2) Talking about age, you wrote on your blog that people tend to gravitate to the age when you wrote your first book. Does it ever get old to talk about such an accomplishment so early in life?
No, because if people are talking about my writing at all, I’m happy, even if they don’t have nice things to say (check out some Amazon comments for SOTR). I think a lot of people became attracted to my writing and gave it a shot out of pure curiosity, wondering what a fifteen year old kid could think was good writing, what he could conjure up and attempt to put out there. So, whether believer or skeptic, they usually picked it up and gave it a chance, which I’m grateful for. I think if my age comes up, it will give other, younger writers something to aspire to, you know? It’s possible, and they can do it, too, if they believe they can and stick with it.
3) What do you enjoy about writing? Walk us through your process.
I wouldn’t really say I have a process, per se. I usually get an idea, or disccuss one with my dad, then it stays in my head for months, or I write it down (which I don’t do often), and eventually it makes it to a sheet of paper, or stays floating in my mind’s cyberspace until the time when it wants to be written and when I can can write it.
My favorite part about writing is being able to be completely vulnerable without fear of what others might think. When you’re face to face with someone, you can’t always be honest with your feelings, emotions or beliefs. But behind a computer screen, in the subtext or dialog, you can be completely unashamed and vulnerable with the world, wear your heart on your sleeve and share your opinions with humanity. I love that, man.
4) You have two books under your belt, what have you learned about yourself as a writer through the years?
I still got a long ways to go before my work becomes a Great Gatsby or Catcher in the Rye. But someday.
5) Now you are in college. What are you studying? How do you fit writing into your college requirements?
Not very well. This past year, I often pushed aside other assignments and even social fun to edit the crap out of my next book Arson, being published later this fall. I can manage sometimes, but I kept getting so many rejection letters, that it was all I could think about. How can I make it better? What can I change that they didn’t like? It can really mess with your head and suck all your time up. But, I still did okay with classes, thank God. If I ever had to choose between writing and school, writing would win every time. Yet, paradoxically, if I didn’t go to school, I couldn’t be a better writer, so stuck I am.
6) Tell us about your latest venture, “The Sacred Sin”?
The Sacred Sin is a very dark story. The cover could tell you that at a glance. It’s a story about the darkness within all of us. We’ve got demons wrestling around us all the time, opposing forces seeking to bring us down or mess with our lives. But this story more deeply explores the darkness lurking inside of us, the person beneath our eyes, beneath our smiles and grimaces. It follows Jude Foster on a murder case that seems as unbelievable as him cheating death a year earlier. Each victim is engraved with a crooked crucifix, and there’s a blood-stained letter left behind by the serial killer at every crime scene. It’s up to Jude and his new partner to track down this sadistic madman…but they only have a week to do it.
7) The tag line to “The Sacred Sin” says: there is darkness inside us all. That’s an intriguing concept, most especially for a second novel. Why go down this road? What were some challenges that you faced writing this novel?
It wasn’t so much about what challenges I faced as a writer, but what challenges I faced as a human being. There are days when I look at us, human beings, and I marvel at how much we have achieved, what we are capable of, the good that we do to one another. It gives me hope. But I have also seen the evils we do to each other and to ourselves, and the darkness lurking underneath these hollow shells. There’s a constant war. I’ve never been one to shy away from what’s on my mind. Often times it upsets people, because I generally say exactly what I’m thinking, even if it makes them uncomfortable. As frail human beings, we struggle, we need help; but we try to end these wars on our own strength, and it’s often impossible. So that’s where The Sacred Sin begins, with a man at the end of his rope, consumed with cynicism, discontentment, and bitterness. He’s lonely and wounded and calloused, like so many others I have seen and met.
My books usually don’t just happen. I often look at what is opposing me, what is lurking underneath my eyes, behind my heart. The lust, the profane, the bitter, the murderer. Whether with our words or our deeds, we kill. When I write, it’s like I can see a storm raging in the distance, and it’s coming closer toward home and everything I know, and all I can do is try to warn everyone, even myself, if I’ll listen.
8) Both books—“Servant of the Realm” and “The Sacred Sin”—had detectives in them investigating something more sinister than the average crime. What about detectives and crime fascinates you and why use them as protagonists?
Growing up, I was really attracted to movies where a detective was on the search for something more than a criminal. Fallen and Se7en come to mind most vividly. Also, as I was coming up with concepts, I felt that the most natural way to investigate these mysterious occurrances I would be writing about is to have a detective as equally perplexed as I would be. I have also been very intrigued with the supernatural, that which cannot be neatly wrapped in a ribbon and sold with an explanation. I love incorporating the spiritual and the natural, perhaps one and the same, into my stories. It helps also keep it interesting for me telling the story.
9) Have you done any research for your characters, i.e. shadowing a detective?
You know, that would have been very fun and interesting, but no. I relied strictly on my imagination for these books. I mean, I researched a little, but Jude doesn’t always follow procedure, so I felt I didn’t have to be completely accurate. After all, the story’s about a demonic serial killer, so if people could suspend their disbelief for that, I hoped they could indulge an eighteen year old’s imagination on how things might go down with a renegade cop and a ghost killer.
10) You’re working on your third novel, A Boy Called Arson. How is it going? What can you tell us about it so far?
Sweet. Yeah, I’ve been working on that thing since the fall of 2006. I got the idea while visiting a college during my senior year. I was listening to a really cool song by the band Anberlin at the time, and I created Arson. Oh, by the way, I shortened the title to just Arson. It’s my most intimate and personal story. In short, it’s about a teenager who has the ability to create and manipulate fire during moments of fear and rage, and the strange girl who moves in next door, a girl who’d rather hide behind a hideous mask than to show the world, and Arson, what her face really looks like. There’s a lot more cool stuff, but I don’t want to give too much away.
I got a contract in April, and I’ll be working on it this summer with a new publisher. I’m stoked. Hopefully, Arson will be lighting up shelves later this fall.
11) Here’s your chance: Give us a spiel on why we should buy your book.
The Sacred Sin is really for anyone who wants to be a little creeped out, a little challenged, and a lot entertained. It’s very fast-paced, and the chapters are short, so you feel like you accomplished a lot if you’ve read a chapter or two. But seriously, it’s not the best thing out there, but it’s a really fun story, and it will keep you guessing until the end.
Well, there you have it! Some thoughtful insights to a young with author. I want to thank Estevan for joining us today and for answering our questions.
And if you want to continue following the tour, his next stop is tomorrow at Lara Rios’ blog at
To buy his book clck here: