January 11, 2009
JOHN REYER AFAMASAGA
author of "GUIOPERA"
Today, Tyler R. Tichelaar of Superior Book Productions is joined again by John Reyer Afamasaga. John previously joined me to discuss his novel “John Lazoo.” Today, he will enlighten us upon his latest work, the “GUIOPERA” which he has recently published chapter by chapter online.
Tyler: Welcome, John. I’m pleased to interview you today because the “GUIOPERA” is really quite a unique book, bringing together many of the elements from your previous novels, “John Lazoo,” “WIPE,” and “Illicit Blade of Grass.” Do you consider it as a continuation or sequel of those works or is it a work that stands on its own?
John: It’s a round up of the LMLA-ink Trilogy – “John Lazoo,” “WIPE” and “Illicit Blade of Grass.” All ideas are from John Lazoo and all written by Metofeaz Litigatti, produced and directed by Jon Le Mac and John Reyer Afamasaga. Or it’s an introduction to the Trilogy for someone who has just joined in.
Tyler: What I most admire about the “GUIOPERA” and all your books is how you play with the notions of reality and how you connect everything together from one book to the next, even including yourself, a real person, as a character in the books, so my next question is along those lines. What’s real and what’s not real to you?
John: There’s two parts to the answer to your question, Tyler. Part one is about the “Actual” relevant to the input or what you get back from what you outlay or put in. And secondly is how you feel about something, or how the outcome, or “Actual” makes you feel. Nothing else is relevant.
Tyler: In your mind did you answer my question that I just asked you, or was it your intention to confuse the issue?
John: Neither, I was just proving my point. The fact you want me to quantify something as debatable as reality, based on my idea of what’s real, which you have no idea of what that is, only allows you and I to judge for ourselves the experience of asking that question and answering it. To put it simply, there is only the ACT and the experiencing of the ACT.
Tyler: So are you saying the truth doesn’t matter anymore?
John: I’m saying we live in such a fabricated world now, due to diminished values of laws, both of man and even the laws of science, which now can be falsified by new developments. That man really does believe that he is God. And with this idea in his head, and with the wealth at his fingertips, yeah I’d say the truth really doesn’t matter to the common man who relies upon capitalism and all its mechanisms to get through his life.
Tyler: You say new developments have falsified old laws. It sounds as if you are scared of the future?
John: Not at all, it depends on what drives the new developments. Whether its money, or it’s for the good of mankind. More people are dying from AIDS, war or malnutrition, and supposedly we are more technologically, scientifically and scholastically advanced than any other man in the cyclic history of mankind. Where’s the balance in that lopsided equation, ah?
Tyler: John, you have a tendency to write yourself as a character into your writing. Are you in character as we speak, or are you speaking from the common man’s perspective?
John: I’m very common Tyler; I have an Internet connection like you and a lot of the people in the developed countries. I feel I have an opportunity to voice views which may resonate with what other people feel, which may equate to some sort of consciousness.
Tyler: You didn’t answer the question, John. Are you in character, or are you the guy who is responsible for putting together etfiction and the “GUIOPERA”?
John: We all put the work together.
Tyler: We? When you say “we” I take it you mean LMLA-ink?
Tyler: LMLA-ink of course is an acronym for four of your characters who collaborate, so which of those characters do you identify with more—Lazoo, Metofeaz, Le Mac or yourself?
John: Probably Metofeaz, to be honest. He’s just a writer, and that’s all I want to be.
Tyler: Is there any difference at all between you, the flesh and blood Afamasaga, and Afamasaga as he appears in the works?
John: I’m not allowed to kill people in my everyday life. But seriously, it’s Metofeaz Litigatti who I found the easiest character to be. No acting required; maybe a bit of rearranging to my environment. Lazoo is also there, when times are tough, and Le Mac comes out when things are going well and I want to be a little extravagant. And Afamasaga manages all four of them, so the switches are seamless and I don’t seem to have any disorder of any kind that is recognizable… And I remember what each of them does, says and writes, whoever I maybe at the time…
Tyler: In the “GUIOPERA,” Lazoo says of you, “I knew Afamasaga when he was a diaper dwelling devil, with disregard for authority; hell he’d poop before, after and while he congested corn flakes.” How did he find out this information about you? When your characters demean you like that, don’t you just want to use your power as an author to kill them off?
John: It wasn’t Lazoo who said that. It was JPS over the phone. John Lazoo holds the phone as he laughs at the senile character in Chapter 27, PART 3, paragraph 8.
Tyler: John, you frequently refer to yourself as “the Samoan” and “the Pacifican” in the novels, and in the “GUIOPERA” you state that at age five you hadn’t learned English. Are you willing to tell us anything about your mysterious past? Is this information true?
John: I’m pretty much full Samoan with a splash of German blood. I live in the Pacific.
Tyler: You carry on about the evils of capitalism and Lazoo seems to detest Vanity. Yet, one gets the feeling that you are trying to build products for Hollywood, the epitome of the things you seem to hate.
John: Yeah, it is a bit confusing isn’t it? I mean, I write about four characters who are all me, three of them called me. And yes I would love to work in Hollywood, but that’s just a dream. And a dream is worth very little; as they say, “Dreams are free,” ah?
Tyler: About the “GUIOPERA.” Before we discuss the plot and characters, I want to ask, since you put down the evils of capitalism, does technology also fall under that category?
John: I don’t actually put capitalism down. I just make observations from what I see. Technology is an enabler.
Tyler: John, I ask about technology specifically because of the medium in which you write. I understand you write in short paragraphs and short chapters to benefit the online or modern, gadget-using reader. Will you explain more about that? Do you equate yourself with writers of flash fiction?
John: I’ve never read flash fiction. The style the “GUIOPERA” is written in takes, a bit from the style that I write novels in, and relies on the same way a person processes information when they watch a movie or TV. I think of these two aspects and then I apply a technique we (LMLA-ink) designed called Le Mac’s Action Sequencing, to produce the GUIOPERA styling.
Tyler: In terms of your plots and characters, what do you think is the greatest difficulty in reading your material from the viewpoint of your readers?
John: In the “GUIOPERA,” it would be that the reader has to think back to the last time I was writing the scene I’m carrying on. But, once it’s finished, then hopefully they can experience it again by reading it from start to end. In fact, I hope that the reader can have 2 experiences: 1 – reading the “dailies” so to speak and 2 – reading the movie, once it’s complete.
Tyler: What do you hope readers will most appreciate about your writing?
John: Hopefully the reader will appreciate the story as a whole and love a few of the characters. I don’t rate myself as a writer per se.
Tyler: If not a writer, what do you call your craft then?
John: I wanted to be an ideas guy, you know—the guy who does the least work and gets credit for “Creating.” So I started creating concepts by presenting them in a project document type manner, you know; overview, definitions and so on. Then I got frustrated at not being able to find people to “Realize” the “Visualization” of the “Concept” i.e. writers, artists and film directors. So, I began to write them in what I felt would be an ideal format that stems multiple markets—eBooks, to Mobile products, to movie ideas and I ended up with the “GUIOPERA,” which is tailored for a browser.
Tyler: Okay. Let’s get into the details of the “GUIOPERA.” First of all, where does that title come from?
John: GUI = Graphical User Interface, OPERA.
Tyler: I accused you above of intentionally trying to confuse the question I asked you about reality. In the “GUIOPERA,” do you also want to confuse the reader? You constantly switch scenes and you must have at least two dozen characters you want us to keep track of. Although your style is different, I’m reminded of film noir where the viewer gets snatches of scenes, none of which make sense until the end. Would you say your style is similar in that manner, especially in the first half or so of the “GUIOPERA”?
John: I write what I would like to see in a movie, in the form of a novel. Yes, that could be confusing to someone who’s just joined in.
Tyler: In your earlier novels, while you played with reality, the characters appeared to be “real” but in this novel, we learn a secret about the characters. Are you able to reveal that secret here, or will you give us an explanation of why you decided to play with reality to such an extent?
John: What secret are you talking about Tyler? It’s obviously are very good one; I don’t even know it. Oh, excuse me; I’m sorry; that the characters are entities? I talked about it a couple of times in “WIPE” - Page 4. In “WIPE” I refer to an entity that was elusive: “…an entity that is still not captioned in a single line…” And again on Page 28 of “WIPE” when John Page was undergoing transmutation: “…If such an entity existed, John Page wishes to be the one whose body it could use if it were to come down to this dimension to claim this hype…”
Tyler: John, the “GUIOPERA” also centers around a great battle, a war being waged by your primary characters. Can you tell us a little bit about that battle?
John: The war is not between the primary characters of the “GUIOPERA.” Even though JPS is the Antagonist, his presence is mostly only made known through the way the primary characters Lazoo, Afamasaga, Polina, John Page etc. feel about him.
Tyler: Since we were talking about technology a few minutes ago, will you explain to us what you see as the role of technology in this novel?
John: Technology in this novel gives me a simple way of explaining the concepts behind the travel between the dimensions and the way the characters communicate in their form of telepathy—F3quenZor. For instance, when I’m talking about transportation between the dimensions, I use simple networking and Internet protocol terms like: Pipe, gateways, encryption, etc.
Tyler: John, one thing that intrigues me is how you first came up with the idea to create these characters. I believe you wrote “John Lazoo” first, but you have long had plans to write a whole series of books. Where did this idea come from and how did it develop—is it all planned out now, or is it still developing?
John: Everything is all planned right to the end book where Little Lazoo, John Lazoo’s son takes his place in the Semi-System.
Tyler: Did you always want to be a writer—so many writers say they wanted to write since childhood, myself included—or are you one of those who just accidentally fell into it?
John: Accidentally fell into it.
Tyler: As a child, what did you envision yourself as being when you grew up?
John: My father, a Taxi driver, wanted me to be a surgeon, doctor, type of somebody.
Tyler: But that’s what your father wanted. What did you want?
John: I wanted to be a Superstar Sportsman, like Jon Alfabet in “GUIOPERA II GLOBALL ATTACK” (Sept-Dec 2009), an idea that was pitched to a major Hollywood studio around 2001-2002. Obviously nothing came of it, but I’m going to resurrect it later this year using the GUIOPERA brand as a vehicle in getting it out to the market.
Tyler: GUIOPERA II?
John: Yep, the GUIOPERA will now take place each year. The story will change in terms of the characters involved, but in the end the reader will find the saga is non-stop, encompassing all of what has been setup by John Lazoo, Genisis Jones, Polina Rada and the rest of the cast.
Tyler: Why did you create the GUIOPERA?
John: etfiction the publishing brand for the eBooks; John Lazoo, etc is purely a creative venture. Under that banner, I don’t consider market forces or business disciplines. The GUIOPERA is hopefully more accessible to a wider audience, presenting a platform which is accessible via computer or mobile, and accessible to readers who may find the eBooks a bit much. But hopefully through the GUIOPERA, they are able to enter into the etfiction level with some sort of understanding from having read the GUIOPERA.
Also the GUIOPERA is a vehicle for an advertising platform (MobileAdApps) where LMLA-ink apply a tried and proven method of Advertising known as Product Placement. We believe that product placement within a classic (written) story that will stand the test of time can be more valuable than any other form of Product Placement in whatever medium.
Here’s an example…
I used Coke in WIPE, and then referred to the same scene/passage in the GUIOPERA - CHAPTER 23, PART 2. Polina is very sad right after John Page AKA PAGE1 has passed on, so she goes to London to be with Alexvale whom she associates with her former GuidingMaster and step dad PAGE1:
Alexvale stands with his feet on the ground....Trafalgar Square is jammed. The Coca-Cola sign seems happy with the way its red syrup spills onto the WIPE emblem. (From WIPE – Page 68)
Now let’s say that etfiction and the GUIOPERA eventually get recognized for what they are—Great Stories. And people read them, etc… Then this product placement would’ve have worked. The only reason why it works, however, is that right from the start I have been very selective about who and what I place in all of the stories, so there’s value already by just involving brands that have earned their place on the landscape as I call it i.e. Cocoa-Cola, IBM, Nike, Microsoft and the like.
Tyler: Where’s Google?
John: GUIOPERA II – GLOBALL ATTACK, late 2009.
Tyler: What for you is the benefit of writing?
John: Writing itself.
Tyler: Good answer. John, I asked you about the character in the “GUIOPERA” you most identify with, but do you have a favorite character and why that particular character?
John: Afamasaga; he’s almost the real me.
Tyler: Yes, minus the killing. I think my favorite character is Polina Rada, perhaps because she is an innocent child in so many ways, yet so vital to the overall plot. Do you have anything you want to share with us about your creation of her?
John: I think she’s going to be great in “GUIOPERA III The SystemSpectacular ” (Sept-Dec 2010),” where she is grown up and is a megastar of Madonna’s greatness.
Tyler: John, the “GUIOPERA” ends with “to be continued”—will you tell us about your plans for the next book?
John: You’ll just have to wait for it.
Tyler: All right. But I am impatient. Thank you for joining me, John. It’s been a pleasure. Will you let our readers know about your website and what information they can find there about your books and how to buy them?
John: GUIOPERA.com—The “GUIOPERA” is FREE, but it isn’t cheap.
Read the Book Review of the "GUIOPERA"
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