Welcome Dominick to my blog today! What a pleasure to get to know you more.
1. Tell us a few things about yourself.
I’m an illustrator by trade who landed in animation. My first film was The Lion King, followed by Pocahontas, Hunchback of Notre Dame, Tarzan, Little Match Girl, and One By One. From there I transitioned into writing and directing my own live-action films. I stumbled into a writing resume through my original screenplay credits. Around this time, ( at forty ) an acute awareness of my impending mortality led me to begin writing my ‘memoires.’ Two of my narrative nonfiction essays were included in anthologies, and one, ‘Le’Epiphanie,’ won the Solas Award for Best Travel Writing in the humor category. The collection, titled ‘Jesus Shoes,’ has yet to be published in its own right. ‘The Nameless Prince’ is my foray into Young Adult Fantasy.
2. What is your favorite book?
I have trouble picking a favorite anything- be it a favorite color or ice cream flavor! In the literary realm, I have my favorites in every genre! American Lit- I love the themes in Scarlet Letter; they really resonate with me. Love The Great Gatsby as well, and the themes of synchronicity and connectedness in Great Expectations. Wuthering Heights is another favorite. Sci-Fi? I would have to say The Illustrated Man. Fantasy? The Narnia Chronicles and Lord of the Rings. More recently The Alchemist.
3. Who is your favorite author?
Children’s books: Suess and Shel Silverstein and Roal Dahl and L. Frank Baum. Fantasy: C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkein and Neil Gaiman. Sci-Fi: Ray Bradbury. Playrights: Tenessee Williams and Checkhov and Arthur Miller. Screenwriting: Lars Von Trier. Narrative Nonfiction: David Sedaris, Augusten Burroughs, Dave Rothbury
4. What inspired you to want to write The Nameless Prince?
The impetus for The Nameless Prince was my own discovery of a homeless camp on a series of islands in the L.A. Flood Channel. I’d taken the time one day to wander off the beaten path to explore, and found myself in an absurd little oasis surrounded by graffiti and barbed wire. The dwelling before me was magical- like Tom Sawyer’s island- all corrugated tin and mismatched artifacts. I imagined it was home to the gatekeeper of a magical realm. I’d long wanted to write a ‘through the rabbit hole’ story- one in which the protagonist meets a sage in an unlikely place. As a child I’d been captivated by the Narnia Chronicles, the Reluctant Dragon, Bridge to Terabithia, the Indian In the Cupboard, and countless others on that template. The juxtaposition I’d stumbled onto- urban grittiness and the magical realm it disguised seemed to foot the bill. But here’s what sealed the deal: I went back some time later (probably the next time I had an afternoon to be ‘idle’), and I could not find the island. It had up and disappeared. I was struck by the idea of an alternate realm that could appear or disappear at will, and ‘The Nameless Prince’ was born.
5. Tell us a bit about your current writing projects.
In addition to working in animation, I am taking time to promote ‘The Nameless Prince.’ I am always adding to my collection of narrative nonfiction essays- they are so enjoyable and cathartic to write. And the sequel to ‘The Nameless Prince’ is about halfway finished. I didn’t conceive it as or set out to write an episodic tale, but the novel certainly turned out to be set up for it. I was working in New York with a LONG train commute, and just started writing on the train to be productive. That’s when I completed the first half. In the sequel, ten year-old Seth and Elena are now entering high school. My hope is that readers will fall in love with them (as well as the world of Interia) and wish to follow them on their journey through adolescence toward adulthood.
6. Was this a difficult book to write?
The writing of The Nameless Prince felt effortless and cathartic. Developing the characters and the setting was very organic- informed every step of the way by synchronicity. Though my concept was well-founded in inspiration, and I took the time to mold the initial gut-level expression of it in to an airtight outline, I remained open during the execution process. Open to what the Universe threw in my path daily. Open to incorporating ‘happy accidents.’ Open to the cathartic function of putting pen to paper, which inevitably infuses new meaning and subtext at every turn.
I researched on an as-needed basis, but largely the preparation was a lifetime of exposure to fantasy. In Interia, Seth encounters many traditional archetypes- a minotaur at the center of a labyrinth, a faun who is the gatekeeper to the alternate realm, a troll, a witch, etc. There are conscious homages to character types that have recurred throughout history- in verbal tradition, mythology, religion, all the way through this sophisticated medium known as film. So, largely the research was simply being a lover of art and literature! And, of course, my study of western storytelling structure, and the hero’s journey also helped a lot. Additionally, I chose my own neighborhood for the real-world setting. I have lived in Silver Lake for fifteen years. The concept of a boatman ( or possibly just a homeless man ) living at the bottom of the L.A. wash was inspired by my own discovery of a fantastic ‘Tom Sawyer-like’ homeless camp on an island in the L.A. flood channel. So all I needed to do when it was time to ‘research’ authentic details, was take a walk five minutes form home!
7. Any tips for aspiring writers?
On a practical level- one of the greatest helps to me has been to understand story structure and flesh out a very comprehensive outline before ever indulging a single scene. Only by having a solid foundation and knowing where I’m headed, is my subconscious free to connect dots and strengthen metaphorical content. Instead of laboring trying to resolve basic problems, my mind is free to be more intuitive in the moment, and enhance the resonance through details. My advice in terms of the long journey of choosing any creative venture as ones livelihood is to ride on faith. Find the balance between having humility and being open to learning from feedback and holding up your middle finger to doubters. There will always be someone to tell you ‘no.’
8. Any last words?
The official website for ‘The Nameless Prince’ is:
There you will find synopsis, author bio, author interview, and lots of stunning artwork for the Graphic Novel version currently in development! I am working with three former students from Art Center College of Design, who are now prolific illustrators, and their interpretations of Interia and its residents are stunning! The concept will be to premier a different American illustrator with each episode. The episodes correlate loosely with the chapters in the novel.
The official FB page for ‘The Nameles Prince’ (please ‘Like’ us!) is:
Finally, my illustration blog:
Thanks so much for being here on my blog today Dominick! All the best for your writing projects!