by LIZ ONUFER | photos by Spark Photography

Creative Challenges

Local resident Dennis Macaraeg did not always dream of becoming a writer. In fact, he admitted, “It was the farthest thing from my mind.” At the age of 16, he immigrated with his family to the U.S. from the Philippines. Dennis graduated high school and went on to earn a degree from San Diego State University. He wanted to become a school teacher, but as he explained, “Life had a different plan for me.”

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After college, Dennis began working in the healthcare field. It was during this time when he needed to drive a lot for work that he started listening to audiobooks. After listening to many stories, he decided he needed to write his own. His first book was inspired by a mix of the genres he was listening to – thrillers, love stories, history, and travel books – and a life-changing experience he had on a backpacking trip in the Philippines in 1993.  Five years after that initial idea, Dennis published Somewhere in the Shallow Sea.


Name: Dennis Macaraeg
Profession: Writer
Hobbies: Photography, hiking, reading
Favorite Local Spots: Seaport Village, Coronado, and Del Mar


His newest novel, Somewhere in San Diego, is a story set a little closer to home. Keeping with the blend of genres, Dennis shared, “The book is a thriller, a love story mixed in with travelogue, and a bit of San Diego history.” Dennis knows local readers will connect with the familiar scenes in the story – Seaport Village, Coronado Island, Gaslamp Quarter, Old Town, and more. And for the reader who has never visited San Diego, Dennis assured, “They would be transported to the sights and sounds we experience every day.”

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Writing fiction is not easy work. For his latest book, Dennis worked hard to ensure his details of San Diego were vivid and realistic. Working with the plot is another challenge. Dennis acknowledged, “Plotting on how I will execute my plan is also difficult because every little change in the plot affects the overall direction of the story.” But the challenges of writing do not deter Dennis. He is continuously drawn to storytelling because he can create his own worlds and characters. He will also begin podcasting soon, starting with a suspense and love story that will be told through 5- to 10-minute podcasts posted every week.