Today’s interview is a rather special one to me – Mike is a guy I ‘met’ online a few years back (via The Dragon’s Rocketship – a page on Facebook) and somehow, considering that we live across the world from each other, we became friends and stayed in touch. He’s got amazing ideas and is truly one of the kindest people I know. He promotes others tirelessly, selflessly, with honesty and integrity and he never, ever, asks for anything in return. So it’s my pleasure to be able to turn the tables and interview him as he sends forth his third book in The Guiding Council series: Rogues and Redemption.
J: Hi Mike, it’s a pleasure to have you here! So, can you please tell us a little bit about yourself.
M: Thanks for having me on the blog, Jill. Let’s see, I’m a Christian, married, father of three that has worked in the pharmaceutical/medical device industry for the last 20 years. I have a Bachelor of Science in Biology, so you know I’m a blast at parties (NOT). I live in Michigan and love it. I run a blog and I write for fun. Oh, and I believe in Bigfoot. That is critical to understand me and my writing.
J: What brought you into the writing world? How did you get started?
M: Actually, it started as a strange dare from my sister. She asked me to write a haiku about a wombat. I forget the lead up to that, but I wrote it. That wombat actually ended up as the bad guy in my first book: The Ancients. I’ve been writing on and off since. That was about 15 years ago. I really wish I could remember that haiku. It made me laugh.
J: I see that you have a new book due to be released, can you let us know a little more about it?
M: Yes, I do. Rogues and Redemption is the third book in my Guiding Council series. The series is sort of an Urban Fantasy meets Teenage Fantasy meets Humorous Fantasy series that is based on the premise that all myths and urban legends are real and they have a complex society that lurks in the shadows of humanity. Rogues and Redemption takes place after a civil war within the mythical nation, as a new bad guy tries to take over. But, the Guiding Council won’t stand for that.
The Guiding Council is made of the leaders from each faction within the nation. Those factions are: Diminutive Creatures, Romanian Echelon, Biped Nation, The Uniques and the Chupacabra Strike Force.
Rogues and Redemption is a bit darker than the first two in the series, but it still has its humorous moments.
J: How did you come up with the concept for the world you’ve created?
M: A number of years ago, probably a dozen or so, there was a “major” news announcement that a hunter in Florida had actually killed a bigfoot and had the body stuffed in a freezer. It was fake, but I thought that would make a great kick-off point for a story. So I ran with it.
I’m not really an organized writer, I just let it happen. So the story took on a life of its own. Now, three books later, I’m already thinking up ideas for a fourth in the series.
J: Your work shows you have a great sense of humour: is this naturally you, or purely something that comes out in your writing? Is it something you have to work for?
M: That’s all me. I cannot deny it. I consider myself a master of sarcasm. That twist of the mind is how I roll. Unfortunately, if you don’t get my humor, you may not get my stories. But, I gotta be me. I write how I write, reads and reviews be damned (did that sound tough enough? I hope so).
Aside from that, I like dark humor. I love a good, or bad, pun. That sort of seeps into my writing.
J: When did you start to take writing seriously?
M: I’ll let you know when that happens.
No really, I don’t take it seriously (is that bad to say???). I love writing. I love what I write, but if I took it seriously, I’d cry. Being an Indie author in this modern age of technology is hard. So, I write to make myself happy. I certainly hope others enjoy what I write, but serious is so…what’s the word I’m looking for? Oh yeah, serious. That’s the word.
J: Do you find stories come to you easily?
M: Some do, yes. Most of my stories come from dreams. I keep a notebook and a pen on the night stand and force myself awake to write those ideas down. And sometimes I can even read what I’ve written! Most all of my short stories start as dreams.
Once I have the idea, the writing is pretty easy. I’m what the industry calls a “pantser”, meaning I write by the seat of my pants. I sit down and let it flow. Unfortunately, I have very little time to write. I’d say 95% of my writing has been done over my lunch hours. I have kids. I have no time to write at home.
Planning a story; now that is hard. I’ve tried it. It’s painful. I enjoy the “pantser” process much better. I end up as surprised at where the story goes as anyone that is reading it. Heck, when I go back and read what I’ve written, sometimes I sit back and say to myself, “Wow, I wrote that. That’s actually good.”
J: Did you read a lot when you were a kid?
M: My parents had to bribe me to read. I hated reading, until I was 13. Then, in hopes to bribe me some more, a friend of the family introduced me to Nine Princes in Amber by Roger Zelazny. The way he described it made it sound WAY more interesting than the Hardy Boys. So I gave it a try. I haven’t looked back.
J: Do you read much now?
M: I read all the time. I read before bed. I read over my lunch hour, when I should be writing. Heck, when I’m driving, I have audiobooks going. I love to read, and I’ve found I love having someone else read to me. Audiobooks have been a great discovery for me. Now I can do something during the daily commute to and from work. I read 75-100 books a year.
I have a blog that is mainly for book reviews. I love to tell other people what I think. I also do other sorts of reviews, and some interviews. I love to promote other Indie Artists. The blog is my platform for that. I really don’t promote myself much, but that is just my own personal quirk.
It’s called Lurking in the Shadows Honest Reviews. I will always be honest with my reviews; friends or not. How else will you grow as a writer/artist?
https://lurkingintheshadowshonestreviews.wordpress.com/ <- Go check it out! J
J: What advice would you give to new authors? (I know it’s a blog standard question, but it seems to be a popular one, so I’m asking regardless…)
M: Make yourself happy, first and foremost. Write what you’d want to read. Don’t try to write for others. Don’t write to “fill a void in the industry”, as I don’t think there are any voids in the industry. Be true to yourself.
Look, if you’re writing to be rich, the chances are you won’t become the next Stephen King. Sorry about that. I’m a realist. But, if you stay true to who you are and just happen to find an audience (large or small) that enjoys what you write; that is the best feeling a writer can have.
Just keep at it.
J: Finally, what will you be/are you working on next?
M: Good question. As with most Indie authors I’ve talked with, you reach a point of indecision. I find myself at a crossroads. I love writing, but it takes time. Even my lunch hours are becoming busier. So do I keep at it? Maybe.
That said, I have a story that I’ve been fighting with for a number of years that has to be told. I’m 50K words deep into it, and I have to see it through to the end. So that will definitely happen. It’s called Brotherhood of the Locust. It’s a true Fantasy novel. No teenager stuff. No talking animals. Real Fantasy.
After that, who knows? I have ideas for a 4th in the Guiding Council series, and I have an idea that has been churning in my brain for a decade or more. It’s a bit more serious in nature. I think my subconscious has been waiting for my writing to mature enough to tell that story. Maybe it’s time for it to see the light of day.
So to answer the question, who knows? I’ll be just as surprised to see what happens as you will.
J: Thanks so much for agreeing to let me interview you, Mike, and from my own point of view, please don’t stop writing!
Guys, here are Mike’s final words along with links where you can find his work, so please make a point of checking them out.
Corporate world dweller.
Seeking readers and reviewers of Teenage Fantasy, Science Fiction and Horror stories.
Applicants must have a sense of humor and not take life too seriously. Appreciation of a really bad pun is a bonus, but not required.
If interested, read the books associated with this author page.
If you want to know more, please google lurkingintheshadowshonestreviews. It’s a thing, really.
Remember to feed your Indie Authors with Reviews. It’s how they survive.