Welcome back Novelista. Today I have a lovely interview with a fellow indie author and internet friend Michael.
What were you like at school?
My mom tells me that my parent/teacher conferences always went like this. Teacher: “Some times I can't tell if Michael is paying attention or not. He seems like he's lost in his own world.” Plus – I would much rather have had library time instead of recess. No one picks fights during library time.
What are your ambitions for your writing career?
I'm not one for labels. Even if I ever was a New York Time Best Selling Author, I'd never refer to that. I really just want to write good books – books that can help people understand stuff I didn't get when I was younger.
What are you working on at the minute?
Two things currently. Starting to write Book Three of my YA Christian Fantasy series entitled, Brother Thomas and the Guardians of Zion. And second, I'm doing an extensive research and universe building project for a Space Opera series.
What genre are your books?
I've written in two genres so far. My debut novel, as already mentioned, is YA Christian Fantasy. I've also written Where Angels Dwell, which I believe would fit best in either Literary Fiction or Realistic Fiction, or perhaps both.
How much research do you do?
For the books I've already produced, not much. I did a bit of research on the possible paths one would take to be given the title 'Brother' for my YA Christian Fantasy series, and I'm starting to do a tremendous amount of research for my Space Opera trilogy
Do you write full-time or part-time?
I'm a full-time author, though I don't write every day, nor do I structure my writing. I take liberal breaks between novels, and I write only when I feel compelled. Luckily, that feeling comes often.
What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?
The writing is always the easiest. I tend to free write, meaning, I don't care what it sounds like for the first draft. Then I go back and do multiple, multiple rounds of edits. The hardest part I think is the formatting edits, because then I have to take what I would consider a finished product and rewrite small parts throughout to ensure there are no widows or orphans.
Do you ever get writer’s Block?
Oh, heavens yes. But I don't let it bother me. To me, it just means that I'm putting too much of myself into my writing and not letting my muse flow.
Do you have any tips for overcoming writers block?
First, don't stress. It's a natural part of the process. All creative endeavours have these moments. So go with it, don't push against it. Write something completely unrelated to your current project for a bit. Or pick up a new book at the library. You'll know when you're muse is ready for you again.
What do you think of “trailers” for books?
I'm not a huge fan of them. I get the importance of them, I just think the front cover image and back cover description should be enough to get someone to at least want to know more.
How long does it take you to write a book?
I can write a book in 30-45 days, but that's just the first draft. It usually take another two to three months to edit, rewrite, format and etc.
Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
All of my ideas come from real life. I first started working with youth ministry programs in the early 1980s, so I have a good amount of experience relating to teens, and a ton of really awesome people to inspire my characters.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
Honestly, that the books really do write themselves. For my first book, I spent a few hours plotting and planning, only to realize half-way through that my storyline was nothing like I thought it would be. My characters wanted to do things a little different, I guess.
If you couldn’t be an author, what would your ideal career be?
I would love to own and operate an organic farm. I love being in contact with nature and bringing things to life. I guess that's how I feel about my books, like I'm planting seeds and watching them grow as I write.
Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Yes – just write. Don't worry that what you want to write about has already been written about. Your point of view will be different. And once it's done, please invest in the following two areas. 1 – hire a cover designer. 2 – hire an editor. There are so many really good ideas for storylines that were not properly edited or have really generic, bad cover art. For myself (and a large percentage of the people I know) I would much rather read a bad storyline that was well crafted than to read an amazing plot with grammar, spelling or formatting errors. And if the cover stinks, I won't even pick it up. If you're on a tight budget to get your book to print, put 99.9% of that budget into these two areas. You can learn to do the rest on your own.