Welcome to the forty-second of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, directors, bloggers, autobiographers and more. Today’s is with . If you like what you read, please do go and investigate the author further. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found at https://morgenbailey.wordpress.com/blog-interviews.
Morgen: Hi Michael. Please tell us something about yourself and how you came to be a writer.
Morgen: Me too (although I was studying creative writing at the time). What genre do you generally write and have you considered other genres?
Michael: I generally write fantasy and sci-fi, but I would love to try a good mystery, especially one that has some historical elements.
Morgen: Ooh, historical is so popular. I interviewed Nobilis Reed (http://www.nobiliserotica.com) for my podcast recently and hadn’t realised that rather than writing erotica (although he does), he concentrates on sci-fi erotica which I didn’t know existed, but why not? What have you had published to-date? How much of the marketing do you do?
Michael: I’ve done a variety of things. I have two novels (“The Canticle Kingdom” and “The Last Archangel”), an inspirational pamphlet, (“Portrait of a Mother”) and a variety of short stories and magazine articles. I do quite a bit of self-marketing, working closely with my publisher. I’m setting up a “blog tour” for my newest release, throwing a launch party, and staying active on social media and blogging.
Morgen: Keep me informed and I’ll spread the word. Do you have an agent? Do you think they’re vital to an author’s success?
Michael: I do not yet have an agent, but I’m looking. I think these days you need them to get your work in front of some of the bigger houses.
Morgen: I’d say so, yes. Are your books available as eBooks? If so what was your experience of that process? And do you read eBooks?
Michael: I have a Kindle and love eBooks, thought they don’t replace the fun of devouring a traditional book.
Morgen: They don’t, a lot of people are saying that.
Michael: My newest release “The Last Archangel” is available on Kindle.
Morgen: What was your first acceptance and is being accepted still a thrill?
Michael: My first acceptance was an article in the teen religious magazine “The New Era.” The rush with each acceptance hasn’t faded yet, and I doubt it ever will. Anything that takes that much effort and patience is a thrill to have go through.
Morgen: And makes the tough times worthwhile. Speaking of which, have you had any rejections? If so, how do you deal with them?
Michael: I don’t think you can be a writer, even an accomplished writer without suffering rejection. I’ve had many. I have made the policy of getting to feel bad about a rejection until I go to bed that night, but when I get up the next morning, I move on and start the process to submit the project somewhere else.
Morgen: Definitely the right attitude. What are you working on at the moment / next?
Michael: I’ve got some exciting science fiction and fantasy projects on the docket, especially an epic fantasy about a civilization who have been cursed to lose their faces and thus wear masks every moment of every day, some which are decorative and some of which are magical.
Morgen: And do you manage to write every day? What’s the most you’ve written in a day?
Michael: It’s a rare day when I don’t write. Even on really busy days, sometimes I’ll hunker down and write a paragraph, just so that I feel like I’ve taken a step in the right direction.
Morgen: You’re far more disciplined than me, although I do have notebooks in every dog-walking jacket and am usually scribbling something so maybe I’m not that bad.
Michael: On an occasional Saturday, I have been known to hash out 5,000 – 6,000 words.
Morgen: That’s good going. A couple of weeks of that and you’ll have a novel. What is your opinion of writer’s block? Do you ever suffer from it? If so, how do you ‘cure’ it?
Michael: The simple cure for writer’s block is to never have only one project. If you every run against a block in one project, just change lanes—work on another project. I also have half a dozen of various types, and I so I always feel like I’m moving forward on something.
Morgen: That’s sound advice, I’m hearing that more and more. Do you plot your stories Michael, or do you just get an idea and run with it?
Michael: I’m a hybrid—I outline a little bit and then run with it. And like the cars, I think you get better mileage with this. You have to have something to go on, at least the high points to keep you story from getting out of control, but then you also need to have freedom within that structure.
Morgen: Hybrid. You’re not the only one to have said that (but yours fits in with your genre). Do you have pieces of work that you think will never see light of day?
Michael: My very first novel that I wrote in high school might not ever. I did it mostly to practice and to see if I could do it. Looking at it now, it’s laughable. It did, however, have a good premise, so I might dust it off someday.
Morgen: I have one of those (although I only wrote it in 2008, my first http://nanowrimo.org novel) and that’s exactly what I’m doing (final pre-editor edit today actually). What’s your favourite / least favourite aspect of your writing life?
Michael: I lover interacting with readers at bookstore events, school visits, workshops, anywhere. It’s fun getting to motivate people to write and share in good stories. I think the worst part is the waiting game once something has been submitted. It can take months to hear back about anything and that can be excruciating.
Morgen: Although you’ll be so busy with your other projects that the time will fly. What advice would you give aspiring writers?
Michael: Ask yourself whether you have the thick skin and patience to see yourself through to publication. If so, go for it with all you’ve got. Set habits today that will help you improve your writing daily.
Morgen: Start as you mean to go on, absolutely. What do you like to read?
Michael: Fantasy in all its forms and science fiction. I’ll always jump on a great historical fiction novel. It’s nice that now that I’m published that I can treat reading as “research.”
Morgen: Are there any writing-related websites and/or books that you find useful and would recommend?
Michael: I like Critique Circle: http://www.critiquecircle.com for getting feedback from other writers, and Writer’s Market. http://QueryTracker.net is great for those looking for how to write a query letter.
Morgen: Two more new ones to me, lovely. In which country are you based Michael, and do you find this a help or hindrance with letting people know about your work?
Michael: I’m based in the U.S. in Utah. There is a huge community of authors and publishers here, which is both good and bad. There are many people to network with, but it is also a bit harder to stand out.
Morgen: But probably makes you try harder? Are you on any forums or networking sites? If so, how invaluable do you find them?
Michael: I have a fan page on Facebook (www.facebook.com/authormichaelyoung) and Twitter (@mdybyu), and I find that it is a great way to connect with fans and meet new people. They are also easy to automate with my blog and can be updated with minimal hassle. (Helps when maximizing writing time.)
Morgen: That’s how I have mine set up too – it’s great. I love technology (although having grown up with an older brother and no sisters probably helped with that). Where can we find out about you and your work?
Michael: My best place is my blog: http://www.writermike.com. I try to post regularly and I focus not only on my work, but at helping other writers, especially young ones, to get in print.
Morgen: Me too, the best way to earn respect, I think. Thank you Michael. It’s been great ‘talking’ with you.
Michael is a graduate of Brigham Young University with a degree in German Teaching and a minor in Music. He putshis German to good use by working to build online German courses for High School students. Though he grew up traveling the world with his military father, he now lives in Utah with his wife, Jen, and his two sons. Michael enjoys acting in community theatre, playing and writing music and spending time with his family. He played for several years with the handbell choir Bells on Temple Square and is now a member of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
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