Hello all. I recently discovered a fabulous writing talent and had to share him with you.
Since his late teens, Michael has written stories of all kinds and finally started publishing in 2013 after having a short story accepted by HarperCollins.
He hopes for each story to be better than the previous one and wakes up grateful every day for his growing audience.
A father of two young children, them and his partner make everything worthwhile.
To sign up to Michael’s mailing list and to get a free copy of the first novel in his post-apocalyptic series The Alpha Plague – Click HERE
Hi Michael. As a British writer, I'm always thrilled to find other writers from Blighty. Especially when they become my new fave author. ☺ Tell us a little bit about yourself.
• Where are you from?
I live in Kent on the Kent / Surrey border. I’m about forty minutes away from London and an hour from Brighton. It’s a lovely part of the world to live in, but really expensive because all of the big earners from the city come and live out here.
• Apart from the expense, it sounds idyllic. As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
I didn’t really have any dreams as a kid. I kind of just existed and played a lot of computer games. When I got to about eighteen, I realised I wanted to be a writer.
• What do you do to unwind and relax?
I like consuming stories in their various guises. I’m a big comic reader and spend far too much money on them. I watch television and films too, although I don’t have as much time for them as I would like. I like to go for walks each day. I also have two young children who I love to hang out with.
Your writing is dark and intense, which I love. Tell us a little bit about it.
• Who or what influences this writing style?
Hmm, I’m not sure. I love darker works like The Road. Although, Cormac McCarthy is on a different level. I suppose all of the stories I read or watch add to what I write. I listen to a lot of political and current affairs podcasts. Also, documentaries. Some of the stuff I write is influenced on real world events. Although, I often pull back from just how horrific either history, or things happening now are.
• Truth is so often more terrifying than fictional monsters. When and why did you begin writing?
I love telling stories. I’ve been writing for close to twenty years now and I would write whether I could earn money from it or not.
• Wouldn't we all? ☺Are you working on any books/projects that you would like to share with us?
I’ve written the first draft for the final book in the Crash series – Crash V. I have The Alpha Plague 5 out in the next few weeks, and The Shadow Order Book Two will be out in a couple of months. I have other series’ I want to start, but I like to work on just two series’ at any one time if possible.
• I've started both series so I'll be looking forward to those! When did you first consider yourself a writer?
About five years ago. I found that when I made the decision it would happen, people stopped questioning it.
• Ha, I'm the biggest critic of my being a writer. The better the writers I rad, the worse my inner critic gets. So what inspired you to pen your first novel?
A need to see a story as I wanted it, rather than someone else’s vision.
• Interesting way to look at it. ☺ How has your environment/upbringing coloured your writing?
Hmm, in many ways I suppose. I wasn’t happy growing up, and have always loved darker stories. Even from a very young age.
• Ditto. Do you have any suggestions to help readers become better writers? If so, what are they?
Read, read, and read. Write as much as you can. Know you will always get better. Don’t be afraid to put your work out in the world and learn from constructive criticism. Learn to spot the difference between valid criticism that can help you grow, and criticism that reflects the critic’s own bitterness. If several people give you the same feedback, listen to it and be grateful for the gift. No matter how great your work is, someone will always tell you it’s shit. When you get your first bad review, look at your favourite book and see all the 1 star reviews. Nothing can please everyone.
• Which is your favorite of the books you have written?
My current one. Always. Whatever book that is at the time. I tend to hate everything I’ve written once I’ve released it. It’s a vulnerability thing I think.
• Oh God, me too! Can you take us through the steps for one of your books getting published?
1 – Plan all the major beats of the story.
2 – First draft. I write this fast and find it much easier to write because of step 1.
3 – Second draft. This is where I try to spot any technical errors and address the notes I made while discovering the story on the first draft.
4 – I send it off to my developmental editor.
5 – Go through the edits my developmental editor had pointed out.
6 – Read the book on my kindle.
7 – Send it for copy edits.
8 – Send it to someone else for a second run of copy edits. During that time, I get a cover made up too.
• Thorough! How do you develop your plots and characters? Do you use any set formula?
I read a book called ‘Save the Cat’. I like that formula for storytelling. I also have sheets of notes for different stages of writing. Things to look out for, like quiet moments to work on back story and character development.
• What tools do you feel are must-haves for writers?
• Scrivener rocks. I even got my sister to use it for university. She loves it. What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing?
I’m not sure I can make a comment on good writing. I think it’s important to work with good editors. A good editor will tell you when you’re making mistakes.
• Who is your favorite author and why?
Alan Moore. I like how complex and conscious his stories are. I also love Irvine Welsh. He has a wicked sense of humour.
• Great choices. What does your family think of your writing?
I’m not sure my blood family care that much. My partner is amazingly supportive and my kids are a bit too young to understand. They know I work a lot.
I was utterly gripped by your writing and couldn't put it down. You're the cause of sleepless nights! Tell us about your own thoughts on reading.
• What new author has grasped your interest?
I read a lot of the books from my fellow authors at Phalanx Press and they’re all great. Not necessarily new authors, but Darren Wearmouth, WJ Lundy, Rich Baker, H J Harry, Allen Gamboa, Owen Baillie, and Keith McCardle. There’s a lot of fresh sci-fi coming from those guys.
• Um, I'll have to take a look at some of those. What books have most influenced your life?
The Power of Now (non-fiction). The Twits, The Life of Pi, The Incal, The Sandman, V for Vendetta, 1984, The Road …
• The Power of Now? Sounds interesting. If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
I’m lucky to have some great guys that I publish with (see above) and they’re super helpful with giving me advice on everything.
• What are you reading now?
Darth Plagueis – It’s a Star Wars book about how Darth Sideous became Darth Sideous. It’s okay, although it’s a bit too heavy on the politics of the universe and I obviously know how it ends.
• Never read Star Wars but loved (most of) the movies. I'm reading a lot of classic Stephen King right now and of course, I know how they end too. Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Alan Moore. It’s varied and deep. He has many layers to what he writes while still telling a great story.
I've loved horror since I was a child reading Poe! Tell us a little about your own love of horror.
• Do you feel any competitive pressure from horror films? If not, why not?
No. I think horror in films and books are very different. It’s much harder to shock someone in a book without visuals, but you can slowly creep up on them in a book and scare the reader with their own fears. Give them just enough to find their true fear and the reader will do the rest.
• Why should fans of horror movies read horror books?
I think everyone should read books. Reading is so much more rewarding than films because you’re taking part in the story rather than being force-fed a director's vision.
• So true. My husband rarely reads and doesn't see the point. He's missing out, big time. But then he loves spot and I don't see the point in that. Vive la différence! ☺ Do you look to your own phobias to find subject matter? Are your stories the products of nightmares, childhood experiences, fantasies?
Yes. I learned true fear the day my first child was born. I could always face the worry of what might happen to me, but now I have my children …
• We can't have kids, but we have a very big German Shepherd, and we're both over protective of that pooch! Lol! What is your all-time favorite horror book and why? And what is your favorite book outside of the horror genre?
The Road. To both of them.
• What is your favorite horror movie?
28 Days Later. Or Fight Club. I find his state of mind super disturbing because I worked in an office for years and it made me feel a bit unhinged.
• I love (own on DVD) both of those, too. The first made zombies interesting again, and the second is perfectly twisted. What was a time in your life when you were really scared?
I suffered with wicked anxiety in my late teens / early twenties. That was petrifying. Panic attacks, fear of everything pretty much … I’ve had bad trips on drugs when I was younger. That was scary too. Also, I ran with the bulls in Pamplona.
• I get the panic attacks fear. I still get them. But I've never been to Pamplona. ☺ What about the horror genre interests you?
I feel like when it’s done well, it’s the ultimate pressured situation. As an author, I want to test my characters. Horror can be used for that.
Thanks Michael. X
Michael's Books (Series)
I've read book one of three of these series and can testify that Michael is an excellent writer of horror/thriller stories and builds character like a dream. Love thrills and terror? Click the links and go get yourself something dark and creepy!
Amazon won't allow me to leave the following review on their site for some ridiculous reason, so I will post it here. Click the button if my opinion interests you. 🙂