Monday, 27 August 2012

Interrogating Michael Brookes

Next up is a shy new author, Michael Brookes

How do you strike the balance between writing something you want to write and writing something that people want to read, in terms of the compromises you make, if any?

The first draft is purely for me. I then do an edit pass where I try to put myself as the reader rather than the author. I then throw it out to some trusted test readers who'll then provide feedback on what works or doesn't. I then review the feedback, if the point makes sense then I'll act on it. If not I may discuss it further, but ultimately it's down to me. As a writer I do believe that I am trying to get better so I find that feedback invaluable.

What excites, attracts or appeals to you about the genre(s) you write in.

I like to mix genres, I find they all have something to bring to the table. For example science fiction brings vision, techno thrillers bring an attention to detail and so forth. The Cult of Me comes vaguely within the horror genre, but does take techniques from horror stories as well as military thrillers and contemporary fiction. 

Do you have a box, drawer, folder etc where you keep thoughts and ideas for future stories? Such as names you have come across, bits of dialogue, ideas, characters - even if you have no idea when you might use them? 

Not really, although I guess I should :-) I tend to let ideas percolate in my head until I have need of them.

How do you manage plot bunnies (ideas that invade your mind that aren’t usually helpful to the story you’re writing but breed

I gut and skin them :-) I'm a great believer in planning, especially for novels. Invading thoughts that threaten the plan have to have something pretty good in mind. With shorter pieces I'm a bit more freeform and let the bunnies have their say. Although quite often they are ruthlessly destroyed when the edit passes begin.

How much of you is in your characters? Which of your characters is the you that you’d most like to be? Or be with ? 

Probably more than I'd like, especially for the main character in the series. I think Friar Francis represents an almost a scholarly ideal I'd like to possess, but he still retains a harsh pragmatism to get the job done.

Do you become so wrapped up in your writing that your spouse wonders if they're married to you or one of your characters?

I probably spend far too much time working and writing, but being not-so-young, reasonably priced and single I don't get into trouble for it.

What type of book do you like reading? Is it the same genre as you write?

I read a variety of genres, mostly fantasy, horror and science fiction. However I enjoy classics, thrillers and non-fiction as well. I'm currently reading Paradise Lost, which for me is probably the best story ever written.

What lengths do you go to to convince us readers that your book has the X factor?

I'm quite new to the business of publishing my work, so I don't think I've found my limits yet. Even though I knew it would be the case before I published it can be a little frustrating as a new author trying to get known and of course get some sales. As wiser people have told me, it's a long game, so I'll keep working on new books and stories as well as developing my blog and participating in communities like the Kindle Users Forum.  In many ways it's a harder task than writing in the first place, but it does have the advantage of getting to know new people.

How do you feel when a reader points out the spelling mistake(s) you have made?

I work in the games industry so I'm quite used to harsh feedback :-) I actually prefer people to be honest, if they see a mistake please point it out so I can correct it if I can. Constructive and specific feedback should be of value to any writer.

What do you like most about visiting KUF/forums?

I'm a bit of a newbie, but the warm welcome was great. I also like the mix between authors and readers, there's some interesting discussions and useful feedback.

What is on your near horizon?

The Cult of Me is the first in a trilogy so I'm currently waist deep in the second book - Conversations in the Abyss. I'm also working on a short story for the KUF End of the World Anthology.

Where can we find you for more information?

I update my blog regularly at:  

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