Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
My name’s Mike and I’m an IT Consultant who lives in Preston, UK with his wife and twin daughters.
As well as Message Bearer, I’ve produced several short stories over a period of many years, some of which were fortunate enough to be selected for publication. Sadly, a bad experience with a faulty hard drive and an evil usb stick sent many of these to digital oblivion, putting me off writing for a prolonged period.
Those stories that could be salvaged, as well as more recent efforts can be found on Amazon, with Mirror Man being a particular favourite.
Overall, forgetting about those that can’t be salvaged, I’ve got one novel and four short stories out right now.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
My latest book is Message Bearer, the first in an urban fantasy series set (initially) in the UK before going all over place.
I’ve had the rough idea of Message Bearer sitting in my head for several years. I loved Harry Potter back in the day, and I liked the idea of a more adult focused version of that. Along side that, over the past few years I’ve been completing a combined degree in physics and IT, with a particular favourite subject of mine being quantum physics. I love the concept of reality only existing because we, the observers, make it exist. When I started writing Message Bearer for real I wanted to combine these two concepts – a modern hero’s journey with a magic focus blended with a magic system that in theory could exist in the real world. The story was born from there and the mythology and history just exploded outwards from that point!
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
My only unusual habit is that I always try and end a writing session with the particular scene half done. That way I know that when I start the next day I’ve got something to write. I used to find if it was a brand new scene or chapter that the blank page could be quite intimidating. This method always ensures I can at least finish that last scene.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
I love so many authors, but the one who really got me into writing was Stephen King. I loved Pet Semetary, Salem’s Lot and all those early stories of his. They were simple concepts but so well told and I quickly devoured many of his books.
Aside from Stephen King, I also love good old fantasy. In particular I love the R. A. Salvatore Drizzt Do’Urden series but also have a soft spot for David Eddings and the Belgariad, David Gemmell and his Druss stories (no one does heroic fantasy like David Gemmell) and many others.
What are you working on now?
The sequel to the Message Bearer and the next in the Auran Chronicles (provisionally titled “Consensus Breaking”). I’m 60,000 words in at the moment with a release date pencilled in for summer 2016.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
I think just being patient is key. Using promo sites is a good way to get some sales spikes, and these can often generate click throughs weeks after the promo has run. Aside from that though just being patient and building your network seem to be critical. Join a few relevant forums, engage with people about books you’re interested in. Don’t do the hard sell, just be engaged and interested.
Also, ensure you have a decent platform. Get a blog, twitter, goodreads etc. Ensure your amazon profile is completed. Have a Facebook page for your series. Basically don’t give anyone an excuse not to find you.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Be patient with everything. Don’t rush that first draft. Don’t rush to publish. Edit, edit, then edit some more. Get the best cover you can afford. Spend money on an editor if you can afford one. Get as much feedback about your work before you send it out to the wider world.
Oh, and read. Read lots and read wide. I honestly believe you can only get better in the craft if you invest time in learning what good and bad looks like, and that comes with reading lots.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
Be patient. Write every day and read lots and read wide.
What are you reading now?
Harlan Corban – Play Dead. It’s an early one of his and the plot is a bit far-fetched but it’s a really good read.
What’s next for you as a writer?
Learn more about this marketing lark and planning book 3 in the Auran Chronicles.
If you were going to be stranded on a desert island and allowed to take 3 or 4 books with you what books would you bring?
Lord of the Rings.