Monday, November 17, 2014

Grayson Michaels stops by to say HELLO!

  Deanna sits down to visit with 
Author Grayson Michaels

The Setting

     We arranged our interview with Grayson out in the forests of Northern Idaho. This particular place, has a nicely built cabin of wood. Old, rustic looking but has all of the necessities of modern living. A nice rounded gravel driveway that lead up to the front of the house with a small circular patch of grass around the gravel round. In the center grass patch is that of a flag that flies high. The leaves on the trees are a golden amber and yellow color as they’ve began to fall off the branches. The sound of wolves howling occasionally heard off in the distance of the thick forest. Once inside, a nicely stoked fire is in a stone mantel that leads upwards and out the top of the ceiling. There are two upright chairs and a couch in the living room. In the center, a freshly brewed pot of coffee with the variety of creams, sugars, and anything else that they might want to put into their coffee.
Do you mentor any other authors who look up to you?  I have mentored a few up and coming authors, as well as looked at manuscripts when asked by other writers. I think as fellow writers it’s important for us to interact and keep a close nit community. I don’t think that I’m any better than any writer out there, I think we are all equal in our own respects. We all write a little bit different, prefer different genres, and have a different take on a lot of different topics. Anyone that has questions, or wants something read I’ve always had an open door and I will give honest feedback. To me, it doesn’t matter the genre I will always help out other writers. Sometimes its questions about things I’ve had to ask about in the past. And other times it might be me asking the questions. 

What would you say is important for upcoming/aspiring authors to do?   Write, Write, Write. As an inspiring writer or up and coming writer it’s important to continue the craft! You can be a writer in many ways, whether it’s blogging, short stories, roleplaying out the characters or writing down ideas. The muse will often strike when you are least expecting it.  I know of several friends that belong to online forums, and storylines online where people can create characters and interact with each other in the genre of their preference. It seems that there is a lot of paranormal or super natural storylines out there. Find one you are comfortable with, and if you are having problems with a character speaking to you, or even if the character is staying silent sometimes the best way to get to know the character is role playing them out. Some of the writer’s I know have made mention to me that the character will come a lot more freely and willing to talk once you get inside of THEIR head for once.         

     The last and most important thing to remember as an upcoming writer to is that not everyone will like your ideas. Nor will everyone like the concept or the genre you are writing. Don’t let that discourage you. The writer has to write for themselves first and foremost! If you like the story then that’s all that counts. Don’t let anyone else’s interpretation of your idea bring you down, or try to tell you how they think it should be. This is your world that you’ve created, and you are the best known subject matter person about it!   
     THERE WILL BE TYPOS AND ERRORS in your finished product of your book. There is no avoiding it. No one can make a finished product 100% Even New York Times Best sellers will have noticeable typos in their stories. Don’t sweat it if you find one in yours. Do your best with editing and getting the big stuff. Readers will not mind as long as it’s not a constant thing and doesn’t make the tory impossible to understand. 

What has been your biggest help in becoming the writer you are today?  Above I mentioned community support. I think that community support has really helped me the most in becoming the writer I am today. If it hadn’t been for the authors that I know now I may not have just put out my second novel. Family, friends, and acquaintances as well and the eager anticipation that they begin to show when you make mention about a new book you are working on, or an upcoming release date. 

In your opinion, what should new authors avoid doing?  I think that new authors that are getting ready to publish their first book should remember that it takes a lot of time to perfect your craft, and to not expect a New York Times Best Seller right out of the gate. Has it happened? I’m sure, but I’m not within immediate contact of anyone who has done that. I know of two authors that write professionally that where rejected over two hundred times when they first started submitting their own manuscripts to publishing houses. Arrogance is another thing to avoid. I’ve seen writer’s post on their Facebook’s and Twitter’s “Buy more of my books so I can enjoy writing from the Bahama’s on my next book while working the movie deal for my book”. It’s important to remember that your readers are the most important thing that a writer can have. Putting overly charged political comments, or scandalous items on their Facebook (Unless it pertains to their genre or a group they are involved in) should stay pretty low key to or not posted at all. But Grayson, aren’t we entitled to our opinions? Absolutely! I think it’s great to have an opinion on a subject and there is a way to put things in a professional manner. Random rants, which are summarized or not correctly put together, could turn off your readers and you could lose them. Remember, we are in the public eye and anything that you put can hurt your image as a writer.
     One of the biggest thing also to remember is to not bash other writer’s on your Facebook and call them out on their work. It’s unprofessional and may give others you have a “Holier than Thou” attitude towards other writers in your genre or field.
      Don’t quit your day job! Yes, it’s fun and exciting to embark on this path of being a writer. But as I’ve stated, I’m getting ready to release my second book and have struggled with getting the money allocated. It’s a hard field to get into, and again don’t expect to make a lot of money from your first books. It may take researching various genres to find one or multiple that you like to write in and really start perfecting a world of characters that easily flow to you. Write because you like to write, not because you are looking for money and fame. 

How has your life helped in creating your own characters? I’ve been blessed with having a great life that I’m able to work with a lot of different people and have lived through a lot of experiences.  A prime example of a character I created based on life experiences is Malakai, who is the main character for ‘In With the Pack’ that you will be following around. I tend to base my characters a lot more on emotions that people have or could have. Each character is individually crafted in that way. So you might meet more of my characters that are cocky, and may have a tendency to really reflect that. I’ve had some very life changing events, and in the process of those happening characters where created but not by the event but by the emotion that I felt at the time and was able to translate into a character.  However, I really try not to base any of my characters on anyone that I know, have worked with, or lost contact with.  As well as any kind of attributes that could link them to someone.

What is the first thing you do when starting a new book - outline, synopsis, or just begin writing?   When I sit down and I start to write, I simply let my fingers do the walking on the keyboard. Something that I’ve found about my characters is that they will only take so much guidance and the pushing in one direction and then they launch an all-out war with you. Characters will never do what you want them to do because they may simply not like the idea? Or they’ll try to take the book in another direction. This happened to me constantly on writing both ‘OceanView: Short stories of rescue”, and “In With the Pack”. I think sitting down and getting too critical about your story and making it more of a business outline may take the fun out of writing. I encourage new writers, current writers, and old writers just to sit down and begin typing up your idea. It’s amazing on how the muse will work and how you’ll have an entire concept without an outline. Now, that doesn’t mean keeping some kind of a steno-notebook or something like that next to you in case you have to stop. Always write down the idea for the next set of events in the story if you have to break for an extended time. I find that eventually I’ll lose the idea or the spot of which I want to take the story. But, if you are one of those that need an outline for the story, or start with a synopsis more power to you. I just find it easier to start typing on an idea and let my muse guide me. 

Do you find a character photo first or wait until you’re further into the book to fill in those details?  I always start with a character name. The name has to jive with the story and the content of the story. I don’t like having names that sound out of place or completely off the wall for the events. I can always see the character in my head so I try to not let a PB (Play-By) picture influence me too much.

What is your strongest trait as a writer - dialogue, POV, characterization, etc?  I think my strongest trait as a writer would have to be my descriptions for scenes and my character dialogue. I’m very in tune with putting my readers into that scene. I want them to be fully emerged with the setting so they can see everything around them. For instance, ‘In With The Pack’ my newest book I wanted them to be able to see the woods, see the snow falling around them, I wanted them to be able to smell the scents around them, and hear my wolves as they run through the pages. I will usually write third person in my books, but ‘In With The Pack’ is the first story that I’ve ever written where it has been completely from the point of view of the character.

What does your favorite male character look like?
I’ve got a lot of male characters, so choosing just one is something I can’t do. All of my characters I love simply because they are based on a personality trait of mine, or the role they play in the books. Yes, even the ones who will be hated throughout the stories are near and dear to me. But if I had to choose a favorite character, I would have to probably say that it’s none other Tal Hunter. I created Tal back in the late nineties and as an actual character I have really seen him grow. Not only, professionally as a law enforcement character, but also as a single dad. When he first introduced himself to me, he was twenty one. Now, as he appears in my stories he’s getting close to his mid-forties. Together, we’ve seen a lot of history together, a lot of hardships and even over coming some demons in his closet. He’s appeared several times, and has done cross overs in several of the stories that I’ve written. No matter the situation, he seems to want to be in the center of things and wants to be helping out. But, Tal has always had a very genuine soul. He’s never forgotten about the people he serves and protects when others have. He remains true to the badge, and is very black and white about his job. I guess that’s why I like him so much, together as a team we’ve been through so much together. 

Tell us about your newest book...where it takes place, how the characters came to you, teasing plot points, etc?  The newest book that I released is ‘In With the Pack’. The book has been available since August 22nd, and that is also the same day I will be kicking off the book signings at Wolf People. The book is a first person perspective from a Wolf’s point of view. It started off as just a kind of dictation from the character Malakai. It really wasn’t intended to really go anywhere, it was just a short story I sent out to a few other writer’s and friends. But two years later Malakai returned to me asking me if I was going to finish his story. I wasted no time on writing it, and it took me over about a year’s time to complete it from manuscript to final printing. Malakai is a timber wolf that has always had a problem with accepting a pack, or being a part of one. He is definitely a rouge wolf when you meet him. As things progress he makes a horrible error in judgment that he soon finds could be his undoing. The local wolf packs in the area have placed a bounty on his head for his death, as well as a barrage of human hunters looking for him as. Along the way you will meet over wolves (around 11 in all) and characters that understand his plight. The ending I is not something will be expecting. I spent a lot of time in Sandpoint, Idaho at Wolf People of Cocolalla researching wolves and getting to know the handlers. It was pointed out to me from my editor that she really didn’t know a lot about wolves before she went into the story and found them to be fascinating.   This was because of the wonderful people I had the opportunity to work with while researching the wolves and making sure that I provided not only a great story, but I also wanted to provide information about them and their behaviors. There is a lot of misconception about Wolves and I wanted to make sure that I did them justice in this story. However, remember that this a work of fiction so some facts may be fabricated or exaggerated.

What makes a reader keep coming back for more books in a series?  My opinion on what keeps readers coming back is keeping the characters fresh and the plot engrossing. I think it’s great to write a series, having done one myself, in the version of short stories and combine them all into one book. But I think that you need to keep your readers engrossed with the story, keeping the idea and world fresh, and the continuance of the plot. You can’t continue to have your characters do the same thing over and over in every story without any kind of character development or having some kind of expansion to the plot or expanding the world. You’ve already got your readers interested in the plot it’s now your responsibility to keep them engrossed about what is happening within your characters world and to keep them hanging on the edge with the plot twist and where the characters are going and where they have been.

What would you do for fun if you took off a day from writing?
If I took a day off from writing? Come on now, we all know that there is no such thing right? But in the chance that I’m actually free for a day and am able to step away from the computer I enjoy to do a lot of traveling. One perk that works with the wife being off in the summer months is we usually do one large trip a year. Last year, we spent a week in Seattle and even had the privilege to tour the large mansion that was used in the movie ‘Rose Red’ which is based off a Stephen King short story.
     Another thing that I will admit is that I’m a very avid gamer. Some of my favorite series are: ‘Resident Evil’ (Or Biohazard as known by in Japan), ‘Tomb Raider’, ‘Grand Theft Auto’ (I have to get my wise-guy fix in somehow), and Command and Conquer. I rarely watch TV but when I get the chance to I like to watch ‘The First 48’, ‘The X-files’, ‘Ghost Adventures’, and ‘The Walking Dead’. I’m also an avid reader.

What is your favorite meal?  That is easy, Shepard’s Pie.

Who inspires you?  Inspiration comes to me in many ways. I think the biggest inspirations for me today are those who are not afraid to be original. Those who can look the other direction and can take the path less traveled. It’s those people who can achieve things and get further in life than those who choose the easy road, or simply “conform to society”. People who stay original and write their own pieces (music, books, etc.). Music has always been a big inspiration for me. Growing up, I went through some real trials in life and I found that I could always turn to music to help me out with how I was feeling at the time. It’s continued on into adult hood with me and I consider myself a ‘wealth of useless information’ when it comes to trivia about bands, singers, and songs. That is probably why when I’m writing a novel there is a specific playlist that I listen to that speaks louder to me than other groups. For example, when I was writing ‘In With the Pack’ I listened to a lot of Celtic music, as well as various playlists, various artists, and various types of cultural playing of the pan flute. The Muse was more driven and wanting to do things when some kind of music was there that could help place a scene. Life more than anything inspires me and keeps me going. I don’t think that I could ever walk away from writing. My readers give me the inspiration to keep doing what I’m doing, as well as the passion that I’ve had since I was in sixth grade. I think that writing is truly considered a God given talent. Everyone is given something in life that is a gift. I happened to find mine at a young age.

 Grayson Michaels is a multi-genre writer that lives in the inland northwest. He currently resides with his wife in eastern Washington, and northern Idaho. Although he prefers a modern realistic fiction genre over other branches, some of his upcoming novels include mystery, as well as survival horror. ‘In With The Pack’ is his second published novel, while “Oceanview: Short stories of rescue” was released in July 2013. His third book ‘Whispers in the Hallway’ will have a release date sometime in 2015. Grayson has a strong civil service background. He was born in Moscow, but currently resides in the LC-Valley. He’s a writer that isn’t afraid to cross boundaries into unknown territories to create new books. Grayson started writing at a very young age. During his youth he had entered writing contest and competitions including a contest that got him a third place prize in high school for a literary magazine. Some of his hobbies include a broad range of music (which some have dubbed him a jumbled mess of musical chaos), games (Both electronic and board), traveling, photography, blogging, movies, graphic novels, and the paranormal. Grayson also has an abundance of critters that keep him on the move, and keep him entertained. Find him on Facebook


No comments:

Post a Comment