Friday, January 2, 2009

[Interview] N. P. Michaels

N. P. Michaels was born and raised in Michigan.

He made his debut as an author with the release of Shadow Haven: Battle Across The Sands (PublishAmerica, 2008).

In this slightly edited email interview, he talks about his concerns as a writer:

When did you start writing?

I started writing in 1999, though I didn't become serious until 2005.

In 2005 I was writing a story which is the pre-story to Shadow Haven. At the time it wasn't though. Other stories began to sprout during this time and then my mother fell ill of cancer. It was her that pushed me to believe I could be a published writer and during the years that followed, I re-designed the story to the current one.

I started by getting the 'main story' down and plotting it through each book. Other major and minor stories would come as I continuously re-wrote the story. As soon as my first book was complete I sought a publisher.

How would you describe the writing you are doing?

An adventure for sure, but it’s really hard work and takes a lot of time. But when you see your book take shape, it makes it all worth it.

I write what I love, and I think that’s important to any writer. I love to write stories and seeing readers getting excited about the world I created.

In the writing you are doing, who influenced you most?

My father and all the weird and fascinating shows I watched growing up. Though I would have to give a nodded to J. R. R. Tolkien and the world he created.

How have your personal experiences influenced the direction of your writing?

My mother’s death would be the biggest by far. She really is the spark of everything to me.

What are the biggest challenges that you face?

Right now, being everything which includes: writer, editor, promoter, webmaster, etc. To some, this may be easy, but to me it's not.

How do you deal with these challenges?

Take it day by day and stay positive.

How many books have you written so far?

Shadow Haven: Battle Across The Sands (PublishAmerica, 2008) which tells the story of a Great War that plagued the world of Esura because the wizard Aurum had turned evil and created a super race known as the democ. And over many years, Aurum and his forces destroyed many kingdoms and races. But just when hope seemed to have been lost, a new order of wizards called the Autar were sent down from the spiritual realm of Heldaia to re-organize the forces of good. They fought Aurum for five years and, in the final battle, they defeated him and the world was saved. But now, six hundred years later, the world starts to hear whispers of the dead wizard's return.

The novel raises the question: Did Aurum do the impossible and return from the grave? Or is some other shadowing threat involved?

Do you write everyday?

Monday to Friday. I try to take the weekends off.

How does each session start?

I open my notebook and read over my last few paragraphs. Then I look over my notes for the chapter and turn on some music or talk radio and try to create new things within a chapter.

The session ends after about eight or 10 hours. Or, generally, when I run out of ideas.

How long did it take you to write it?

Pre-story and all, about six years.

How did you choose a publisher for the book?

I rushed into that a bit, and rushed into it honestly.

Why this publisher? Nothing in general caught my eye. My book was ready and I needed a publisher.

The advantage is that my book is in print and can be read by all. The disadvantages are I never expected to have to do more than the publisher when it comes to editing and promoting my work. I am pushing harder on myself than I ever thought possible, to do what must be done.

Which aspects of the work that you put into the book did you find most difficult?

Humor and war really are my weak points. I’ve never been a good joke teller or even creative enough to make one up and when it comes to war, that’s something I never experienced.

I had to use what experiences I had that were funny and try to make use of them. For war, I read up and watched as many movies as possible. The only other way was to join the war and that doesn't sit well with my beliefs.

Which aspects of the work did you enjoy most?

Writing the mythology of the world in Shadow Haven, from the very origins, to beyond.

I love, as a reader, finding out things beyond the story of the books -- where it started, where it’s ending and how it got to where it is.

What sets the book apart from the other things you've written?

That’s easy! It’s the world that surrounds it. It’s so indepth that I could make many more books before and after the current series is over.

What will your next book be about?

It will continue from where the first book of Shadow Haven left off.

What would you say has been your most significant achievement as a writer?

Hearing my readers say they enjoyed my book and world as much as I.

What are your main concerns as a writer?

Keeping the story original and entertaining.

I deal with this by constantly thinking ahead and using my experiences, new and old.

Related books:

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Related articles:

"Shadow Haven: Battle Across the Sands by N.P. Michaels", Book Review, by Janica Unruh, June 6, 2008, Blogcritics.org.

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