Hello everyone! Today's interview is with Michael Drakich, author of The Brotherhood of Piaxia, Grave is the Day and Vows Above. It's a little different in format this time. Along with the usual questions, I've added a few either/or questions to start with. I've found these are a pretty interesting way to get to know the author straight off, are they a lover of old physical books or are they firmly within the modern technological age? Are they advocates or self published or traditional publishing? Michael is the guinea pig for this new addition, and I think his answers are perfectly representative of the reader and writer that he is, which is only illuminated further in the longer questions that take place below. But enough about that, read on to get to know Michael Drakich!
Ebook or physical book: Ebook
Fantasy or reality: Fantasy
Traditionally or self published: Self published
Novella or epic: Epic
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Let's get a little deeper:
Your author’s bio on Goodreads says “no awards, no accolades, no writing degrees or diplomas, only a deep rooted love of reading and writing”...Are you a writer full-time or is this something you’re juggling with another job?
MD:As a relatively new author, I am still employed in my thirty-two year career as a Realtor.
What pushed you to start writing your own novels, and what challenges did you find yourself up against?
MD: I have always been an avid reader, but the years of bringing up a family interfered with that love. As my kids became older and parenting requirements changed I found time again to read. I picked up a novel some six and a half years ago by a reputed author. It was a fantasy and part of a very successful series, even spawning its own television series. Having high expectations, I read it through and thought it was terrible. I believed I could do better. On Monday, February 20, 2006, at 5:23:53 PM I sat down at my computer and started writing. It took me ten months to bang out my first novel. When I showed it to a few friends, the lukewarm reception told me what I needed to know. It was crap. From there I joined a local writer’s group. Disappointed in how slow the pace was I joined an online workshop. From there I went to a different workshop, and then onto a third one. Through constant writing, editing, critiquing and discussion, I learned the craft. I began the querying process to agents but to no avail. Then a year and a half ago I landed a traditional publishing contract with a small publisher, a very proud moment. Again, my expectations were more than they should have been. As a result, I have chosen to self publish this latest work so that its success or failure can be laid at the feet of only one person, me.
What I love about that bio is the role your love of reading and writing obviously plays in your life. What are some of your favourite books and authors?
MD: As a youth, my passion ran for science fiction and fantasy. I loved all the old masters, Heinlein, Asimov, and Tolkien. I find my favourites by each, Stranger In A Strange Land, The Foundation series and Lord of the Rings as constant re-reads, each at least five times. In my middle years I began to buy books, not by the author, but by the blurb. If the blurb appealed, then I would chance it. I read some not so good books in those years, but discovered others by authors who since have gone on to great success, for example, Iain Banks. I am a great fan of his writing. The last six years have been dedicated to reading the works of unpublished authors in workshops as we collectively strive to improve our skills. There’s a lot of talent out there. It just needs to be discovered.
What is your writing process?
MD: I've read how new authors set goals of one thousand words a day. Hogwash. I’ve also still had to go to work and earn a living. When I decide on starting a new novel, it usually begins with a concept and I begin. As I go, start to calculate the plot twists and turns. I always leave my WIP up on my screen. As ideas arise, I bullet them at the bottom so that they are always visible and as reminders to incorporate as I go. I try to write a minimum of a paragraph a day, just to keep the project in my mind. At times, I’ll sit and pound out a couple of chapters at once. When the story reaches a turning point, I find myself immersed in its completion.
Your books fall within the fantasy and science fiction genres, what is it about these genres that inspire you to write?
MD: One word, escapism. One can argue that all books offer that, but in my opinion, speculative fiction offers the greatest amount.
Do you plan to keep writing within these genres or would you like to try writing within a different one?
MD: In all honesty, my next book is a thriller. But truth be told, there is a touch of fantasy in it.
Your latest book is The Brotherhood of Piaxia, would you like to tell us anything about it?
MD: Remember how I earlier said my first book was crap? This was it. I had put it aside and gone on a written two other novels in my quest to be an author when I decided to revisit this work. Needless to say, I did an absolute re-write. Along with the help of my superb editor, Kate Richards, (she deserves a plug) I am very pleased with the final product.
Are there any plans to turn it into a series?
MD: Not a series that requires all, no. I like books to stand alone. I’ve read many series over my years that required me to read them all to get closure and many that can be read separately. I think that readers out there should not have to chase down earlier stories to know what’s going on. Saying that, I do have another planned using the same cast and world, but it would not require the reading of this one to be enjoyable.
Reading your blog posts on Goodreads, it’s interesting to see an author navigate their way through the new world of online publishing, digital distribution and book blogs. What are some of the things you've learned and do you have any advice for writers who may be reading this?
MD: If you read them all, then you know the trials facing all new authors. I cannot think of any other advice today than of one of passion. As a new writer, passion will drive you to produce a better and better product. Passion will allow you to accept all criticisms as solid, concrete advice. Passion will lead you to research the industry and rely on yourself and not others. Passion will guide you to your goals.
A big thank you to Michael Drakich for taking the time to answer my questions! To get to know Michael even better, be sure to head over to his Goodreads page where he keeps a small blog.
Michael's book The Brotherhood of Piaxia can be found at: Smashwords, Amazon, Amazon.uk and Barnes and Noble