Thursday 17 December 2020

Interview With Author Michael James

Today I have another author interview, this time with Michael James who is here to talk about his writing and urban fantasy. Enjoy.

Interview With Michael James

Why don’t you begin by sharing a little about yourself?

My name is Michael James, and I’m an indie author. I started writing when I realized my dream of becoming a billionaire crime fighting ninja detective was probably not feasible and I needed a fallback plan. My first book, "Trapped," was nominated for the Michael James award for outstanding books written by Michael James and placed second. I’m still quite proud of that.

I live in Canada with my family. When I’m not writing, I do Canadian things - saying sorry a lot, being polite, talking about the weather, you know how it goes.

Could you tell us a bit about your latest book? 

My latest book is called The Hotel at the End of Time. It’s like if Jason Bourne and Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy had a baby and then that baby was raised by Dr. Who. It’s about a woman who escaped the Hotel and their efforts to get her back. 

It’s not your typical Urban Fantasy novel. There are no werewolves or vampires or monsters. It’s a very real story that happens to have some light-to-medium amounts of magic. But even the magic system is flawed and problematic; there are no easy solutions in this book.

How long have you been writing, and how many books have you published to date?

I’ve been at this for a few years. I think I started in 2017 or so. This is my second book, my first is a horror-thriller called “Trapped”, about a group of people trapped inside their houses after an alien attack. 

I like putting normal, non-heroic people in extraordinary situations. None of my characters are good at fighting, or have impressive powers, or anything like that. They’re people doing the best they can in terrible situations.

What did you find most challenging about writing your book?

I am a big believer that any element introduced in a book has to tie into the central narrative, but I’m also an exploratory writer. I usually have a couple of big set pieces planned, but not the clear path between them. Because I believe everything needs a purpose, this can result in a lot of rewriting to make it all seamless for the reader.

I end up backtracking a lot. Like something will show up in the third act and I realize I haven’t done the work to make that thing land, so I need to go back and add elements.

What is the hardest part of writing Urban Fantasy fiction? 

Inventing, and then sticking to, the rules of the fictional universe. I find it so frustrating when writers cheat and break their own rules. You see this in some stories where the author will introduce a plot-solving McGuffin and then never reference it again (I’m looking directly at you, Time Turner from Harry Potter). 

Most readers in this genre are obviously willing to suspend disbelief, but as a writer, I need to respect their time and make sure I don’t break any of the rules I invented. This can lead to some pretty challenging spots when I realize I’ve written my characters into circumstances that are awful to get out of. 

But hey, that’s the fun. Figuring out how my characters can exist in this fictional world and the implications of living there.

What advice would you give beginning writers?

It’s so trite and I get so tired of hearing this. But it’s true. Write. Do ever wonder why this is always the advice everyone gives? Let me tell you why.

The truth is, it can take forever to find your voice, and your voice is the most important part of your writing. Only you can sound like you and once you do, you’ll have unlocked your potential. But when you start, you don’t really sound like you. Not yet. You sound like a mash-up of all your favorite authors that you’re trying to emulate. And that’s great! But you need to write long enough that you figure out your own unique quirks, your own flourishes that let people know they’re reading your book. 

The only way to get through this is to write. There’s no shortcuts in this career, no list of bullet points you can follow. You have to put in the hours and write.

Why did you write this book? What was your inspiration?

I got a little tired of the “smirking, quirky female-MC” trope, where it seemed like every book in this genre was quip-happy protagonists who loved werewolves. To be clear, I’ve read a ton of books that follow that pattern, and I mostly love them, but I was looking for something a little more grounded. I couldn’t find anything, so why not write one? 

Vain, my main character, is not perfect. She’s got serious scars leftover from the Hotel, and she’s exhausted from being hunted. I tried to make her as human as possible. She makes a lot of mistakes. Half the other characters in the book hate her. She’s filled with self-doubt. 

So mostly, this book is a great alternative if you’re looking for something a little different in the Urban Fantasy genre, something that doesn’t include hot, sexy vampires or hot, sexy werewolves.

What did you enjoy most about writing your book?

I know I’m not supposed to laugh at my own jokes, but I think this book is incredibly funny, and writing the jokes was my favorite part of the process. I love writing that can make me laugh, and even though I alternate between comedic and darkly serious, I try to make sure the reader will get at least one full laugh from each chapter.

What’s your next project? Any upcoming book secrets you care to reveal? 

The sequel to The Hotel at the End of Time, tentatively titled “The Elevator to Everywhere.” I’m about halfway through it and hope to have it released this year. My goal is to complete this three-book series by the end of the year, although we’ll see if I’m able to pull this off. Fingers crossed!

For more on the author check out his website:

The Hotel at the End of Time

Vain is the only person to ever escape from the Hotel at the end of time. On her way out, she took their prized possession: A Padlock that grants immortality.

They will do anything to get it back.

The forces of the Hotel are aligned against her: mundane items turned into weapons; a group of multi-dimensional felons collectively named The Wyatts; and their leader, Trick, a mild-to-medium psychopath with a fondness for impractical jokes.

Everything changes when Vain meets Emma, a timid grad student with impossible and terrifying powers. Together, they are propelled into an adventure that will see them battle the Wyatts, blow up several objects of significant value, and quite by accident, discover a way to stop the Hotel.

Even with Emma, Vain has a lot of problems to deal with.

She’s exhausted from being hunted.
Stopping the Hotel might kill them.
She has a hangnail.

But Vain is resourceful. Vain is clever.

And she always has a plan.

You can find The Hotel at the End of Time at Amazon 

Saturday 5 December 2020

Book Spotlight: The Sigil: A Novel

Today I have a book spotlight for you on the upcoming LGBTQ and dark urban fantasy novel, The Sigil by Shakeil Kanish and Larissa Mandeville. The book is currently on preorder and will be released this coming March. Enjoy.

The Sigil: A Novel by Shakeil Kanish and Larissa Mandeville

Lake’s brother Devlin was murdered right in front of him. Simply because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Or was he? Why, then, does Lake think Devlin knew he was going to die before they ever set foot in the gas station that night? As he obsesses over his brother’s death, Lake begins to uncover a hidden world full of forbidden magic and growing danger. Now he’s stuck, caught between the world that his brother was meant for and his own. Lake is beginning to realize that no one and nowhere is safe.

Nova Rathers may not be especially powerful in the Mage world but she makes up for it with a magical bag of snacks and a body constructed by the Gods to slay. Desperate to be more than her lineage, she finds herself teamed up with a group of misfits and, in her mind, the weakest creature of all - a gida...a powerless human. Together, they start to unravel the lies that built their world and continue to hold it hostage. Nova’s last year at Breyburn Academe was never going to be easy but she had no idea that it could ever get this bad.

Lake, Nova, and their newfound friends are about to find the truth behind what has been hunting them. But knowing is only half the battle. Even if they survive, will the rest of the world remain standing?

You can preorder it on Amazon
Or from the publisher, Three Furies Press

About the Author

Shakeil Kanish loves to write, which, considering you’re holding his book, makes perfect sense. The Sigil is his debut novel and he’s super excited about being an openly gay author and getting the chance to write about an openly gay protagonist. He feels it’s something sorely missing from the writing world, and he wants underrepresented kids everywhere to be able to root for a new type of hero. He loves playing video games and enjoys snacking down on apple pie, as any sane person should. You can become his best friend by asking him to duet any song from the Greatest Showman. No, seriously, please do it.

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