This arrived a bit sooner than I expected! Today I bring you an interview I held with a talented chap with the same first name as me. That automatically makes him great.
That’s how it works, right?
Anyway, I hope you enjoy this rather amusing interview with the author behind Beyond Redemption. Check out my review of it down below.
- First of all, tell me about yourself! What do you write?
I’m a liar and a thief. I read great books, think, ‘I wanna write a book like that!’ and then fuck it up so badly no one recognizes the source.
I’m off the grid and associate with reprobates. For twenty years I recorded albums in dank basements and mixed bands in clubs so smoky the air was blue.
I’m a scoundrel and a drunk. Shower beers and late night whiskeys to undo the knots life ties in me.
I’m an escape artist and the chains of reality will never hold me.
And, I suppose, I’m either an author or a writer. I write dark fantasy novels and brutal science fiction. I like to pick people apart, lay bare their delusions and most heart-felt beliefs.
But mostly I’m a liar.
- How do you develop your plots and characters?
I don’t. That sounds like work. I start with a theme I want to explore, and maybe a vague idea of who the characters are. Sometimes I know the end of the book. Sometimes, as with BEYOND REDEMPTION, all I know is the title. I like to discover as I write, I like to be surprised.
- Tell us about your current project.
Due to my current situation (which I won’t bore you with) I have a chunk of day where my only option is to write, and a chunk of the day where my best option is to edit. Because of my answer for question #2, I tend to spend more time editing than writing.
I always have several projects on the go. Right now I have a dark fantasy novel (City of Sacrifice) in the final stages of editing before I send it to my agent. I have another dark fantasy novel (Obsidian Heart) out with some awesome beta-readers. I have a written non-genre novel (The Millennial Manifesto) waiting to be edited. Finally, I’ve just started a science fiction detective/noir novel (Bleed).
Oh, and I just wrote a fantasy short story for the Art of War Anthology and gotta edit it before the end of the month.
- Who would you say is the main character of your novels? And tell me a little bit about them!
Let’s just focus on the first two Manifest Delusions novels, Beyond Redemption, and The Mirror’s Truth. The main characters are a trio of villains, a grizzled old warrior, a deranged Kleptic, and a sociopath who thinks he’s The Greatest Swordsman in the World. They are irredeemable, beyond redemption as it were. They are victims to their past and to the delusions. They want better and to better themselves, but have no idea how to achieve it.
The thing is I tend to stay away from good guys and bad guys. They’re just people with conflicting desires. I like showing the reader both sides. Heroes do terrible things. Villains have redeeming qualities.
- What advice would you give new writers on how to delve into creative fiction?
Don’t! Seriously, I don’t want the competition. Go be a forklift driver or something.
What? You’re going to ignore me? Fine!
Everyone is different, but for me the piece of advice that changed everything was ‘FINISH WHAT YOU START.’ No matter how bad you think your novel is, you won’t really know until you’ve actually written the whole thing. And even then, after you’ve typed ‘The End,’ that’s just the beginning. Some magical things happen when you finish that first novel. You now suddenly know you are capable of finishing a novel! Don’t underestimate that, it’s huge. The second novel is much easier. Also, a finished novel—even a shitty one—can be edited and rewritten, it can be turned into a much better novel.
For me, this boils down to the mantra: DON’T THINK.
Don’t question your book. Don’t worry about how much of a turd it is. Don’t go back and reread and edit and rewrite until the first draft is finished. All these things are sabotage. Later, when you have a novel or two under your belt, you can try playing with your process.
- What real-life inspirations did you draw from for the worldbuilding within your book?
The basic premise for the Manifest Delusions books is that reality is responsive to the beliefs of humanity and that the people most capable of twisting reality are the insane. The delusional is, effectively, the wizards of my world. The thing is crazy people aren’t great at making sane choices.
A lot of study went into the Manifest Delusions magic system. Each type of delusionist is based on a real-world mental disorder. So in a way, madness is my inspiration.
But that’s just the surface. The so-called ‘sane’ suffer a host of delusions too. Religion. Politics. Economics. Political borders. Race. The Queen of England. Alabama. None of these things are real, they’re shared mass-delusions. The question now: What happens in a reality that makes these things real?
It’s possible I might sneak some social commentary into the books.
7) What inspires you to write?
I love telling stories. I have these ideas and it freaks me out when I share them and other people enjoy them too. I’m a praise junkie. Days when I wake up and there’s no new fan-mail or reviews are depressing.
YOU MUST LOVE ME!
- What was the hardest part of writing this book?
Knowing when it’s finished. This is true on several levels. Stories don’t really end, but you have to know when to end this story. Is it satisfying? Is there a moment of beautiful denouement?
Then there’s editing. I can edit forever. There’s always a sentence that can be tightened or another scene to write or cut.
Books are never finished, they’re given up on.
- What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?
I like writing endings. Most of my books involved multiple characters and plot lines. At the beginning, they’re littered about, seemingly unrelated. By the end, they’ve all come together in some kind of metaphorical train-wreck.
- Did you learn anything from writing this book and what was it?
- a) There’s always something new to learn with each book.
- b) Apparently, I have to keep relearning the old lessons over and over.
- It’s sometimes difficult to get into understanding the characters we write. How do you go about it?
I don’t know. I find characters don’t really coalesce until the editing stage.
- What are your future project(s)?
- If you couldn’t be an author, what ideal job would you like to do?
- What is your preferred methods to have readers get in touch with or follow you (i.e., website, personal blog, Facebook page, here on Goodreads, etc.) and link(s)?
Web Page: http://michaelrfletcher.com/
I’m always around and always happy to chat.
Many thanks for the great interview Michael!
If anyone would like to contact me for an interview or book review, refer to this past article for future reference (especially on the latter)