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Monday, June 4, 2012

Author of the Week, Michael Shean, Interview


Michael Shean

About the Author:

Michael Shean was born amongst the sleepy hills and coal mines of southern West Virginia in 1978. Taught to read by his parents at a very early age, he has had a great love of the written word since the very beginning of his life. Growing up, he was often plagued with feelings of isolation and loneliness; he began writing off and on to help deflect this, though these themes are often explored in his work as a consequence. At the age of 16, Michael began to experience a chain of vivid nightmares that has continued to this day; it is from these aberrant dreams that he draws inspiration.


In 2001, Michael left West Virginia to pursue a career in the tech industry.  He settled in the Washington, DC area as a web designer and graphic artist. As a result, his writing was put aside and not revisited until five years later. In 2006 he met his wife who urged him to pick up his writing once more. Though the process was very frustrating at first, in time the process of polishing and experimentation yielded the core of what would become his first novel, Shadow of a Dead Star. In 2009 the first draft of book was finished although it would not be until 2011 he would be satisfied enough with the book to release it.


Michael’s work is extensively character-driven, but also focuses on building engaging worlds in which those characters interact. His influences include H.P. Lovecraft, William Gibson, Cormac McCarthy, Philip K. Dick, and Clark Ashton Smith.

Find the Author:

Goodreads | Twitter | Website | Author's Facebook | Bone Wires Facebook Page |  Shadow of a Dead Star Facebook Page |   




Interview with Michael Shean

Holly: Hi Michael! Would you tell us a little bit about yourself?


Michael Shean: Well, as the bio says, I grew up in relatively rural settings, but I was never really a country boy.  I was always looking to the modern and the future beyond that.  That's carried on into today and my career outside of writing - I'm a huge IT geek - but my first love has and always will be creative writing.  I was just recently married, too; getting published and working on various books while trying to juggle my relationship and my daytime career is an adventure in and of itself!

Holly: Your life is an action/suspense novel; your stuck on a ship and its about to blow. If it was just you, you would jump overboard and get away fast, but there are a few people that were being held captive on the ship too. What do you do?

Michael Shean: Wouldn't be a good protagonist - or a decent human being - if I didn't try to get them out.  Knowing me, though, I'd end up blowing myself up in the process of getting them out of there.

Holly: Your life is a paranormal romance/fantasy novel; how do save the love of your life from the bad guys?

Michael Shean: Through the power of love, of course.  And magical firepower. 

Holly: When did you realize that you would like to write and publish a book?

Michael Shean: Oh, I've wanted that since I was young enough to read.  This is a lifelong dream finally realized.

Holly: When do you prefer to read?

Michael Shean: On the train to/from work (it's all the time I have!)

Holly: What is the hardest part of writing in your opinion?

Michael Shean: Time, time, time.  Christ, if I had more time I'd have so much more cranked out.

Holly: What is the easiest part of writing in your opinion?

Michael Shean: Worldbuilding.  I love it, and because I see it in dreams it's easy to conjure up!

Holly: How much of you or people you know do you think make it into the characters in your novel(s)?

Michael Shean: Not much that I can identify, but of course coming from dreams who can say? It's how you process your experiences, after all.

Holly: Can you tell us a little bit about your book Shadow of a Dead Star?

Michael Shean: Shadow of a Dead Star is, at least on its surface, a police procedural thriller set in Seattle of the near future.  It's about a man, Tom Walken, whose job is to keep dark and illicit technology out of the hands of Americans.  That's become a tall order in a nation where most people seem too happy to discard morality for technological convenience.  His most recent assignment is to intercept three little girls-turned-sexual appliances, called Princess Dolls, who are being smuggled into the country.  Clearly it all goes to hell, and in his trying to pick up the pieces Walken discovers more and more about the forces driving his immoral world - the question is if his mind and soul can handle the burden.  Beneath its sci-fi thriller trappings, however, it's a meditation on humanity and belief.

Holly: Which came first for you, the characters or the plot?

Michael Shean: All of them at once, really.  Shadow, like so many of my writing, came to me almost fully-realized in dreams.
  
Holly: Can you tell us a little about your first publishing experience?

Michael Shean: It's been pretty interesting, really - Curiosity Quills is a brand new publisher, so we've all had to learn a lot about the process moving forward from signing the contract.  They're fantastic people, though, and I can't say enough good things about them.  Just make sure you get a good editor with whomever you sign, and you'll be in business.

Holly: Can you tell us a few do’s and don’ts for aspiring authors?

Michael Shean: DO write all the god damned time.  DON'T make excuses.  Your work isn't going to conjure itself into being on its own.  Seriously, just keep at it, every day.  You'll be shocked how much you get done.

Holly: Where can we purchase Shadow of a Dead Star?

Michael Shean: Shadow of a Dead Star is currently available in print and electronic forms on Amazon.com.

Holly: Can we expect more novels from you in 2012?

Michael Shean: Two novels will be out this year, Bone Wires and Redeye.  Both are set in the Wonderland universe; Bone Wires is a more tradtional noir thriller set in Seattle of 2076, two years before the books of the Wonderland Cycle take place, and Redeye is the second book in the Wonderland Cycle itself.  There might be even more work, but we'll see where things go.

Holly: Are you working on anything at the moment?

Michael Shean: Finishing up Redeye, and then I move on to another project which has yet to be announced; I'll let you know as soon as I can talk about it, though!

Holly: Do you think you may ever go into another genre?

Michael Shean: Oh sure.  I'm not defined by genre, and I have plenty of experience with reading and working in others beyond science fiction.

Holly: Who or what influenced your writing once you began?

Michael Shean: When I was younger, it was my family - but now that I'm older, it's my wife who's really gotten me to move forward on things.  I know you might mean literary influence, but at this point it's the people around me who're influencing me the most.

Holly: Is this the first novel you ever wrote or just the first published?

Michael Shean: First written.

Holly: What was your inspiration for this novel, or the series in general?

Michael Shean: Hooray for nightmares!  Imagine waking up every night in a sweat for a week straight dreaming of people being driven into emptiness by an unfeeling, invisible hand - a hand that sought to warp the world and override the mind and soul of every living thing.  That sounds dramatic, but it's how I got there.

Holly: Do you think you will have a follow up book to this novel or is it just a stand-alone novel?

Michael Shean: Shadow of a Dead Star is the first of a trilogy, called the Wonderland Cycle.  Two more are close on the way!

Holly: Can you tell us some of your latest news, what are your plans for 2012?

Michael Shean: Writing, writing, writing.  Two books coming out this year, as I've said, maybe an anthology and a third novel - though I suspect that any future work might not not be released until early next year.  We'll have to see.

Holly: Where do you see yourself at in five years—writing wise?

Michael Shean: With way too many books under my belt, and hopefully a successful career that takes me out of the dayjob and into writing full time.

Holly: Can you tell us a little about what attracted you to this genre?

Michael Shean: Well as I said before, I love the future - but I also feel that you can say a lot without looking too preachy.  Social activism inside, delicious story-chocolate outside.
  
Holly: Do you have anything you would like to say to your readers?

Michael Shean: Well, first, thank you.  I wouldn't be here if it weren't for you, and I can't go farther without your support. I love hearing from my readers, so I hope to hear from more in the future!  Second, thank you for reading in general - with so many media outlets available now, it's good to see that the written word still has preference with so many.  I hope you'll keep reading, even if it's not another of my books - we live in an age where technology is everywhere, which only means that there's more written work available than ever before!

Holly: Are you reading anything interesting at the moment? If so, what is it?

Michael Shean: No time at the present, but I was recently reading a lot of James Ellroy's work.  Clandestine, White Jazz, etc.

Holly: You’re out demon hunting (because you’re that kind of awesome) and you come across one about to kill a young couple. He has not seen you yet; what is your first course of action?

Michael Shean: In that sort of situation, I guess I'd pounce him in time for the kids to get out of there.  I'd have the trailing, after all - it's not like it wouldn't be a hard fight either way.  I'm not big on letting things take their course if it's going to hurt someone else in the process.

Holly: Your life is a contemporary romance novel; how do your meet the love of your life?

Michael Shean: On a train, having lost my ticket and having to get a new one - no doubt we'd gotten jammed into a queue to board, and I'd struck up an awkward conversation with her that eventually turned out to be intriguing.  Boring, I know.

Holly: Your life is a horror novel; how do you save the day from the bad guys?

Michael Shean: No idea.  I will say, however, that forbidden magic and a training montage will doubtless be involved!

Holly: Your life is a romantic comedy; what humors but very embarrassing thing happens on your first date/when you meet the love of your life?

Michael Shean: I imagine it would have something to do with an amorous dog.

Random Quickies!

Holly: Vampires or Werewolves?

Michael Shean: Vampires.  I love me some ancient, horrifyingly alien dead people.  That don't sparkle or flounce about in formalwear.

Holly: Witches or Zombies?

Michael Shean: Witches.  I am down with the magic sisters.

Holly: Supernatural or Psych? (TV Shows)

Michael Shean: Psych.  Because you have to laugh your ass off in the face of all that's terrible.
Holly: Ebook or hardcover/paperback?

Michael Shean: Ebooks are the future, but paperbacks are now.  Give me print when I can get it conveniently!

Holly: Black or pink?

Michael Shean: Black.

Holly: Favorite author?

Michael Shean: William Gibson.

Holly: Favorite book?

Michael Shean: Marcus Aurelius's 'Meditations'.

Holly: Horror or romance?

Michael Shean: Horror.

Holly: Contemporary or fantasy?

Michael Shean: Both! Hopefully mixed.

Holly: Favorite movie?

Michael Shean: Charade.

Holly: Favorite book to movie?

Michael Shean: Blade Runner (though I know the two are very much not alike.)

Holly: Cats or dogs?

Michael Shean: Cats.

Holly: Winter or summer?

Michael Shean: Winter.



Books by Michael Shean

The Wonderland Cycle

#1: Shadow of a Dead Star

Serialized Novel - to be published soon

Bone Wires




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