In today’s “Meet the Author” series, I had great pleasure in knowing the thoughts of Michael Shotter, author of “Shards”. He invites you into his world through intimacy and authenticity. His main moto as a writer is to entertain the readers. His Narration touches on a variety of topics from a variety of perspectives and with varying degrees of subtlety.
Michael, welcome to my “Meet the Author” Series. Thanks for being here on my blog. Come on, lets meet Michael and know more about him which is not included in Bio.
1. What and who inspires you to write books? When did you write your first book and how did you choose the genre?
I’d say that my main motivations as a writer are to entertain the reader while simultaneously exploring or conveying a variety of philosophical concepts. Ideally, I want a reader to come away from what I’ve written both satisfied and intellectually stimulated.
In terms of influences, I’ve definitely been inspired by big names in various genres, like Stephen King, Ray Bradbury, and Edgar Allen Poe, as well as less well-known authors like Piers Anthony, Ben Bova, and Lois McMaster Bujold.
As a general rule, I try to avoid targeting or limiting myself to a particular genre when writing as I believe the most interesting stories tend to transcend genre-specific tropes, boundaries, and conventions. That said, I often do lean more heavily toward specific genres with certain stories when it makes sense to do so, such as my most-recent release, “Shards,” which has several strong, recurring horror elements.
2. According to you, what is important to be a writer? Imagination to create stories or is it a narration that is important?
Feeling that you have something meaningful and worthwhile to say is pretty vital in my experience. It’s certainly possible to work competently and effectively as a writer for hire but there’s a lot to be said for the boons that come from genuine, artistic inspiration.
In terms of the individual aspects of writing, like creativity or a command of the language, I generally don’t see any of them being more or less important. At the end of the day, I believe a successful writer strives to pay equal attention to all of them.
3. What is the most surprising thing you discovered while writing your book(s)?
How brutally difficult and draining it can be, mentally, physically, and emotionally.
4. How important is marketing a book in the present condition when every day we see new titles coming up? Any tips to Share?
Marketing is extremely important, particularly when self-publishing, but these days, even most traditional publishers will only do so much for the vast majority of authors and projects from a marketing perspective. For better or worse, in the age of social media, authors have become increasingly responsible for their own successes and failures when it comes to making potential readers aware of their works and I only see that increasing in the future. That said, there are certainly still examples of publishers stepping up and throwing their weight behind a particular author or project under the right set of circumstances but I’d argue that those instances are as rare now as they’ve ever been, and getting rarer all the time.
5. Have any of your books been made into audiobooks? If so, what are the challenges in producing an audio book? Audio books Vs books?
I have a bit of an audio engineering background, so I’m acutely aware of all the time and effort that goes into producing high-quality audio in a variety of circumstances. As a result, I’ve been reluctant to commit to creating audiobooks of my works, particularly because I’d prefer to read them myself. I do think audiobooks will eventually happen in my case but folks definitely shouldn’t hold their breath waiting for them.
6. Traditional Publisher Vs Indie Author, which one is best or why do you prefer one over the other? Can you make a living out of writing?
I believe it’s very situational. I know plenty of authors who’ve had and continue to have positive experiences working with publishers of various sizes. I’ve also heard some real horror stories about bad publishing deals over the years. Personally, I’m not averse to the idea of working with a publisher under the right circumstances; however, I’ve also become quite comfortable self publishing and promoting my works at this point, so I find myself less and less inclined to pursue those sorts of opportunities as I become more widely known and read.
It’s certainly possible to make a living as a writer but it generally takes a lot of hard work over a span of many years to establish oneself in the profession. In my view, writing definitely shouldn’t be seen as a quick or easy path to financial success, despite any occasional exceptions that sometimes do occur.
7. According to you, what is the most unethical practice in the publishing industry?
Any form of plagiarism is about as scummy as things can get. Another thing to watch out for are contracts that attempt to overreach in terms of securing publishing rights across multiple mediums (i.e. film, TV, etc.,) and that seek to retain rights well beyond what would generally be considered a reasonable amount of time.
8. Tell us a little bit about your books, your target audience, and what you would like readers to take away from your stories.
Sure. I’ve published four books targeted at adult readers so far, “The Big Men” in 2017, “309” in 2018, “Academic Displacement” in 2019, and “Shards” in 2020.
“The Big Men” is a paranormal thriller written from the perspective of a young man who, through an escalating series of events, discovers that he has the ability to extract a mysterious substance from powerful men via an unorthodox method that can leave them completely at his mercy… or worse.
“309” is a sci-fi, action/adventure novel that introduces Lisa Hudson, a dedicated and determined journalism student, who finds her life and her entire existence upended when a world-altering event sets her on a path to uncover its origin.
“Academic Displacement” is a sci-fi, horror novelette that begins to bridge the gap between the worlds of “309” and “The Big Men” even as it tells its own, unique story. It reveals the fate of Roy Carter, the dean of faculty briefly encountered by Lisa Hudson at the beginning of “309.”
Most recently, “Shards” is a short-fiction anthology that continues to explore the connections between “309” and “The Big Men.” It includes the previously-published “Academic Displacement” in addition to seven, all-new stories that similarly stand on their own while making their own contributions to the overarching universe established in the first two novels.
One thing I hope readers take away from all of my books is the sense that they work on a few different levels. Each narrative touches on a variety of topics from a variety of perspectives and with varying degrees of subtlety. In short, they are all intentionally designed to be both entertaining in a simple, straightforward way while still providing a layered, nuanced experience when considered more thoroughly. At least, that’s one of the core, fundamental ideas behind them.
9. Are you working on anything at present that you would like to share with your readers?
Absolutely. I’m currently working on my next book, a futuristic, sci-fi novella which I’ll be officially announcing later this year.
10. How do you juggle/manage writing between different genres? Do you have a preference?
I’m very fortunate in that I’ve never had much difficulty switching or adapting my writing style to suit the type of story I’m trying to tell. I suspect part of that is just a result of making sensible choices and not trying to force narrative elements into a particular genre to satisfy some arbitrary requirement. If something needs to be scary, I make it scary. If something needs to be technical, I make it technical. If something needs to be emotional or heartfelt, I don’t shy away from that. To me, it’s all about doing what serves the story best and doing whatever makes it feel most true and real, regardless of any shifts in genre or tone that might require.
1. If you could go back and change anything in the novels which you have already written what would that be.
Content-wise, I’m very happy with all the books I’ve published so far; however, I did feel compelled to go back and redo the layout of my first novel, “The Big Men,” in 2020 as I concluded that the typeface I’d originally selected for it was a bit too large. That also gave me an opportunity to tidy up a few, minor typographical errors, which had always bothered me once I became aware of them, so the end result is a much cleaner, more compact, and less expensive to print version of the book, which I’m pretty happy about.
2. What famous author do you wish would be your mentor?
Honestly, that’s not something I find myself wanting. To me, a big part of becoming a writer has been finding and developing my own voice and interpretation of the craft. That said, I certainly wouldn’t turn down or snub the advice of any of the masters given the opportunity to receive it. That’d be a terrible thing to waste.
3. Reading or writing
4. What do you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Particularly when I first started writing, I’d sometimes act out scenes, especially those involving a lot of dialogue, to make sure the words felt “right” when spoken aloud.
5. What books defined your childhood or got you into reading? How many books are there in your bookshelves?
“The Hobbit,” “Pet Sematary,” and Edgar Allen Poe’s short stories spring to mind.
Most of my reading, especially as a child, was done via the library and I’ve definitely gotten away from amassing and maintaining big, physical collections of things in recent years, so my bookshelf is actually pretty sparse. I’d say I probably have about a hundred or so “classics” tucked away in boxes that I’d consider displaying on a shelf someday, plus a respectable, little TBR pile that I keep handy.
6. Who is the author you admire most? Favorite Book?
Stephen King for sheer output and variety. Without thinking about it too hard, I’ll go with my gut and say “The Gunslinger.”
7. If you had to describe yourself in three words, what would they be?
creative, persistent, thoughtful
8. I aspire to become
…better than I was yesterday.
9. Writing books for me is
10. Lastly, what else do you want your readers to know? Anything you want to share?
In addition to my already-published works, I have a variety of new releases planned over the next few years. Be sure to keep an eye out for them with the following links!
Check out my Amazon author page: http://amazon.com/author/michaelshotter
Follow me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/shotterwriting
Like me on Facebook: http://facebook.com/shotterwriting
Thank you, Micheal, for joining us. Readers, go and order his book and follow him for awesome updates.
Michael Shotter is a lifelong resident of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. As a lover of science, fiction, and fantasy, his works aim to push beyond the boundaries of traditional genre fiction into new and exciting realms born from literary craftsmanship
Have you read any of his books? What are your thoughts? if not, its time to pick up.