Monday, November 11, 2013

Author Interview: Michael Thies

Recently, I had the opportunity to interview the wonderful debutante author Michael E. Thies. Mike's debut novel, The Trials of the Core, the first book in the series Guardian of the Core, is expected to be published in December this year! We had a discussion over his book, his writing and other stuffs. 

Hi Mike! Its such a pleasure to have you here! Welcome to my blog. To start the interview, first tell us something about yourself.

I am 23 years old and I am from Wisconsin. I actually just had a big change of heart concerning my profession in the past couple of months to be an English teacher. So, although I already have a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in Advertising and Creative Writing, I am going back to school in the Spring to get my licensure for teaching. I am super excited for that and hope it helps me market my book even.

Wow! Wish you luck with that. Now lets talk about your book and writing. So, when did you first know that you wanted to be an author? Did you always want to be one?

No. Actually I didn’t. I wanted to be Don Draper from MadMen. Someone who designed slogans for companies. That is a really hard market to break into, though. And, I suppose this is too but when I was studying advertising I found out that in the first 24 hours J.K. Rowling sold 5.6 million copies of her fifth Harry Potter book. Her fifth one! Not even the seventh. If she managed to get a dollar per book in royalties, not even two, that is some serious dough. Although those are pretty high goals to try to achieve, having the ability to wake up, engage yourself in something you love and work from home is fascinating. That, I think, is one of the biggest perks of being a successful author. Although, until that point, you are merely a starving artist working three jobs and trying to find time to write on top of it.

 How did you come up with the idea behind "The Trials of the Core"?

My friend and I actually had tried making a card game back in middle school. I also did a short story in middle school about this great battle at a coliseum where gods clashed and died. Then, I found that short story while cleaning out my room one day and I took some of my friend’s photos and started to create characters and plotlines to go with them. And, now, it’s here!

Is any of the characters/incidents in your book influenced by real life people or circumstances?

I really like the idea of you find out the man you are when faced with death. Like, if it came down to it, would you risk your life for someone. Would you sacrifice yourself? That whole complexity is crazy and honestly I am not sure I could do it, I don’t have anyone in my life that means that much to me, or have any sins to atone for. But, a big thing that happens in the end of the novel is definitely influenced by that and my favorite alliteration that I use throughout the novel, “The toughest trials test you truest.”

What was the biggest challenge while writing the book?

I always think the hardest challenge is the first draft where you have to get all of your ideas on the table. Then, especially with fantasy genre, it’s creating a magic system that can’t be abused. VERY HARD TO DO. In my original draft I had teleportation be an ability and also being able to heal with magic. With the former you race to many “Well why couldn’t he just teleport away from danger then?” How do you put a limit on the distance to be able to teleport? You can’t. Not really or I haven’t been able to come up with a way yet so I just canceled that. Also, I found it way to convenient in books like Eragon and Eldest where you can heal with magic and you always have “just enough” magic to heal you.

Did you ever suffer writer's block? If yes, what did you do to get over it?

Oh, I definitely did. I don’t know which writer hasn’t. Actually, I don’t do anything during writer’s block. I just put my story away and when writing comes to me, it does and I write. I know it’s kind of a cop-out answer but that is really what I do.

What were your feelings when you first saw the finished copy of your book?

Don’t know yet. I haven’t seen the very first printed copy yet. I am getting so nervous and excited for it though. I can’t wait!

Are you completely satisfied with your writing or would you like to change something in your story, given a chance?

In the third trial there is a weapons’ tournament and I think I would have changed the order of how the contestants face one another. Due to some circumstances before that trial two contestants should have been forced to face each other right away instead of waiting for the final bout to do it. I actually was thinking about doing it this way but that would involve an extensive rewrite and there would be one battle that would be very diluted in terms of conflict since neither character has a problem with one another. So, really, it’s a horse a piece.

This is the first book of the series “Guardian of the core”. How many books will be there in this series? Are you working on the sequels already?

“The Trials of the Core” is the first book in the series. There will be five books in the actual series “Guardian of the Core”. I have a sixth book planned to close up some of the action that happens with some secondary and primary characters as a spin-off book but the main story line will be concluding at book number 5. I do have the second book in the works right now. I have around 2/3 of it written for the first draft. I want to release it sometime in 2015!

Why did you choose this particular genre to write about? Who are your target readers?

It has the most movie potential. Also, I’m a guy so this is more up my alley, than let’s say, romance novels would be. My target readers are New Adult readers because although most of it is Young Adult, the characters are not Young Adults and there is actually a few scenes that are probably not appropriate for them.

Okay! I'd now love to hear a few things about you. To start with, is writing your full time profession?

I wish it was. But, alas, it isn’t. I will be a student in the Spring and right now I work at a marketing firm doing some things for them and trying to build them more clientele.

When you're not writing what do you do to relax?

I think writers often get a stigma about them that they are bottled up people who don’t really meet many people. They are introverts. That is something that is just not me. I love meeting people. So I like to socialize and go out on the weekends, and then I like to bowl and play tennis and of course read. I love to read.

What’s the schedule of a typical day for you?

Currently? This is my schedule. I wake up at 6 eat breakfast. Workout from 7 – 9. 9 – 2 I work at my marketing job. 2 – 6 I engage in social media marketing for my own book (or other people who use me to help them market their book online). Then I have the rest of the night to read other novels or write my second story.

If your book is adopted for a movie, which actors would you like to play the characters of your story?

No idea yet actually. But, I would want the directors who did the Harry Potter movies to do mine. They did a fantastic job in translating the books into movies and the big thing I worry about is having my book be murdered in the cinema as was the case with the book-to-movie-translation that was Eragon.

You said you love reading. So what are your favourite books?

Game of Throne series. Name of the Wind. Eragon and Eldest (not the last 2 in the series). Harry Potter series.

What are you reading currently?

Prince of Thrones by Mark Lawrence (which is decent at best). And Ender’s Game because of the movie coming out soon. I know, I know, “You haven’t read Ender’s Game yet? It’s a staple of the science-fiction genre.” I have been meaning to read it and now I am buckling down at reading it.

What is your advice for aspiring writers?

The most important word that authors can learn is: perseverance. No one writes a perfect copy on their first draft. Writing is not a get rich quick scheme. It is a hard profession, much harder than everyone gives it credit for. Even after you write the book you need to market it and then continue writing the next one. There is no stopping. But, what you need to remember, is to persevere through it all and don’t let the writing process really change you much as a person (like becoming too introverted).

Just for curiosity, if you’re ever deserted in an island alone, which 5 books would you pick to carry along with you? And why?

Interesting question. I love it. Let’s see here. 
 o Lord of the Flies, because I want to know how they survived on a deserted island of course! It’s a classic for this scenario. 
 o The Bible, because I want to keep close to god and I feel as though if I do that then maybe I’ll be saved from the island sooner. 
 o A dictionary, so I can understand all of the crazy language that is the Bible. Maybe I’d actually be able to finish reading it if I was deserted on a island. 
 o How to books, I would love to have a book that would tell me how to build a fire, or how to build a shelter. 
o Clash of Kings (3rd book in the Game of Thrones series), this book is honestly THE best book I have ever read. It was amazing. I loved it. Aaahhh. I would read this for fun on the island.

Is there any question you’d like to be asked?

I think you asked them all. Very good questions I enjoyed all of them.

Thank you so much, Mike. I loved the chat with you. And lots of good wishes for your book. :)

Title: The Trials of the Core
Author: Michael E. Thies 
Series: Guardian of the Core #1
Genre: Science Fiction / Fantasy

As Edwyrd Eska approaches his two-hundredth year as Guardian of the Core, he must find an Apprentice to train under him. His title and role compels him to safeguard and govern his universe, Gladonus, as each Guardian before him has done and those after him shall continue to do until relieved of such duties by will of the Ancients. Prince Hydro Paen, Eirek Mourse, and Zain Berrese—amongst other contestants—receive invitations to compete in a quest of Trials intended to determine who becomes Eska’s Apprentice. An old adage goes: “the toughest trials test you truest” – and these events challenge their fortitude through tenuous partnerships, intellectual rivalries, and battles of weapons’ mastery. Along the way, each contestant must attempt to overcome personal demons that haunt them. In this tale of ideal dreams and lucid aspirations, these competitors find theirs threatened by deceit, betrayal, sabotage—and even flesh—as all become vital to success…
You can find about Michael Thies from his Goodreads profile and also by visiting his beautiful Website.
Find him on twitter and follow to know all updates about his book.

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