Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Interview with Michael Young, Author of The Canticle Kingdom
ME: This is a very unique idea for a story? Where did you get your idea?
MICHAEL: I wish I knew this myself, so I could go back and get a few more. ;-) I was just working at Target one day during my second year of college and my mind was starting to wander and the idea just popped into my head.
ME: How long did it take you to write The Canticle Kingdom? At what point were you able to get the voice of each character developed in your head?
MICHAEL: The first draft of it took about a year to hash out while I was going to school and working. The way I do things, is that I think a lot about my current project when I'm doing mundane stuff like walking to school or doing the dishes, so I felt like I had the character's voices in place at a pretty early stage because I had thought about it so much.
ME: What kind of books do you like to read?
MICHAEL: I'm mostly into the kind of stuff I write, Fantasy and Sci-Fi, though I really like historical fiction as well. Right now I'm working on reading all of Terry Brook's books, most of which relate in a huge story arc that crosses generations. Pretty incredible. My latest favorite reads have been “Elantris” by Brandon Sanderson and “Johnathan Strange and Mr. Norell” by Susanne Clark, both of which are Fantasy. Then again, I'm sure I'll add the third Hunger Games to that list when it comes out this year.
ME: Will The Canticle Kingdom be a part of a series or did you get the whole story told in one book?
MICHAEL: I'm working on a sequel now, and right now I'm envisioning it as a trilogy. There's a lot more to the story and I'm excited to tell it. The way it ends leaves plenty of room for that. I also have a few other unrelated novels various stages of completion, so I am going to try to branch out.
ME: Your cover is AMAZING. Did you have any input on the design?
MICHAEL: I wish I could take credit for that! I just said I wanted it to stress the musical element, but I was blown away when I saw it for the first time. Cedar Fort does a great job with their covers, and I really couldn't be happier about it. I feel like it really captures the essence of the book.
ME: I understand that the final 20% of the book takes 80% of your effort. Did you have the end in mind from the beginning? Did you ever change course in your writing?
MICHAEL: Isn't that true! You really want the story to go out with a bang and have a satisfying ending. I've been disappointed before by books with strong beginning and middles, with awful ends, and I really want to avoid that. I had a general idea of where I wanted it to be at the get go, but it took me a while for me to actually flesh out how I would get my characters from point A to point B. I'm the kind of writer who likes to discover what's going to happen as I go along. This book took me in directions that I had not imagined at the beginning and that for me is part of the fun of it.
ME: How do you write? Do you use outlines? Do you need music playing? How do you move on when you hit a rough spot?
MICHAEL: It is hard for me to sit down and write for long stretches, but I'm good at writing a little every day and sticking to it. As mentioned in the last question, I don't use very detailed outlines. I like to have music or something else in the background, though it's best when I'm alone. I'm kind of a night writer-for some reasons, my best thoughts show up when the sun goes down. When I hit a rough spot, I give the current project a break and work on something else I'm writing for a while. I usually have a few projects going at a time. I'm working on short stories, plays, and even a musical or two. Still working on getting those refined and out in the open, but who knows? It could happen.
ME: What can you tell us about yourself that will help us know you better?
MICHAEL: This novel has a lot to do with music. I've loved music my entire life and perform whenever I can. I've played the piano since I was eight and taught myself the organ while living in Germany as a missionary. (Mostly because they needed me to play in church). I've also played for years in handbell choirs, including Bells on Temple Square, which is an arm of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. I don't do that anymore, because I moved into the actual choir this year. I also like to write music and lyrics for music as well, and I'm trying to find ways to promote my writing using music. On my site, I've even written some songs to go along with the book that anyone can download. So, I imagine I might incorporate musical elements in future works as well.
ME: Do you have a message for all your fans? Anything you’d like to tell them?
MICHAEL: I think I would just encourage them to undertake their own creative endeavors and use things they are passionate about to do so. I love both German and Music and used my knowledge of the two to write a novel. I would also thank them for reading and say that I hope they keep their eyes out more books I hope to put out. I would also encourage them to support good, clean books that rely on a good story and not gimmicks of violence, foul language and sexual content to sell their books. That's what I'm trying to write!
That, and I would encourage them to check out the contest section of my site and participate in the scavenger hunt in the pages of “The Canticle Kingdom”. It helps you recognize other things I've included in the book that might not be apparent at first glance.
Watch for a review of his book coming Thursday.
Visit Michael's site: http://www.writermike.com/
Available at Barnes and Noble, and Amazon