Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Author Interview: Mike Lewis

Mike Lewis is one of the authors featuring in the September giveaway. Mike Lewis has written Changers' Summer.
1. What is your name and where do you call home?
Mike Lewis and I live in Woking, Surrey - just southwest of London. I live about a mile and a half from where the Martians landed in War of the Worlds; and about a mile from where H. G. Wells lived when he wrote the book.

2. Do you have a pen name?
No, though I am considering using one for a new series that I'm working on as it is a SF Detective Paranormal Romance with a female protagonist.

3. What is the name of your most recent book and if you had to sum it up in 20 or less words, what would you say?
Changers' Summer, which is book one of the Changers Trilogy.
It is a fast–paced younger adult Dystopian SF adventure about time-travel and the effects of climate change; with a talking dog. 

4. Do you have plans for a new book? Is this book part of a series?
I am currently working on The Rat King, book 2 of the Changers Trilogy which I am hoping to publish in January 2012, with the third book The Layneman Experiments coming out in June 2012.
I am also revising a YA Victorian Fantasy called “Sheldak” and working on the first book in the previously mentioned Paranormal Detective series.
5. What or who inspired you to start writing? And how long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing on and off for most of my life.  I wrote for Roleplaying Game magazines (and published my own) in the 1980s, wrote computer books and articles, comic scripts and then designed and wrote computer games.
I started writing with the view to get published while living in New Zealand when I attended a Creative Writing evening class.  I sold the first story I completed (a 500 word piece of flash fiction) and then sold the second story as well.  You can read both those in my short story collection “The Smell of Magic and Other Stories”.
I subsequently learned that it wasn’t quite so easy to sell stuff and sold a variety of short stories over the next few years as well as gathering a large pile of rejections.
I came down with M.E./CFS in 2004 and that really slowed my writing down to the point where I have not written that much over the last 5 years.
Publishing Changers’ Summer (which was first completed in 2002) has spurred me on to writing again and I am now writing regularly.

6. Do you gift books to readers for book reviews?
 Yes, I did a giveaway on Librarything.com, have 2 paperbacks currently available in a giveaway on Goodreads.com and also sent out a load of review copies to gather some reviews on Amazon.com.  I think that reviews are important to new authors especially if you are self-published.
7. How did you come up with the cover? Who designed the cover of your book?
The covers is based around a scene in the book and I asked Derek Chiodo at ECoverMakers to find a photo for it and design the cover and he did a wonderful job with his first design.
The paperback cover was put together for me by Najla Qambar and she did a great job and was very helpful with layout ideas and very quick to respond.

8. How did you come up with the title for your book?
I don’t really know – the book has always been called Changers’ Summer –perhaps even before I wrote a word of it. It was initially started as a writing challenge from a writers’ group I am in and I had the scene of a man slowly appearing from thin air over a period of days as a starting point.
9. Is there anything you would change about your book? And why?
I think that there are always things you could change about a book once it has been published; but I think that authors should get on with the next book.  If you continually tinker with your novel you will never publish it and I think the same is true with the temptation to go back and revise earlier work.
10. Do you have a book trailer? And what are your thoughts on book trailers?
No I don’t and I really am not sure that they do anything for books.
11. Do you prefer e-books, paperbacks, hardcovers or audiobooks?
Depends where I am.  I like to read in the bath, so prefer paperbacks for obvious reasons. I have no real preference between hardbacks and paperbacks – I do like trade paperback size novels which was part of the reason for publishing Changers’ Summer in that size (as well as to keep the page count down).
 I have only started reading ebooks this year on my ipad that I bought back in February and I like the experience.  The ipad is fairly heavy though so I might buy a Kindle when they drop in price a little more.
12.   Are you a self-published / Indie author?
Self-published/Indie (whatever that means).  I published Changers’ Summer in June after discovering the Kindle Publishing Platform and that it was possible to publish your own work with a ready made distribution network for very little cost.
Although I have successfully sold short stories and Changers’ Summer was commented on by some agents I have never had a lot of luck with novels.
YA/Children’s books are a hard sell as well – especially it seems YA SF, though the Hunger Games seems to have made dystopian SF popular so I have hopes that will bring me some sales as well.
13.   Have you ever read a book more than once? And if so what was it?
I’ve read a lot of books more than once.  The book I have read the most is probably Lord of the Rings, purely because I read it every year as a teenager. I don’t think I’ve read it in the last 10 years though.
I have also reread a number of Tim Powers books as I rate him very highly (I was also taught by him at Clarion East – a 6-week SF writing workshop I attended in 2002).
I also reread Ray Bradbury short stories on occasion for inspiration and as a reminder of how to write beautifully simple short stories about ordinary real people in extraordinary situations.
My most reprinted short story “Cooper’s Creek” was written as a homage to Ray Bradbury.

14. What book are you reading at the moment? And in what format?
 Currently reading The Hunger Games in Kindle format on my ipad.
15. Do you have any advice for other writers? And what’s the best advice that you have been given when it comes to writing?
I think that the old advice that “a writer writes” is the best advice I can give someone. Keep writing, keep submitting stories, keep publishing, keep going.  A rejection or a bad review isn’t personal; it isn’t about you, it is about your story.  You can always write another one of those.

 One of the best writing tips I received while at Clarion was from Karen Joy Fowler.  When describing a room, describe two normal things and one unusual thing…
16. Where can your readers follow you?


Thankyou so much for taking the time to do this interview and allowing us a glimpse into your writing world!

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