"Being an author is like being in charge of your own personal insane asylum." Graycie Harmon
Friday, June 11, 2010
Interview with Michael Young, author of "The Canticle Kingdom" ENTER TO WIN A COPY OF THIS BOOK!
Michael is a graduate of Brigham Young University with a degree in German Teaching and a minor in Music. He lives in Utah with his wife, Jen, and his son Jarem. Michael enjoys writing fiction, acting in community theater, and spending time with his family. He played for several years with the handbell choir Bells on Temple Square and is now a member of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. When a young blacksmith s apprentice named Johann discovers that his homeland is contained entirely within a small music box, it s up to him to protect the only home he s ever known. With the help of an impossibly ancient knight, his best friend, Brigitta, and his trusty homemade sword, Johann races to find the only people who can who can stop the dark power that threatens to destroy the Canticle Kingdom an unsuspecting family and an old woodcarver from the outside world. Enter a world full of magic, danger, loyalty and bravery in this exciting debut from Michael Young, and discover that even the most ordinary objects and people might be hiding something truly wonderful inside.
This book was fun and imaginative, perfect for young adult readers, but could also be read with younger readers who like books with excitement and adventure.
I had a chance to interview Michael recently. Here is what he had to say.
M.B.: When did you first know you wanted to be an author?
Michael: I dabbled in writing all growing up, but it was first in High School that I decided to get serious about it and attempt a novel. I consider that one my practice novel, but it really gave me confidence.
M.B.: What is your writing and educational background?
Michael: My educational background is in education. I have a B.A. from BYU in German Teaching and a minor in music. My writing is just something I'm working on improving every day.
M.B.: What makes you passionate about writing?
Michael: I love telling stories. I grew up telling stories to my seven younger siblings and I loved how they reacted to my stories. They were really into them, and it made me feel excited that I could have that effect on them.
M.B.: What was the pathway like for you to get your first book published?
Michael: It was about a five year path. It was one of those ideas that just sort of dropped into my lap, and I got to work on it right away. However, I was going to school and working full time at the time and so it was slow going. I met my publisher at a publisher's fair at BYU and they helped me make some edits that greatly enhanced the book, before rolling it out to stores.
M.B.: Were you ever discouraged along the way? If so, how did you deal with it?
Michael: I don't think it's possible to write a novel and not meet some discouragement. It's a long process and often thankless during the writing portion. There is always the fear that no one will like what you are doing and all that hard work would be for nothing. In those times, it really helped me not to try to focus on the future, but on the page I was writing right now. It can be too overwhelming otherwise.
M.B.: What is your writing schedule like?
Michael: I'm a night owl, so I do most of my writing at night after everything else is done. However, I also find little times during the day, such as during lunch breaks to scribble a few things down on a piece of paper. I try to write something every day, no matter how busy I am.
M.B.: Where do your ideas come from? How do you know the idea is good enough to write a book about it?
Michael: So often, they just surface at strange times, spurred on by some little thing that happened in my day. Some ideas just keep nagging at me, sticking with me for days, and I think that's how I know it's compelling enough to write about.
M.B.: When did the idea for this book first come to you?
Michael: I was working at Target organizing shelves. Not your usual fount of inspiration, but somehow it worked.
M.B.: What do you hope readers will get from this book?
Michael: I hope they will get a little sense that sometimes the world is bigger than what it seems to be.
M.B.: What is your process of brainstorming a story? Do you just sit down and write, waiting to see what happens next? Or do you outline first?
Michael: I usually think about my story at various times during the day and then put it all together at night. I'm very much in to letting the story and characters lead me where they want to go.
M.B.: Do you ever experience a snag in a story, a form of writer's block? If so, how do you deal with it?
Michael: That does happen. That's why I usually have a few projects going at once. When I hit a snag in one, I go to another one and then return later to the first one with fresh eyes.
M.B.: Do you need absolute quiet to write? Do you listen to music when you are writing?
Michael: I do not need absolute quiet. I often do have music on, but usually something without words so I don't get too distracted.
M.B.: What kinds of inspiration do you use during your story creation periods?
Michael: I look for little quirky things in life, such as a particularity interesting person whom I meet. I try to take interesting aspects of places and people and incorporate them in some way into my story.
M.B.: Who has made the greatest difference for you as a writer?
Michael: I think I would have to say, other Utah writers that have really worked hard and made a place for themselves in the national market. Kudos to people like Brandon Mull, Brandon Sanderson, Orson Scott Card and others.
M.B.: What’s your secret to making the character’s in your books come to life?
Michael: Making them well-rounded and remembering that there are very few real “Supermen.” Put them in situations that cause the readers to be sympathetic to them.
M.B.: Do you use a critique group during the writing process? Why or why not?
Michael: Yes. I go to other authors, use www.critiquecircle.com and let others who I know look at it. You can't just see everything wrong in your own writing.
M.B.: What is something about yourself people don’t know?
Michael: Well, my friends know, but most people wouldn't: I'm 'double jointed' in all of my fingers. (Meaning I can bend them to unnatural angles. It's really great when trying to entertain children.)
M.B.: What is your favorite snack to have while you are writing?
Michael: I'm a chips person. I have to be careful though, because I get into the story and then realize “Holy cow, I ate half the bag already!”
M.B.: What words of advice do you have for other writers who desire to have their manuscripts become books in print?
Michael: Persistence. If you get a rejection, send it out again that day. Don't take things personally and just have confidence in your work.
M.B.: What are you working on now?
Michael: I am working on a sequel to “The Canticle Kingdom” as well as a few other fantasy novels and even a musical and a play. I like to mix things up.
M.B.: Any final words you would like to share
Michael: As an educator, I also try to provide things on my website that teachers and piano teachers can use at no cost. I'm also working on a summer reading site revolving around my writing. Thanks for reading!
M.B.: Where can our readers go to find your books and order them?
My greatest claim to fame is my family. I am married to my prince charming and have four awesome children. This year I experienced the joy of becoming a grandmother to my sweet baby girl Halle. I love to travel and I love to write books.