Michael received a creative writing certificate from the University of West Virginia in the late 90s. He’s been running a successful writer’s group called For the Love of Words for almost two decades. When he has time, he teaches in the local library Story 101 – How to Create a Story. He has won in every category over a five-year period in a state-funded wordsmith competition in Poetry, Essay, Short Story, and One-Act Play.
Tell us the story of your book’s title. Was it easy to find, or did it take forever?
It started as a short story of several friends who wanted to go up a forbidden mountain to ride a zipline.
How did it feel when you first saw your book cover? Or when you first held your book in your hands?
I was ecstatic when I saw what Ronaldo did with my concept picture.
Who/what made you want to write? Was there a particular person, or particular writers/works/art forms that influenced you?
My eighth-grade English teacher said I should be a writer. I said it was too much work. In college, I took a creative writing class, and my teacher, Mr. Kotch, said he recommended me for the creative writing curriculum. (This was before you could get a degree for it.)
What other professions have you worked in? What’s something about you that your readers wouldn’t know?
I worked many different jobs, have been in the military, and have seen all sorts of things over my lifetime.
What was the most rewarding/meaningful part of publishing your book?
Discussing the book’s issues with the reader.
If your book had a soundtrack, what are some songs that would be on it?
This is a great question. It would be a combination of a lot of songs, from Tupac to Bon Jovi and everything in between.
What is one thing you hope readers take away from reading your book? How do you envision your perfect reader?
Depending on the story, I want the reader to understand relationships between individuals and know we’re not perfect people. We have strengths and weaknesses that uniquely tie us together.
What new writing projects are you currently working on? Or, other projects that are not writing?
The sequels to Zipline are already finished and I promise that each one is better than the previous. Why? Because the stakes keep getting higher.
How was working with Atmosphere Press? What would you tell other writers who want to publish?
This was my first project, and Atmosphere Press made it an easy one to deal with. What I can tell you, newbie authors, is this:
1. Give us a great story with interesting and relatable characters.
2. Give the reader a goal the characters are trying to achieve and set adversity upon adversity in their way.
3. Don’t let up on the tension, suspense, and thrill until the very last page.