- Guest Author -
Welcome to the life of Michael Pryor, Australian author.
TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF AND YOUR WRITING JOURNEY.
I’ve been writing seriously since the early 90s. I concentrated on short stories for some time before trying novel length writing. My first novel came out in 1996, and I’ve published thirty more since then, all Young Adult Fantasy/Science Fiction. In total, I have published around 1.5 million words. Twenty of my novels were written while I had a full time day job. I’ve been writing full time for the last four years.
WHEN AND HOW DID YOU BECOME A WRITER?
My early writing came about via the usual method – I’d always been a voracious reader and eventually had the thought – ‘I reckon I could do this’. Easier said than done, of course.
WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT BEING A WRITER?
I love it that my life is bound up with books, reading and writing and working with people who love books, reading and writing.
WHAT IS THE HARDEST THING ABOUT BEING A WRITER?
Apart from the obvious – finances? For me, the hardest thing can be deciding which idea to work on. I have so many potential writing projects lining up for me, and only so many hours in the day …
WHAT WERE YOU IN A PAST LIFE, BEFORE YOU BECAME A WRITER?
I was a teacher. Teaching English, telling kids all day about how to write and eventually starting to wonder if I could do what I was telling them to do.
WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST WRITING ACHIEVEMENT?
Ooh, tough one. It’s either the six book ‘Laws of Magic’ series, a steampunk/historical/fantasy/political/thriller/comedy/romance, or the 28 book shared world Quentaris series that Paul Collins and I originated, oversaw and managed.
WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON AT THE MOMENT?
I’m putting the final touches on ‘The Subterranean Stratagem’, Book 2 of the Steampunk ‘Extraordinaires’ series.
WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
Reading inspires me, and the great tradition of storytelling.
WHAT GENRE DO YOU WRITE?
I write Young Adult Fantasy and Science Fiction.
DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS FOR NEW WRITERS?
Persevere and finish something!
DO YOU SUFFER FROM WRITER’S BLOCK?
No. Too many ideas are waiting to be written to have writer’s block.
DO YOU HAVE A PREFERRED WRITING SCHEDULE?
I write for a few hours each morning and a few in the afternoon. When I’m in the middle of a writing project I aim to write 5000 words a day, which is solid but achievable.
DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE WRITING PLACE?
I always write in my study where all my resources are within reach.
WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST JOY IN WRITING?
Getting feedback from happy readers.
WHO IS YOUR FAVOURITE AUTHOR AND WHY?
Tolkien, because I first read LOTR when I was 11 and it opened the door to reading and writing Fantasy, the literature of the imagination.
WHAT’S THE GREATEST COMPLIMENT YOU EVER RECEIVED FROM A READER?
A twitter: ‘I love Michael Pryor’s books, but I wish he’d write faster.’
WHAT WAS THE WORST COMMENT FROM A READER?
‘I threw this book across the room.’
WRITERS ARE SOMETIMES INFLUENCED BY THINGS THAT HAPPEN IN THEIR OWN LIVES. ARE YOU?
Always, both consciously and unconsciously. I’m always drawing on people that I know or I’ve met to create characters. I’m always delving into my own reactions and experiences to make characters as realistic as possible.
OTHER THAN WRITING, WHAT ELSE DO YOU LOVE?
I love reading. I love travel. I love good wine and food. I love cooking. I love gardening. And I love my family, naturally.
DID YOU HAVE YOUR BOOK / BOOKS PROFESSIONALLY EDITED BEFORE PUBLICATION?
My books are always professionally edited before publishing by the wonderful people at my publisher, Random House Australia.
DESCRIBE YOUR PERFECT DAY.
Travelling somewhere interesting, meeting interesting people, having some excellent food and wine, and reading an interesting book in between all this.
IF YOU WERE STUCK ON A DESERT ISLAND WITH ONE PERSON, WHO WOULD IT BE? WHY?
My wife, because she’s my favourite person – and very practical.
WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IF YOU HAD THE CHANCE TO SPEAK TO WORLD LEADERS?
Can’t we all behave like adults and just get along?
WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE FUTURE?
More writing, more travel, becoming a worldwide publishing phenomenon.
WHAT FIVE BOOKS WOULD YOU TAKE TO HEAVEN?
LOTR. The Baroque Cycle. Guns, Germs and Steel. The House at Pooh Corner. Wind in the Willows.
DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN ANY OF YOUR CHARACTERS?
DOES THE PUBLISHING INDUSTRY FRUSTRATE YOU?
At times, yes, but I’m lucky enough to be with an outstanding team at Random House Australia.
DID YOU EVER THINK OF QUITTING?
Sometimes, when I looked at my bank balance.
WHAT WAS YOUR FAVOURITE MANUSCRIPT TO WRITE? WHY?
I particularly enjoyed writing ‘Word of Honour’, the third book of the Laws of Magic series, as my agent had negotiated a contract for it and two more books. The certainty and this vote of confidence was a terrific boost.
HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE ‘SUCCESS’ AS A WRITER.
A good and loyal readership. An ongoing relationship with a major publisher.
WHAT SHOULD READERS WALK AWAY FROM YOUR BOOKS KNOWING? HOW SHOULD THEY FEEL?
They should feel as if they’ve read a well-constructed, engaging story. I want them to feel connected to the characters, to live with them through the ups and downs, through the triumphs and dangers, the mistakes and the misunderstandings.
HOW MUCH THOUGHT GOES INTO DESIGNING A BOOK COVER?
A huge amount. I’m consulted, and I have input, but I’m constantly dazzled by the inventiveness and insight of designers. My editor, the designer and I go through a number of rounds of drafts and versions, tweaking all along in order to get the best cover possible.
WHAT’S YOUR ULTIMATE DREAM?
Major international publication resulting in a movie deal with a large – but artistically credible – studio.
WRITING IS ONE THING. WHAT ABOUT MARKETING YOU, YOUR BOOKS AND YOUR BRAND? ANY THOUGHTS?
I constantly remind myself that I know how to write books, and my publisher knows about marketing and publicity. They’re trained in this field and have extensive experience – and a budget. I do what I can, through keeping up a web presence and maintaining a social media profile, and I do many public presentations and workshops, but the work the professionals do is pure gold.