Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Interview with C. Michael Powers

MIRROR IMAGES

Is there another world beyond the mirror? If there was, do you think we should fear those beyond the looking glass, or do you think we could learn from them?

Author C. Michael Powers addresses those questions, and many more.

In this adventure, we learn about the horrific world on the other side of the looking glass. In that world lies our evil twin. They know our darkest and most twisted thoughts and desires.

When Gabe Cutter’s mirror image switches places with him, his life quickly become his worst nightmare. His mirror image has but one goal, to fulfill all of Gabe’s darkest desires, which includes, murdering his cheating fiancĂ©.

Determined to stop his darker side, Gabe searches for a way out.

Along the way, he meets other stranded survivors whom he feels he must band with in order to survive. Together, they face monsters, maniacs and ultimately, he must battle himself and his true hearts desire. 

Will he be able to protect his fiancĂ©? 

Will he find out the truth? 

Is she worth it, or will he lose it all? 

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Welcome and thanks again for visiting.

On my Wordpress blog we tackled questions focused on your story, Mirror Images. 
This time, I would like to address you on a more personal level.  

Are you an avid reader and if so, what was the latest book you read that wowed you?
I’ve been addicted to the Songs of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones) books. I’m about halfway through the 5th book now, and I’m so disappointed there’s not another out yet. I’ve also started reading the Mortal Instruments books, which I know are supposed to be young adult novels, but I’m kind of diggin’ ‘em.


In a completely different genre, I’m a huge Stephen Hunter fan. Something about a bad ass redneck getting revenge on people is like chicken soup for my soul.



Can you tell us a little about your first publishing experience?
I first self published Darkness of Man, but that doesn’t count, right? Let’s say it doesn’t. GMTA Publishing (Great Minds Think Aloud) is my first publisher, and I love it. Kitty Bullard, the boss, is such a sweet, cool, down-to-earth publisher.

After sending countless emails to agents and publishers and rarely even getting a rejection letter back, working with Kitty has been a breath of fresh air.  


Will you be attending any public events this year?
I actually live in Panama (the country, not Florida) right now. So, if the book does well, and I can afford to take a trip home, I’d love to get involved with some events. As of right now I have no plans though. 

I did just launch my new website. It's gonna be a a lot of fun. I've created this character named Jaundice Jones, who will be reporting from the dark side of the mirror, filling us in on all the crazy stuff that happens over there. Stop by at www.cmichaelpowers.com and check it out.


Do you think you may ever go into another genre?
I’ve written a line of children’s stories (none published) and I have ideas for books in a couple of other genres, so I definitely see that as a possibility.  


How do you create your characters? Do you use elements from people you know, and if so, what traits do you look for?
Everything comes from imagination. I haven’t really mirrored any of my characters after real life people. Sometimes I have actors in mind when I’m writing, but that’s more about the image, not necessarily their character traits. Character development is a monster to learn and I’m learning more and more every day.

Who or what inspired you to fulfill your writing dream?
I have to say that initially it was the willingness of my father to buy me an electronic typewriter for my 17th birthday that got me going. I’d been hand writing books, but I didn’t own a computer at the time, and I may have given up if he hadn’t bought me that typewriter.

Typewriters are a pain though, even that electronic one. Every error that needed to be corrected halted my workflow. God bless the authors who did and still do punch out their stories on a typewriter. Something about hearing the keys hitting the paper is extremely satisfying, but I don’t know how anyone had the patience to knock out an entire story on one of those things. Stephen King, you are the man!


What is your favorite genre(s)?
I don’t really have one. I guess I’d say dark fantasy or horror. I’ve been trying to find books similar to mine. Song of Ice and Fire is the first fantasy book I’ve gotten into. Usually I’m not into the swords and sorcerer stories. I like vampires and werewolves, but not the romantic kind. I like lots of action. I loved Hunger Games, and Battle Royale, which HG has been compared to, is one of my all time favorite books.  


In your opinion, what is the hardest part of writing?
Point of View has been a bit challenging. I write in a cinemascope sort of way (before editing), so telling the story from one person’s point of view has been a constant challenge. That’s one of the reasons I find writing using my screenplay as an outline, a bit frustrating. Plus, screenplays are written in present tense, where books are usually in past tense, so I have to watch out for that as well when I’m adapting the story.

The overall hardest thing about writing, for me anyways, is staying focused on one story. I get so many ideas, all the time, and I start itchin’ to write my new story idea. I try not to juggle more than two books at a time. One is difficult enough, but having a second story to work on gives me a break from time to time.   


Do you have a support group, reading or writing group?
I don’t. I should. I know they’re very valuable, but between working on my book, working on my new website, and keeping up with blog posts on my Panama blog, I can’t find any free time. I also have a wife and 4 kids.

Oh yeah, if you have any desire to retire to Panama, check out my blog at www.thestayathomegringo.blogspot.com and keep your eyes peeled for another new site which will focus on all of the towns here in Panama at www.panamaforreal.com. Right now it’s under construction, but should be launched by the middle of May (hopefully).


Where do you see yourself (with your writing) in five years to ten years?
I’m hoping that I’ll be able to write full time within the next five years. I just hope my writing strengthens, my fan base grows, and I see more of my printed works on my bookshelf. A movie deal would be nice too. ;)


Can you tell us a few dos and don'ts for aspiring authors?
Don’t worry about rejection letters. We all get them.

Do keep writing. Don’t let grammatical errors get in the way of a good story. At least put it down on paper and then fix that stuff later. Many people don’t even start writing simply because they don’t think they’re good enough.

Do get involved with social media. I’m learning this. It’s tough. There’s no such thing as just being a writer anymore. Nowadays you have to sell yourself, interact with fans, and keep writing.

Don’t focus so much on breaking into the industry. You may work on that forever. Give a small publisher a chance. If nothing else, you’ll meet a group of likeminded writers, learn more about your craft, and get the chance to feel the excitement when you receive your first paperback copy of your book in the mail.


If you could be any of the following supernaturals, which would you be and why? Vampire, werewolf, witch or a zombie?
Ha, great question. Man, being a zombie would suck. Did you see that movie Warm Bodies? Being a vampire would be cool as long as it was in one of those stories where being a vampire is hot and sexy. I wouldn’t want to be one of the 30 Days of Night vampires.



Do you watch TV? If so, what type of shows do you watch?
I love TV. Of course, Game of Thrones. I also like/liked Spartacus, Lost, 24, Sons of Anarchy, Friday Night Lights, Walking Dead…I’m sure I’m missing a few. What I hate about TV shows is how hooked you get, and how devoted you are to a show, then when it’s over you feel sad, like you’re saying goodbye to old friends.

Oh, and there’s nothing worse than dedicating time and emotions to a show that ends up getting canceled. I think it should be against the law for a network to cancel a show without wrapping up the storyline somehow. That’s the reason I rarely watch new shows. I tend to wait for them to hit Netflix or DVD. That way I know I’ll get to at least finish a season.


Personally, I love having the physical book. I buy e-books all the time, but when I find a book that wows me, I must purchase the paperback as well. For you, C. MICHAEL POWERS, which do you prefer reading?
I resisted buying a Kindle for this reason. I was afraid of being part of the generation that I feared would put an end to actual, physical books.  I love having a book in hand. I love flipping through the pages and I love the smell of the paper. You lose that with e-readers. However, living in Panama, it’s hard to buy books in English. Plus, books aren’t cheap. It’s nice to be able to pick up a book for $1.99 on Kindle. Not to mention the fact that new authors have a chance to highlight their work.

The one thing that drives me nuts about e-readers is trying to figure out what the hell 30% finished means. At least with a book I can see how close I am to the end. After reading the first two Song of Ice and Fire books (Game of Thrones) on Kindle, I was thinking, “Holy cow, I’m a slow reader. This is taking forever.” Then, I happened to see one of the paperbacks in the store and I was like, “Damn that’s a big book. No wonder it took me so long.”


What is your all-time favorite book, and how many times have you read it?
The only book I’ve read twice is Pale Horse Coming by Stephen Hunter. I just have a hard time sitting through a story more than once, even when I love the story. That’s why I’m so glad to finally stop working on Darkness of Man.

Now I can see why bands say they get tired of playing their songs. When you know the story, and you have to keep reading while working on your second and third drafts (remember I did this in screenplay format too), it’s tough getting through your own book again and again. 

What is your favorite book to movie?
Hmm, it’ll probably surprise you, but I think I’d have to say Memoirs of a Geisha. They did an excellent job with the movie and the musical score was fantastic.
 
When you are about to sit down and write, what do you do first? For example, do you prepare a snack tray, make sure there is a pen and paper by your side, turn your phone off or do you dive in?

I love to sit down with a fresh cup of coffee. Then I usually hit shuffle and play on my itunes mix of movie scores. I can’t play music with lyrics. If I’m singing along I’m not writing, so only instrumental music works.  

  
Thank you for stopping in and spending so much time with me, it was a true pleasure.
Questions and comments are welcomed!

Direct links

GMTA PUBLISHING 

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Teaser time!

The woman in the closet was in her mid-thirties. Her hair was stuck to her forehead with sweat and mascara ran from her eyes, which robbed her of most of the beauty she usually possessed. The darkness of her hiding spot stole the rest. Moonlight seeped in through the slotted closet door casting an eerie, bluish light on her eyes, which darted left and right nervously. Her bottom lip trembled and she breathed heavily in and out trying her best to keep her composure and remain quiet. She had no idea where the man had come from. All she knew was that he bore a slight resemblance to her husband. Thinking back to just a few minutes ago, she couldn’t figure out how things had gone wrong…horribly wrong.

Isabella Manner had been in her kitchen slicing apples for a pie. She’d barely heard the doorbell over the sound of the salsa music playing from her smart-phone that sat on the counter. She stopped swaying her hips and turned down the music, listening carefully for what she’d thought she heard. It rang again. It wasn’t very late in the evening, but past the usual visiting hour, and it wasn’t often that they had visitors in the first place.

“Joshua, who’s at the door?” she called out.

Joshua, her fourteen-year-old son, was too busy playing video games as usual, so she was forced to shout at him a little louder, in Spanish nonetheless. She hated resorting to that out of fear that her son would think of what little Spanish he heard as the “I’m in Trouble Language.” Kids these days didn’t have the patience to learn the language of their heritage. The Spanish did the trick and Joshua climbed lazily up from his spot on the rug and reluctantly dropped his game controller into his twelve-year-old sister’s lap. She beamed with happiness at the thought of having a go at the game console. Joshua quickly put an end to her hopes as he called out over his shoulder, “Touch it and you die.”
 
Joshua approached the door as nonchalantly as any other rich suburban kid with few problems would. He had, however, been taught to peek out the window before opening it at night.
 
“Umm, there’s some dude with a hood over his head out there, Ma.”

Isabella leaned out of the kitchen and looked at her son.
 
“Is it your father?” she asked.
 
“Dad’s not cool enough to have a tattoo on his wrist.”
 
Joshua flipped on the porch light and the man outside winced and hopped out of the light, but not before Joshua caught a quick glimpse of his face. His nose was crooked and he had a strange grin. His body was cloaked in a black jacket.
 
“He kinda looks like dad,” Joshua informed his mother.
 
“What is that supposed to mean?” Isabella asked.
 
“I don’t know. Come see for yourself,” he replied.
 
Frustrated, Isabella stormed out of the kitchen, wiping her hands on her jeans. She peaked out the window and saw the man. He stood with his head down, hidden in the shadows.
 
“Can I help you?” she called out through the door.
 
“Is Dennis home?” the man asked.
 
His voice was strange. It sounded as if a ton of phlegm was rattling around in his throat.
Isabella looked at Joshua, who shrugged his shoulders. She wasn’t sure whether she should admit that her husband was working late…or at least that was his excuse. She knew the truth, but really did hope that this time her husband was honest about ending the affair he’d been having with “the woman.” They’d fought long and hard about this one, and finally he’d sworn his loyalty to Isabella and promised to ditch the tramp.
 
“I’m Dennis’s brother, Nick,” the strange man outside added.
 
“Your dad doesn’t have a brother,” Isabella said to her son.
 
“He didn’t have a girlfriend either until last week,” her son said with a roll of his eyes.
 
She fought back the urge to slap him. She’d been flying off the handle lately, and she knew that in reality, her son was just angry with his father. Instead she glared at him.
 
“Sorry. I didn’t mean it,” Joshua added. “He does kinda look like Dad though.”
 
Isabella had met all of Dennis’s family, as far as she knew. Something didn’t feel right about this man on her front porch. She moved over to the door and peered through the peephole.
 
Isabella wasn’t the smallest of women, but when a grown man lays his size thirteen boot heel right into the middle of the door, even the strongest of women is bound to topple backwards. The doorframe shattered and the door crashed inwards on her. Isabella screamed. She struggled to keep her balance and in the process stepped sideways on her foot, popping her ankle. Hot liquid rushed up her leg as she howled in pain and crumpled to the floor.
 
“You just couldn’t leave him alone about HER, could you?” the man cried out as he stalked through the door.
 
“Mom!” Joshua yelled. It was the last thing he would get out of his mouth. He instinctively dove at the man, who met him with the knife blade directed straight at his neck.

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Huddled in the dark closet, Isabella struggled to remember everything that had happened. It had gone by so fast. She closed her eyes and remembered the explosion of the door as it was kicked in. She remembered the sound of her son yelling, “Mom!”
 
Then her daughter’s screams. She barely recalled making it to the closet in the upstairs bedroom, but that’s where she was now and where she’d remain until the police came or until her husband returned home. Her face twisted in the sudden urge to sob. She closed her eyes, her lips trembling, as saliva settled at its corners, close to running down her chin. Tears streamed down her face. A slight whimper escaped her lips and she cupped her hand over her mouth to prevent it from happening again. She had no idea where the man was now. She had run as fast as she could on the damaged ankle. This was her third hiding spot. Under the bed didn’t seem safe enough and once the lights went out, she was afraid to stay behind the bedroom curtain. As Isabella remained frozen in fear, the light shining through the closet door slats illuminated her trembling cheeks. Wire hangers scraped against metal as clothes were slid aside behind her. Fear struck at her gut like a dagger as she realized she wasn’t alone in the closet. The controlled breath of someone only inches away sent shivers down her spine. She willed herself to run, to crash through the closet door and do her best to escape, but her muscles refused to react. Her fight or flight instincts were replaced by fear and the realization that she wouldn’t get far on her damaged ankle. She closed her eyes and accepted that she’d be joining her children soon.