Interview: J. C. Michael

The Bookie Monster Interviews J. C. Michael, author of Discoredia.

J. C. Michael is an English horror author. His d├ębut novel, Discoredia, was published in September 2013, by Books of the Dead Press.

Tell us a little about yourself, your work and how you got into writing.

My name isn’t J. C. Michael, that’s just a pen name I use because what I write isn’t exactly the sort of thing my mother would approve of having the family name linked to! I work full time within the heritage industry and with that, and a two year old son, my writing is relegated to the role of part time hobby at the moment. As to how I got into writing, well, I was always full of ideas, always shooting my mouth off about how a film or novel could have been improved, and eventually I was told that if I could do any better I should give it a go. I did, and the result was the first draft of Discoredia, a 90,000 words plus novel.

What five words best describe you?

Awkward, belligerent, loyal, dedicated, smart.

If you were to create a writing soundtrack, what artists would be on it?

That’s both an easy one, and something I could talk about for hours. I’m a massive fan of dance music, particularly hardcore and gabber, which is similar in some ways to EDM in the U.S. My favourite artists are Scott Brown, Brisk, Marc Smith, and Evil Activities. There’s a good chance none of those names means anything to you but there’s some youtube clips on my website so check them out, the link’s below. It’s the sort of music which can be intense, uplifiting, oppressive, fun, relaxing, or serious. The variety makes it great to write to.

How many people have you killed off over your career as a writer? Ever offed someone off then
kicked yourself for it?

I have a tendency to kill off just about everyone. However, since I write horror / fantasy it doesn’t matter if you kill them. You can always bring them back.

What do you do when you are not writing?

By the time you take out work, looking after my son, sleeping, and eating, there isn’t a lot of time left for anything else, including writing. I like to get some time out in the countryside, and if I’m indoors it’s very much the average things; movies, computer games, watching football.

Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?

A lot is based on real life, and then I let my imagination run wild within, and beyond, that framework. I think there needs to be some grounding in reality so that the reader can empathise with the characters, or understand a scene or situation. I also put a lot of myself into Discoredia, partly because it was initially written just for one person, and not as a commercial exercise, and partly because it helped get some things out of my head which had been rattling around in there for far too long.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Don’t rush to self publish. Yes, it’s easier than finding a publisher. Yes, it’s exciting. But you can soon put out an inferior product and damage not just your reputation as a writer, but also the reputation of your product. I’d also recommend signing up to Autonomy. I learnt a lot from the time I spent on that site.

What's the one question you wish you would get asked but never do?

Would you mind signing here for your multi-million dollar guaranteed advance on royalties.

Who are you reading right now?

I’ve just started The Books of Blood by Clive Barker after finishing Joe Hill’s NOS4A2 a few days ago. I thought that was an excellent book. It paid homage to his father, and his work, but also had a very 21st Century vibe whereas King’s cultural references fit far more comfortably within the mid/late 20th.

What kinds of challenges did you face when you were writing the series?

Research wise I took lots of drugs and killed a lot of people. Nah, just kidding. It’s hard to research some things, although I did stick my finger into my eye socket to try and get some idea of how it would feel to gouge someone’s eyes out. I’m a firm believer in writing what you know, and then elaborating upon it. Perhaps that’s a lazy option, and it’s one I may need to re-think as you can’t keep writing the same stuff over and over again. As someone who studied History I’d love to write historical fiction but it would have to be accurate and that would demand a lot of time. Fantasy gives you a lot more artistic license to just make up your own stuff and your own rules.

In ten words or less:
·        Are you a morning person or a night owl?
o   Night owl. I prefer the dark.
·        Biggest fear?
o   Anything bad happening to my wife or son.
·        Favorite TV Show?
o   Current – The Walking Dead, Justified. Past – The Shield
·        Happiest moment in your life to date?
o   It may sound corny, but my wedding day.
·        If you could choose your last meal, what would it be?
o   Mixed Grill – Sausage, Bacon, Egg, Black Pudding, Chicken, Steak etc.
·        If you realized that you got a free item by accident after leaving a store, would you go back and pay for it?
o   A diamond ring – Yes. An extra tin of soup – No.
·        The zombie apocalypse has begun. What zombie fighting badass would you want on your team?
o   I’ll have a Terminator please.
·        Who is the most famous person you have met?
o   Sir Alex Ferguson
·        Worst job ever?
o   That I’ve done? Jet-wash a log flume trough in winter.
·        Would you rather be homeless for a year or be in jail for a year?
o   I’d start out homeless, and probably end up in prison

Where can readers stalk you?
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