It’s time for another Indie Interview, and this week, Michael Wolff stopped by to talk about his novel Sefiros Eishi: Chased by Flame.
Hi, Michael. Welcome to Read A Lot.
Q: Had you always planned on becoming a published author?
A: Yes. I would write stories based off of the video games I enjoyed (Super Mario Bros. 3, for example). My heroes had lightsabers and blasters, super-speed or cybernetic enhancements. Or Power Rangers. I loved Power Rangers. And of course, my heroes would have physical disabilities (I myself have cerebral palsy). All in all, mainly little kid stuff.
Q: What inspired you to write Sefiros Eishi: Chased by Flame?
A: I read Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series, and a whole new world opened up for me. He had taken the fantasy genre and made it realistic. Suddenly I wanted to take my writing to the next level, which led me onto the Renaissance odyssey that eventually became Chased By Flame.
Q: What made you choose the genre?
A: Robert Jordan wrote fantasy, and I deliriously wanted to be him.
Q: What is the book about?
A: It’s said that you write what you know, and what I know is being physically disabled (I have cerebral palsy). It’s a whole new world, having only one functioning arm. I try to portray what life would be like in the Middle Ages without an arm: how would that person live, how would he interact with that world.
There’s very little “fantasy” in the book. No dragons, some smattering of magic. The book is grounded by character development and serves as an introduction to the characters that will occupy the stage for the sequels.
I will, however, say this: Time travel will be a hallmark of the series, but I will have to walk the people through the door (metaphorically speaking).
Q: Did you find it easiest to write with a schedule or with no time restrictions?
A: This book is the main work I’ve done for the past thirty years. So yes, no time restrictions was a big factor in its evolution.
Q: Can you choose a favourite character?
A: Mykel. Everybody wants to be the hero of their own story, and for me that’s Mykel. Plus, what I have planned for him . . . well, it’s going to evolve into instant gratification. It’s going to be so cool.
Q: Was there ever a point while you were writing your book when you wanted to give up?
A: No. I was too busy adding new elements to the story. The story was my escape. I was always the hero, I always won, and I always got the girl. Why would I give that up?
Q: What is the worst part of the writing process for you?
A: Connecting scenes. For example, I have a hero scene (good guy and bad guy wax philosophically), but now I have to fill in the blanks of how and why the characters got to that scenario in the first place. It’s the stuff in the middle that contains the humanity of the characters; i.e. the personal touches that only they can pull off.
Q: How much of your stories do you plan, or do you find it easier to make them up as you go along?
A: Both. There are characters whose creation is geared towards one role and end up doing the work of another role (say like a giant bouncer ends up being the star-ship pilot). Sometimes I work backwards: I have a scene in mind, and the course of the story works towards that scene.
Q: Do you have a favourite piece of writing advice?
A: Read everything you can. I absorb the writing style of whatever I read (on a good day). Let your own writing style become a cohesive blend of what you read. There’s no better tutors than the masters of your favourite genre. Study their works and learn from them.
Q: Where can people learn more about your books?
Q: What have you learned since you started writing?
A: Promoting your work demands a lot of patience. Authors have to be salesmen: getting book reviews, interviews and the like is all on your shoulders. It also means a lot of waiting for things to take shape.
Q: What’s next for you?
A: Promoting Chased By Flame, and working on the next sequel.
Mykel LeKym. Born with one functioning arm. Born in a medieval world that prides itself on strength on arms than on intellect. He thought becoming a librarian would be an adventure. But one apprenticeship later, he finds the job of his dreams to be as fanciful as the stories he writes. Little does he know he’s about to collide head-on with all the magic, intrigue and fantasy he uses as an escape. This is the prologue of Mykel’s journey, and it will take him to the bounds of imagination . . . and beyond.