Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.
Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?
Michael: My name is Michael Prelee and I’m 47.
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
Michael: I graduated from Youngstown State University and I live in Northeast Ohio with my family.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
Michael: My latest novel, “Murder in the Heart of It All” was just released from North Star Press. It’s a mystery suspense novel set in Northeast Ohio.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
Michael: I’ve always been interested in writing. A few years ago I was finally able to find a story I wanted to write and began working toward that goal. That book became my first published work, the scifi-crime novel, “Milky Way Repo”.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Michael: I first considered myself a writer when I was able to complete a manuscript and submit it for consideration to a publisher. At that point, it felt like I had achieved my goal by completing the work, even if it was never published.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
Michael: When I read, I find myself drawn to two different genres, crime and science fiction. When I decided to write my first book I decided to make it a science fiction book with crime fiction elements. That became “Milky Way Repo”.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Michael: For my latest book, I wanted to convey to the reader that it was a mystery suspense story set in Northeast Ohio. “The Heart of It All” used to be a motto for the state of Ohio so I incorporated it into the title, “Murder in the Heart of It All”.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
Michael: I try to concentrate on characterization no matter what genre I’m writing in. Characters have to carry the plot forward. Luckily, I’m able to draw on the area where I live for examples of what motivates people and how they interact with one another.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Michael: “Murder in the Heart of It All” is loosely based on an incident that occurred in nearby Circleville, OH about thirty years ago. Someone was sending vicious anonymous letters to residents living there. I saw the story profiled on an episode of Unsolved Mysteries with Robert Stack and it occurred to me that it would make a fine plot to a crime novel.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
Michael: No, I don’t travel specifically for research. If I am able to draw upon things I’ve learned while visiting other places, that’s great, but setting this book in the area where I live meant that I didn’t have to go far for background information.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Michael: My publishers design the covers for my novels.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Michael: In “Murder in the Heart of It All” I really wanted to capture the feeling of a small town in the Rust Belt that is besieged by a lackluster economy and whose residents have trouble finding employment. I also wanted to show how the ravages of the opioid epidemic affect the people who live in this area.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? Who is your favorite writer, and what is it about their work that really strikes you?
Michael: The great thing about writing is that you come into contact with other writers. Currently I watch for new releases from writers like Jack Castle, Scott Burtness, EM Kaplan and Dayton Ward. They write in a multitude of genres but they all produce interesting work with well rounded characters.
I don’t have a single favorite writer. I enjoy Stephen King because he has a way of drawing the reader in and making them care about the characters in his stories. I enjoy Elmore Leonard because it is such a joy to read his dialogue and see how it carries the plot. Finally, Jack McDevitt is a favorite scifi author because his world building is amazing and his plots are so original.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
Michael: I am blessed to have a great group of beta readers who live nearby. They are able to review my work and let me know if the voices of my characters are true to their inspiration.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Michael: While I would certainly enjoy writing as a career, the reality is that a steady day job is necessary for the foreseeable future. It’s a great second job, though.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Michael: Considering the editing process I just went through, I’m not sure there’s anything that wasn’t changed. No, I’m very satisfied with the book the editor and I produced.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
Michael: The protagonist is a young newspaper reporter so I learned quite a bit about how such a person would go about investigating crimes of this nature, what mistakes they would make and how their youthful energy would work in their favor.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Michael: I think Tom Holland from the upcoming Spiderman movie would bring the right mixture of humility and energy to the role of Tim Abernathy.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Michael: Keep writing and keep submitting. Be diligent about both. It is possible to get your work picked out of the slush pile for publication. Don’t let anything stop you.
The second piece of advice I would give is read as much as possible in as many genres as possible. You never know where you will get inspiration for your own work.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Michael: Writers work hard to produce stories we hope readers will enjoy. We always appreciate feedback so please leave a review if you can.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Michael: Right now I am reading H. R. McMaster’sDereliction of Duty: Johnson, McNamara, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Lies That Led to Vietnam. I enjoy history and it is a fascinating look at the leadership of that era.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Michael: I think the first book I read on my own may have been Socks by Beverly Cleary.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Michael: Good acting performances in movies or TV.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
Michael: I think it would be great to meet Stephen King and speak with him about writing.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
Michael: I enjoy comics so I like to attend comicons. Ironically, I now attend more events but get to enjoy them less because it’s impossible to break away from my own booth.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Michael: I think we’re living through a great period of television where creators can stretch themselves and really take their time to tell stories. I enjoy shows like Justified, Longmire, Better Call Saul and Fargo.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Michael: Wow, you just threw a wrench into my imagination machine. I see writing being a part of whatever I do in the future.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
Michael: “He hated autocorrect”
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
Michael: I sure do. Readers can find me on the web at:
Amazon Authros pages