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?
Hi Fiona! Thanks for the invite! I’m Michael Darling and I’m older than my boyish looks would indicate. A full deck, if you will, plus the jokers.
Fiona: Where are you from?
I was born in a rather small town in a small western state in the US, but I’ve lived in the Salt Lake City, Utah, area for most of my life.
Fiona: A little about yourself (i.e., your education, family life, etc.).
I earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Language and Literature. My wife and I play host to six guinea pigs, although one of them bears a striking resemblance to a dog and three of the others claim to be children.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
The first novel of my series, Got Luck, briefly landed a #1 spot on Amazon and the sequel, Got Hope, has been well received so far, with a 4.9 out of 5.0 stars. I’m working on Book Three now, titled Got Lost.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
A shiny new device was invented when I was but a lad. It was called the “clay tablet.” It came with a nifty stylus and everything and it looked like a blast to use. Much different from the old papyrus and ink. So, I gave it a whirl and the rest is history. Lots and lots of history.Silliness aside, I’ve been writing as long as I can remember and I dictated my first story because I could draw the pictures but couldn’t write the words.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I’d been writing for quite a while before I found out you could do it officially and perhaps profitably. I felt I was a writer from the moment I understood that “writer” was an actual vocation.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I love mysteries and those were the first few forays for me. None of them were very good but I soldiered on because I felt like the stories were at least getting better. I finally settled on urban fantasy as a genre because it allowed me to blend all the other bits that I liked into mysteries as well. I read almost 50 bestsellers and a handful of really-not-bestsellers to get the urban fantasy under my skin where it could simmer. The research helped me get Got Luck off the ground and that’s the one that found a publisher.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
I was really looking for something that was offbeat but centered on the character, and I also wanted to have a marketing angle built in as well. The main character is named Goethe Laoch and, in the course of events, the name gets anglicized to Got Luck. With the title and the character becoming the same words, I was able to tick that box. When I first pitched the book, I made it clear it was intended to be a series and all the titles would start with “Got” so we could build a brand around that. As much as I would like to write Got Milk, however, I’m reasonably certain it’s best to avoid a lawsuit.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
I’ve been told that the style is a little different but I write in the voice of the character because it’s first person. There are little quirks and some readers might have to push through for a chapter or two to become familiar withthe writing, but Got usually wins them over early on.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
A few. I’ve always loved performing magic tricks and some of the scams and dodges in my novels are based on deceptions used by conjurors. And the main character’s love interest, Erin, is a tall, accomplished, stunningly-beautiful brunette who would easily be mistaken for my wife’s twin sister.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
With the aforementioned beautiful brunette being a flight attendant, we do have occasion to travel. Last year, we took the family to Germany for a month and also visited Austria, the Czech Republic, and the Netherlands. We also took a trip to London, which was amazing, and all the castles, cathedrals, and countryside splendor shows up in my novels sooner or later.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Future House, my publisher, has an amazing crew of designers, photographers, and artists. They do a great job of creating covers, making sure the brand is appealing and remaining true to the tone of the series.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I’m unabashedly an escapist writer, although there are themes that emerge from each book such as the value of friendship, perseverance, love, and integrity. If readers can have an hour or two in their day, however, that lets them set their troubles aside and get lost in the humor and adventure, I’m pleased to provide that.
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?
My list of favorites undoubtedly resembles almost everyone’s. The popular writers are popular for a reason and I’m just as captivated by the work of bestselling authors as anyone. I will always acknowledge how my work is based on my three favorite “Harrys:” Harry Potter, Harry Bosch, and Harry Dresden. J.K. Rowling’s series is inspiring because absolutely everything in her world is magical. The Bosch series of procedurals by Michael Connelly has no magic at all but the stories are incredibly well-written and feature a prickly protagonist who is still irresistibly engaging. Of course, you can’t write urban fantasy without a nod to the grand-daddy of the genre, Jim Butcher, who has never given us a bad story. Reviewers have been kind enough to compare my work with theirs and also other wonderful writers like Carl Hiassen and Robert Crais, whom I admire and read fervently.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
Easy. Adam Sidwell of Future House publishing and his crew of wonderful editors.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
The sooner, the better!
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Is it flawed? Boy, howdy! Yes! But I learned a million good things and I wouldn’t change anything. It will serve as a benchmark to hopefully show I’m learning and growing as a writer, which every writer should do with each new book.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
Balance is vital. Readers will forgive the terrible things if the good things that result swing the pendulum back far enough to justify the pain.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Sadly, I’m a little old for it. It would be great to join the pantheon of fiction writers who become movie stars though!Right? *Sigh* Considering how long a deal would take to get to the screen, I’d want Tom Holland because he was so great in Spider-Man: Homecoming, he’d be the right age by then, and he could do the snarky vulnerability along with the adventure.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Read. Write. Rinse. Repeat!
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
I miss the instant connection with the audience I once had when I was doing magic shows every day. Reach out to me! I love to make acquaintances on social media and answer emails.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I’ve been reading Brandon Sanderson’s The Way of Kingsfor a while but I haven’t been able to take a few days and just devour it. I enjoy it more every time I pick it up! Other good things keep happening, however, asI get requests to read and review books from other writers. It’s important to me to support the writers who are great but haven’t been elevated to the New York Times Bestseller List yet and that, I think, is a worthy cause.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Other than scripture, it was Hop on Pop by Dr. Seuss. I abruptly learned, however, that it was a thing called “fiction” and not a book of instructions.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
I laugh when a bad person gets what they deserve. On the flip side, when a good person gets what they deserve, I cry.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
So many! From so many walks of life and so many periods of time. I can’t pick one.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
Traveling and cooking and spending time with the wife and kids. Erm. I mean “guinea pigs.”
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Anything, as long as it has a good story!
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Italian food, ocean and sky, music from the ‘80s.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Decompose. Because the only future I can envision where I no longer write is a future where I’m six feet under.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
Denouement. (Ooo! Just thought of that! Poetic. Writerly. I’m changing the will…)
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
Absolutely! I don’t update it all that often and I don’t send out newsletters frequently (fans would rather I write books, I’ve been told) but I hope everyone will go to www.michaelcdarling.com and subscribe. I do giveaways and provide updates there. Readers can also find links to Facebook and Twitter.
Thanks a million much for having me!