Sunday, July 28, 2019

An Interview with author Michael Embry

Michael's favorite quote:
"The art of writing is the art
of discovering what you believe."
-- Gustave Flaubert
Author's website
Author's Blog
Author on FaceBook
Twitter: @MichaelEmbry

When did you start fiction writing and what genre(s) do you like to write?

I participated in a creative writing conference in 1974 but it took me another 25 years to write my first novel, "The Touch." I've since written eight more novels, falling under contemporary mainstream, murder mystery, young adult, and boomer lit genres. I like variety in reading and writing.

Why this/these genre(s)? What attracts you to them?

These genres resonate with me. I enjoy probing the thoughts and actions of characters as they unfold in my stories. My last three novels have been in the boomer lit genre, which I plan to continue because it allows me to examine my amazing generation.

Generally speaking, what is the driving force behind your characters?

The driving force is confronting unforeseen problems and trying to make sense out of everything that is happening around them. Life isn't easy as we all deal with numerous pitfalls, disappointments, and heartbreaks.

Have any of your characters changed in a dramatic way from what you imagined
at the start during the writing process?

I would say most of the characters have grown and gained courage along the way. I want my characters to come across as real and have strengths and weaknesses that are relatable to readers.

What do you find the most difficult in finishing a story and approximately how long does it take for you to write a story?

It would be wrapping up loose ends, and in writing a series, leaving a few things that will bring readers back for the next book. It generally takes me from six to twelve weeks to write the first draft, then I go through about ten rewrites before I'm ninety-nine percent satisfied with the story (are authors ever totally satisfied?). I then rely on my editor for advice on improving the novel.

Are there other types of writing you do such as non-fiction, or short

I've written three non-fiction sports books (I was a sportswriter years ago) and one short-story collection. Although I've been approached, I doubt if I write any more non-fiction. However, I do plan to write another collection of short stories.

Has your writing affected you in any way and what would you recommend to
someone wanting to start writing fiction?

I believe writing helps me gain a better understanding of myself and others as I explore different areas of life. As for advice about writing fiction, I would recommend that the person read fiction, especially in the genre(s) they intend to write, and to read primers on fiction writing such as Jack M. Bickham's "The 38 Most Common Fiction Writing Mistakes (And How to Avoid Them)." I'd also suggest joining local writing groups, attending writing events, and getting to know other authors. Writing is a lifelong learning experience but it's necessary to learn the basics.

Read an excerpt of Michael Embry's latest release "New Horizons" (Release date: May 1, 2019)


Historical Writer/Editor said...

Hello, Michael, great interview. Well said about characters confronting problems, growing, and gaining courage. Your characters are memorable. Thanks for the insights, and happy writing! -laura

Michael Embry said...

Thank you, Laura. I'm looking forward to your interview! All the best for you.

CJH said...

Excellent interview, Michael. Some wonderful advice for writers of any age!!
Chris H

Michael Embry said...

Thank you, Chris. Writing is a life-long education.