Author Interview: C. Micheal Powers

I love to discover authors that have lived lives a bit off the beat track. C. Michael Powers certainly fits that description! I am pleased to welcome him here to No Wasted Ink.

Author C. Michael PowersMy name is Christopher Powers. I write under the name C. Michael Powers. I’m a young expat living in my wife’s beautiful country of Panama. I spend most of my time traveling around this country, writing freelance, and maintaining my blog.

I was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, but having divorced parents led me to a life on the road, moving all over the U.S. I joined the Air Force right out of high school and was sent to Elmendorf Air Force Base in Anchorage, Alaska. That’s where I met my wife (a Panamanian in Alaska, long story). I managed security for a few Tiffany & Company jewelry stores (in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, Chicago, Illinois, and Columbus, Ohio) before the recession got the best of me. We were broke, not sure what to do with our lives, so I thought, “My wife gave my country a try. I guess I should try hers.” Now I’m here in Panama, with my wife and four kids, spending every chance I can writing my novels and roaming around the city, beaches, mountains, and rolling plains.

When and why did you begin writing?

I had no idea I wanted to write until I was 16 years old. I’d just learned to type without looking at the keyboard. I was visiting my grandfather in Grove, Oklahoma, and while my dad and little brother were out fishing on the lake, I stayed behind to watch TV. I just happened to stumble upon an old typewriter that was covered up in a bedroom corner. I yanked the cover off, sat down, and started punching on the keys. I wrote several chapters that afternoon.

When I went back to school, I started handwriting the book. I remember my friend, Angela Garsetti, read the first notebook. She hunted me down and demanded that I hurry up and finish the next one. If it weren’t for Angela, I may not be writing today. She kept me moving forward. Looking back, that first book was ridiculous. It was basically everything I wanted to be. It was all about a teenager in a small town in Oklahoma. All the girls were in love with him. All the guys wanted to fight him. Everyone had some sort of crazy secret. Ha, it really was ridiculous.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I’m just starting to now. All throughout my stint in the military, I kept handwriting everything in notebooks. Finally, when I got out of the Air Force, I bought my first laptop, and paid about $300 for Movie Magic Screenwriter. I knew I wanted to write screenplays. I’m a huge movie buff and loved creating characters for the big screen. The problem was, none of my characters were anywhere close to hitting that big screen.

I’d written the Mirror Images story out in screenplay format first. I think it came out to about 140 pages or something like that. I had to scale back, chop up the story, and throw out characters, just to get it down to the 120 page maximum (screenplays shouldn’t be longer than 120 pages). Even then I got complaints that it was too long and that there was just too much relentless action going on in those 120 pages. People seemed to like the story. I got great reviews. However, it seemed to exhaust readers with so much crammed into that little 120 page package. So I started writing it out in novel form instead.

When I moved to Panama, I still didn’t consider myself a writer. I kept working on churning out the first Mirror’s novel. I worked a few dead end jobs here in Panama before finding an Editorial Assistant job for a respected online publisher, one that deals mostly with living and investing overseas. With that job I started writing a monthly e-zine about living here in Panama. I’d probably been doing that about six months before I started to consider myself a writer. I still work for that company, but now I only write the monthly e-zine. Being an Editorial Assistant wasn’t for me. I just want to write.

Shortly after leaving the full-time gig, I published my book with Amazon’s KDP program. Then I created my blog. My wonderful wife, Marlene, has considered me a writer for a long time. When we first moved to Panama, and we were filling out the immigration forms, under employment, she would always tell me to put down “writer.” It just didn’t feel right to me. Now, I can finally say that I’m a writer…and I love it.

Can you share a little about your current book with us?

Sure. If you don’t mind, I’d just like to use the summary from the back of the book.

When an average Joe’s reflection in the mirror switches places with him, he finds himself trapped in a strange mirror world, battling his way back to the other side so that he can stop his reflection from destroying the life he knows.

“Have you ever wondered why so many people in prison claim to be innocent? It’s ‘cause most of ‘em are,” Dozier whispered.

On the other side of the mirror, lies a horrific world where each of us has an image, our violent replica, capable of fulfilling our darkest desires, and only released into our world when we’re unable to follow through with an evil deed. Gabe Cutter, an average paper pusher, has his life ripped out from under him when his image switches places with him, hell bent on destroying the life Gabe knows, and killing his cheating fiance’. Now, stuck on the other side of the mirror, Gabe must join together with a band of stranded survivors and find a way to get back to his world before his image destroys it. Along the way he battles his way through maniacs, monsters, and ultimately his own heart, as he realizes that the woman he’s been trying to save…wasn’t worth the price of admission.

What inspired you to write this book?

I think it all came about from my desire to write something that I’d want to read. I’m not a big fan of sci-fi, at least not the space ship kind of science fiction. And fantasy always seems to conjure up visions of Lord of the Rings. Then you’ve got the vampire and werewolf books flying off the shelves right now. All of those styles and story lines are great, and I may even write something in those genres myself one day, but it’s not what I wanted to read. I wanted something more raw and gritty.

I wanted to write something that takes place now, but has elements of dark fantasy, monsters, maniacs, and just an insane version of our reality. I wanted to let loose, send the virtual ink flying, and see what my mind was capable of. That’s how Mirror Images came to be.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I try to be a very visual storyteller. If I could draw, I probably would’ve written the Mirror Images story out in graphic novel form. I think my writing is like that, sort of like a graphic novel, but I give you the details necessary to imagine the pictures yourself. I’ve placed the series in the Urban Fantasy genre because it seems to be where it makes most sense. However, when I describe the book, I like to say it’s a Kick Ass Urban Fantasy. I try to keep the action going and keep the reader moving forward. Hopefully I’ve accomplished this with the first book.

How did you come up with the title of this book?

The title drove me nuts. I was sure the main title would be Mirror Images, because the reflections living on the other side of the mirror were referred to as Images throughout the novel. It wasn’t until I wrote the second, third, and most of the fourth book out in screenplay format that I came up with the titles of all the books. Mirror Images Book 1: The Darkness of Man was perfect. The first book is about that, the darkness of man, both the images and humans. The images have a dark desire to carry out what is necessary of them, and it’s man’s darkness that leads to the images switching places and coming into our world.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Once you’ve read all four books you might see a clear message. For now, I just want readers to hold on to their seats, have a blast, let their minds go nuts, and give me the chance to entertain them.

Are experiences in this book based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

No, thank God. I’d be crazy if I said yes…and I’m not crazy…right?

What authors have most influenced your life? What about them do you find inspiring?

Three writers come to mind. First, S.E. Hinton. I’m from Oklahoma, and when I discovered The Outsiders, Rumblefish, Tex, and her other books, I was in heaven. I was never much of a fighter, and it thrilled me to read about teenage boys who weren’t afraid to throw down at the drop of a hat. I don’t know if I’d want my daughters to read her books, but I’ll make sure they’re on my sons’ bookshelf. My two favorite authors right now are Stephen Hunter and George R. R. Martin. Stephen Hunter writes the greatest hardcore, redneck revenge novels. The Swagger books are awesome. George R. R. Martin is the best at character development. If I can write characters even half as interesting as his, than I’ve done a good job. He makes you love even the characters you hate. That’s special.

If you had to choose, is there a writer would you consider a mentor? Why?

No writer has been a mentor, but the huge pool of struggling indie writers on Twitter and Facebook is such an invaluable group of people to know. It amazes me some of the info that is shared. If we keep helping each other out, there’s no limit to what we can accomplish.

Who designed the cover of your book? Why did you select this illustrator?

My youngest brother, Kody Whitall, designed my book cover. He’s been going to school for that type of thing, so I reached out to him and asked if he’d like to give it a try. His first cover was great, but not really what was needed for this book. He went back to the drawing board and came up with this awesome cover. I love it. And that’s his photo on the cover too.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Too many of us let writer’s block slow us down. If you can’t think of anything to write, put that story aside and start on one of your other ideas. Or just let your fingers go nuts. Type the craziest shit that comes to mind. That’s how some of the best stories come about.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Thanks so much for your support. I really do appreciate it. Mirror Images Book 2: Sons of Man is on its way. My problem isn’t writer’s block, but having too many ideas rolling around in my head. So you can expect lots and lots of stories to come.

Mirror Images Book CoverC. Michael Powers, Panama City, Panama.

C. Michael Powers writes kick ass urban fantasy and horror novels. When he’s not busy penning his next novel, he travels all over his wife’s beautiful country of Panama, and reports back to the readers of his blog.

Mirror Images Book 1: The Darkness of Man, published by Christopher Powers at Amazon KDP, Smashwords, and CreateSpace.

Cover Artist: Kody Whitall

Is available for $2.99 in e-book form at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B007V9GQ7Y/ref=tsm_1_fb_lk

and at Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/213306

And in print for $11.99 at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Mirror-Images-Book-Darkness-Volume/dp/1478183667/ref=sr_1_cc_1?s=aps&ie=UTF8&qid=1352226633&sr=1-1-catcorr&keywords=mirror+images+book+1+the+darkness+of+man

and at CreateSpace: https://www.createspace.com/3927570

No Wasted Ink Writer’s Links

writers-linksNational Handwriting Day was January 23rd, the anniversary of John Hancock’s birthday. In honor of this, I’ve included a few links on the subject along with several good scrivener and general writing links. Enjoy!


Cursive is Much More Than Pen & Paper

What You Write About Doesn’t Matter as Much as You Think

Top 10 Novel Writing Mistakes

Ernest Hemingway’s 20 Rules Of Writing

Using Scrivener and iBooks Author to Create an iTunes iBook

Taking the Scary out of Scrivener

50 Synonyms for “Villain”

Writing, Illustrating And Marketing Books For Kids With Katie Davis

Science Fiction Stuff I Am SO Ready For

How to Write an Opening Sentence

Writing Space: Nordic Office

Nordic Office Space

I was attracted to this office space on the tumbler from Blood and Champagne due not only to its clean lines and gentle clutter, but that the space was truly functional. When we as writers design our writing spaces, I feel that functionality needs to merge with decor in a logical, but eye pleasing way.

Book Review: Foundation

Book Name:Foundation
Author: Issac Asimov
First Published: 1951

Isaac Asimov was an American author, a professor of biochemistry, and is best known for his science fiction and popular science books. He is considered one of the most prolific writers in history, having written or edited more than 500 books and an estimated 90,000 letters or articles.

Asimov is renowned as a master of the science-fiction genre and was considered one of the “Big Three” who developed the genre along with authors Robert A. Heinlein and Arthur C. Clarke. His most famous work is the Foundation Series, which started as a trilogy and then expanded into fifteen novels. Later, Asimov combined his Galactic Empire Series and the Robot Series into the Foundation universe that created a unified “future history” for a total of twenty-two novels that are considered part of this unified series.

Most of his popularized science books examine scientific concepts in a historical way. He begins by going back to when the concept was first in question at its simplest stage and then follows the idea through history, providing the nationalities, and biographical of the scientists as well as pronunciation guides for the technical terms.

A lessor known fact about the author is that he also wrote under the pen-name, Paul French. Under this name, Asimov wrote the popular juvenile science fiction series known as the Lucky Starr Series.

Foundation is the first novel of the original trilogy that Asimov wrote. It appeared as four novellas in magazines before it was combined as a true novel in 1951.

The Foundation Series follows the ideas developed by fictional mathematician Hari Seldon, a branch of mathematics known as psychohistory, a sort of mathematical sociological theory. Using the laws of mass action, this theory can predict the future, but only on the largest of scales. It explains that the behavior of a mass of people is predictable if the quantify of this population is extremely large, equal to quadrillions of humans. The greater the number of people in the equation, the more predictable the future will be.

Seldon, by using this theory, realizes that the imminent fall of the Galactic Empire is about to occur and this descent will encompass the entire Milky Way Galaxy. There will follow a dark age that will last for thirty thousand years before a second great empire will rise from the ashes. Seldon is disturbed by thought that so many people will be lost for so very long. Using his science of psychohistory, he also understands that there is an alternative where the intermittent period will last a scant one thousand years, if events are helped along. Seldon decides to make it his mission to push humanity into this alternate future history. He creates two Foundations to guide humanity, each at opposite ends of the galaxy. One is large and in the open, the other, secluded and secret. Both locations are places where all human knowledge is stored.

The novels are not about Hari Seldon the man, but more about the Seldon Plan as it is used by the Foundation to guide humanity into creating the second great Empire and the obstacles it must overcome to do so.

I first read Foundation in the 1970s as a teenager. It was not one of my favorite stories, but I had heard so much about Asimov that I wanted to read his famous trilogy. Although I have not read the entire body of his work, I find that the stories by this author that I have read, whether I enjoyed them at the time or not, stay with me permanently and make me think about the world around me in a new light.

I find a few flaws in Asimov’s writing when it comes to characterization. Many of his character’s personalities are flat and the majority of them are male. They are also a reflection of the time when they were written. This distanced the story for me personally, since as a woman, I found it more difficult to relate to the characters as people. However, the original science concepts of the story makes up for this lack and I found myself fascinated by the unique ideas found in these novels. Ideas that are as fresh today as when they were written decades ago. While there is currently no such science as psychohistory, I would not be surprised if it came into being, inspired by these classic novels, much as the science of robotics as we know it today was formed by the ideas found in Asimov’s Robot Series. Asimov is the man that coined the term “robotics” and wrote the three laws of robotics that are now used by AI developers. This saga of the futuristic “fall of the roman empire” is well worth the time to explore, keeping in mind the time when it was written.

Foundation Book CoverThe seven novels of the original “Foundation” series in chronological story order:

Prelude to Foundation
Foundation
Foundation and Empire
Second Foundation
Foundation’s Edge
Foundation and Earth
Forward the Foundation

No Wasted Ink Writer’s Links

writers-linksThis week I am forwarding links about the writing process to you, more than any other topic. How to add tension to your story, descriptions, and the voice of your characters. I hope you enjoy them!


Claim Google Authorship for Your WordPress Website in 3 Easy Steps

5 Errors in Treating Quotations

Physical Attributes Entry: Skin

Make Them Turn the Page: Adding Tension to Hook the Reader

Voice

When Creativity Takes A Wrong Turn: Lousy Book Covers

The Culture of the Copy

The wrong goodbye of Barnes and Noble

F. Scott Fitzgerald on the Secret of Great Writing

How Authors Can Effectively Use Goodreads