I am very honored to have the opportunity to interview Michael Knudsen today. He new book The Rogue Shop, just released and it is pretty exciting. Thanks for coming to my blog and letting me ask you some questions, and for taking the time to answer them. It is super cool for me because you are my first interview, and I can't wait to find out the answers to my questions. So let's get started!
Me: How long have you known you wanted to be a writer?
Michael :When I was four months old, I pulled dad's bic pen out of his shirt pocket when he was burping me. It was love at first sight. Later I progressed to picture books on kindergarten-lined pater and sending lengthy stories to my aunt who was on her mission. In third grade I was put in the "resource" class because my teacher thought my imagination was "hyperactive". I lived out entire Apollo missions and Godzilla movies in my ind, with friends or without. After seeing "Jaws" I couldn't take a bath for two weeks. I was the kind of kid parents worried about.
Me: It sounds to me like you had the makings of a great author even when you were little, and I think imagination in kids is an important part of what makes us creative. What lead you to write the story you did?
Michael: The Rogue Shop came out of a time and a place --Downtown Salt Lake City, in the early 1990'. I worked at a tuxedo shop there, and we had a ton of old mannequins and stuff from the 50's and 60's in the cellar. Those things evoked a sense of time and place that just cried out for a good story. Later, my viewpoint character, Chris, became more of a real person and he started giving me a hard time about not finishing his story. I didn't finish a draft until 2008, and by then I was driven to see it published. Chris was mollified, and hasn't actively bothered me since.
Me: I totally get that, I think sometimes our characters take on a life of their own, they have whole conversations and if you don't act quickly then you lose what they are saying. I love that Chris kept at you until you wrote his story. I was wondering what super hero you would be if you could choose and why?
Michael: I'm going to go with Aqua man because I think swimming fast underwater and having gills is cooler than flying through the air.
Me: I think this is a great choice! So how long did it take you to go through the whole process of writing, editing, and getting The Rogue Shop published?
Michael: 20 years total. I wrote the first chapter for the first time in 1989 while still working at the tuxedo shop. I thought about it off and on over the decades, and had five chapters at some point in the mid-90's. Only in 208 did I get serious. on January 1, 2010, I submitted the manuscript to several publishers, and it was accepted May 14. Editing was not bad at all. While finishing my final draft, I put countless hours into scouring the MS for every little typo and bad adjective that it was fairly clean when I submitted. I spent about 6 hours going over my editor's suggestions and that's about it.
I look back on it and call myself an idiot for procrastinating so much and wasting so much time without developing my talent. But I won't do that. The truth is, I just didn't have the maturity and life experience before NOW to write this particular story. Finishing it just felt wrong until the past couple of years. Of course, there is a ton of OTHER stuff I should have been writing all those years, but all I have now is the present.
Me: I think that is great advice about not beating yourself up for not getting things done in the past. I think we can all take that to heart. Did you ever get discouraged along the way and what kept you going?
Michael: Many times. Before having any success as a writer, the tendency is to spend a lot of time in denial. The over active imagination kicks in again. "I'm not that good," "this writing is a waste of time, I could be watching TV", etc. Finally, I had to just will myself into believing that I could do it, and it was possible because of that same imagination. I could see myself getting a novel published. When I finally combined fantasizing about it with actually working toward it on a daily basis, I eventually KNEW I would have a novel published. At some point, you need to get that certainty to get it done.
Me: I think that visualization is truly powerful, and had a powerful effect on you. I think if we visualize our successes more, we might have more of them too. So what is the craziest thing you have ever done?
Michael: One Tuesday in July 2003 I took a day off work and drove alone to the base of Lone Peak, and 11,000 foot mountain near my home. Having never done any mountaineering or even much hiking, I set out to reach the summit, alone. This was not wise. There was no one else on the mountain and I didn't have a cell phone. I reached the summit surrounded by 300 foot cliffs on all sides. The wind was blowing hard. I could have been killed a dozen times. On the way back down I got bad blisters on both feet and lost the trail. It was almost dark when I literally crawled the last half-mile to my car and drove home. I would like to say I'm proud of that achievement, but I would sound like an idiot.
Me: I don't know it sounds pretty darn impressive to me that you were able to do what you did. And it is a darn great story! If you could do anything knowing you couldn't fail what would it be?
Michael: Jump off of Lone Peak. No, really I would dive into writing a huge, epic world-building fantasy series like Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time. Wouldn't it be cool to have scads of people living in a world of your own creation as they read your books and follow your characters over thousands of pages? How would it feel to have people line up in anticipation of your next book? Intend to find out, by eventually developing the knowledge that I cannot fail.
Me: Personally, I think you should go for it Micheal! I think you would be more successful than you would ever imagine. I say take the jump! Not off Lone Peak, but into your dream! Thanks so much for stopping by today Michael. I had a great time getting to know you better. I can't wait to get my hands on The Rogue Shop!
Michael: Thank you Debbie for hosting me today.
Me: I had a blast getting to know you! I'm glad you could be here. Just a note, you can get a hard copy or e-copy of The Rogue Shop by clicking here. You can also visit Michael's website at http://www.michaelknudsenauthor.com/