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Thursday, March 1, 2012

Interview with Michael Shean!


Please help me welcome author Michael Shean to Full Moon Bites! :)

Michael Shean is author of Shadow of a Dead Star and the on-going serialized novel at Curiosity Quills, Bone Wires.

Holly: Hello, Michael! Would you care to tell us a little bit about yourself?

Michael Shean: Hello there!  Ah, well, where to start - I’m a native of West Virginia, and I’ve been involved in the more creative aspects of IT for about thirteen years or so just out of high school.  Web and graphic design, that sort of thing.  I started writing seriously about four years ago. 

Holly: How did your interest in writing first spark?

Michael Shean: I’ve wanted to be a writer since...oh, first grade or so?  The bug bit me early.  I had very complex imaginary friends and imaginary worlds to play in when I was young, mostly due to being fairly isolated as a child; I started reading very early as well, so books were my friends as long as I can remember.  It wasn’t long before I wanted to start creating stories of my own.

Holly: Can you tell us a little bit about your first novel, Shadow of a Dead Star?


Michael Shean: Shadow of a Dead Star is really two stories in one - the novel itself is the story of Thomas Walken, a federal agent in the Seattle of 2078, whose job is to keep illcit technology out of the US.  His world is a very nasty one, and the case that starts the novel - his tracking down of three little girls who’ve been turned into semi-robotic sexual playthings is a perfect example of that.  But it’s a far worse state of affairs than simply a morally degraded, technologically dependent society...which is what he’ll find out in the course of his investigation.  The first book sets the stage for what becomes very much a sort of invasion story lurking beneath the noir trappings.

Holly: What was your inspiration for this novel?


Michael Shean: Well at the time, I was in a very bad place emotionally.  I felt very much isolated from the world, and angry at it - you can see the same feelings in Walken, who looking back now I realize became a sort of avatar of my discontent with things.  It was rather therapeutic, though I still of course feel the same way.  Just not quite so...urgently.

Holly: You on-going serialized novel at CuriosityQuills, Bones Wires, is up to read for free with a new installment published every Thursday. I have to ask, how different is it, writing a serial novel, than just wiring a novel with the intent to publish when finished?

Michael Shean: It’s VERY different indeed.  If you’re not writing it all in advance, especially, it can be difficult to try and plan things as you go - but on the other hand, doing it off the cuff can give you a creative challenge that keeps things fresh every week.  It certainly helps break up the monotony if you’re working on another project besides!  I’ve written an article detailing my experiences which you can read here. (http://michael-shean.com/wordpress/?p=586)

Holly: What was the base idea behind Bone Wires, I know you said it was set two years before the setting of your novel, Shadow of a Dead Star?


Michael Shean: The base idea behind Bone Wires was to write a novel that was much more in keeping with the noir formula that Shadow and the other books of the Wonderland Cycle keep as an outer layer, but without the world-spanning conspiracy that forms their core.  Gray’s story takes place in 2076, during the American Tricentennial.  He’s a homicide detective for Civil Protection, which is the corporation responsible for civil police services in Seattle - they hold the contract, you see.  I wanted to show different side of things, to create an entirely self-contained tale set in the same world but which was more firmly grounded in the day-to-day horrors of the setting and not the alien dark that dwells behind the setting.

Holly: Why Futuristic-Science Fiction?


Michael Shean: Well, science fiction in general allows you to talk a lot about major issues while hiding them behind the veil of fantasy.  I could have done both stories in a more modern setting, but I also wanted to take a lot of what goes on today and sort of show what COULD happen - the world of the Wonderland novels is very much a direct evolution of world events and culture as I believe they could happen.  Well, short of the more fantastic elements, of course, but even then those are simply metaphor for existing issues.

Holly: Do you ever think you might branch into a different genre?


Michael Shean: Absolutely!  I have horror stories already planned, fantasy - and much more light-hearted fare as well.  I’m writing a comedic modern fantasy tale called ‘Bilby the Destroyer’ which is a radical departure from what I’ve already written.  I have no interest in being bound by a particular genre; I love all kinds of writing, so why would I only focus on one myself?

Holly: What are your plans, writing-wise, for 2012? Any goals?


Michael Shean: Well, I’m hoping to have all of the Wonderland Cycle done (Shadow of a Dead Star, its sequel, Redeye, and the third and final novel) as well as completing Bone Wires and having that published as a novel as well.  I’m also planning to work out some shorts...maybe even another novel by the end of the year - perhaps Bilby the Destroyer, which I’d already mentioned, or a darker urban fantasy novel that I’ve been working on for a while called Quiet As They Burn.  Lots of writing in any case.

Holly: Do you have anything you would like to say to readers?


Michael Shean: First, I want to thank everyone who’s been reading my work.  Nobody should expect to make much money at all when they just start out as an author, but the sheer pleasure of knowing that people read and enjoy my work is more than enough to keep me plowing forward.  Just keep in mind that most authors need to know that people are out there; comment on their blog posts, send them reviews, emails, whatever - the more we know what people think, good or bad, the more we can grow as creative professionals.  Interface with your favorite authors, tell them what you think!  You’d be surprised how receptive and grateful (and friendly!) we can be.

Holly: What are a few of your favorite books and/or authors?


Michael Shean: Oh, jeez.  Well, I won’t talk about books, because we’d be here all day.  My favorite authors, however, are as follows: Philip K. Dick, William Gibson, H. P. Lovecraft, Elmore Leonard, Clark Ashton Smith, Cormac McCarthy, Terry Pratchett, Harry Harrison, and Douglas Adams.  A balance of light-hearted and grim, I suppose, but there you are!


Michael Shean is an author of hard-edged detective Sci-Fi, living in the DC area with his wife and over-sized cats. The first novel of his Wonderland series, Shadow of a Dead Star is published by Curiosity Quills Press with its offshoot, Bone Wires serialized every week on the Curiosity Quills website.


You can find Michael at: His blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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