The Writings of Michael J. Bowler

Click here to edit subtitle

LITERALLY SPEAKING interview

Interview with ‘A Matter of Time’ Michael Bowler: ‘What if Dracula was a passenger aboard Titanic and contributed to events that sunk her?’
 September 19th, 2012  admin

You can visit Michael on the web at www.michaeljbowler.webs.com.

Q: Thank you so much for this interview, Michael!  Can you tell us where you are from?

I grew up in the city of San Rafael. It’s just north of San Francisco, in Marin County.

Q: How did you come up with your title?

The title is actually part of a very innocuous line spoken by one of the characters, but it takes on tremendous significance later in the story.

Q: They say you can judge a book by its cover.  Can you tell us a little about your cover and who designed it?

I designed the cover myself. Having produced the yearbook at the high school where I’ve been working, I developed a fair number of Photoshop and photography skills. I used a stock photo for the background – stars and the iceberg, but the other elements I photographed or created. There’s a Statue of Liberty Centennial pocket watch featured on the cover that is significant to the story.

Q: Can you tell us something about your book that would make me run out and buy it?

What if Dracula was a passenger aboard Titanic on her maiden voyage, and contributed to the events that sunk her? And what if there was someone else aboard from the future who could prevent the worst maritime disaster in history? What might happen when these two confront one another?

Q: Are there any messages in this book that you want the reader to know about?

The first line sort of sums up the message: “Love is timeless, Time is heartless, and Fate is unmerciful.” It sounds oblique, but becomes very clear by the end of the story.

Q: What was your most favorite chapter to write and why?

All the chapters set aboard Titanic were my favorites because I’ve always wondered what it would be like to walk the decks of that ship, to bask in her opulence and grandeur, and in writing those chapters I sort of felt like I was there, in that time, with those people on that ship of dreams.

Q: Why did you feel you had to write this book?

I’ve always been fascinated by the Titanic disaster, and one odd occurrence in particular mystified me. I took that one occurrence and built a story around it, a very powerful story of love and redemption that, once all the elements fell into place, I knew others would enjoy, too.

Q:  Now, some fun questions – What deep dark secret would you like to share with us?

I don’t know if I have any deep, dark secrets. I used to suck my thumb as a child – does that count? LOL

Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

I’d love to travel to Mars, but here on earth I guess I’d like to see Great Britain. I love Shakespeare and Arthurian stories and would love to see some of the castles, as well as the Globe Theatre.


Q: Are you a morning person or a night person?

Night. I’ve had to get up at 4:30 am Monday through Friday for the past 19 years to commute to my job, but I’m still NOT a morning person.


Q: Are there any members in your family who also like to write?

No.

Q: As a child, were you a dreamer?

Very much so. I was always making up stories in my head, long before I ever started writing them down. I had my own serial going in my imagination every night before I went to sleep. I’d move the story along a bit, end it with a cliffhanger, and then pick it up the next night before drifting off to sleep. I should’ve written the whole thing down. I’ve forgotten it all now.

Q: Last but not least, the magic genie has granted you one wish.  What would that be?

I’ve been heavily involved with children and teenagers my whole adult life, and I think if I had one wish it would be that everyone in this country, from politicians to entertainers to advertisers to teachers to the average person on the street would pledge to put the best interests of children first, before their own self-aggrandizement. We would all be a LOT better off that way.

Q: Thank you so much for this interview! Do you have any final words?

Thanks you for your time. I’d like to finish by saying that almost everyone who enjoys a good story with likeable characters they can care about will enjoy my book. It’s very user friendly.

 

Blogcrtics:  Interview: Michael Bowler, Author of A Matter of Time

Could you please tell us a bit about your book? The story? The characters?

The tagline on the front cover reads: “The world’s greatest evil stalks the world’s greatest ship, and the only one who can stop him hasn’t even been born yet.” While I can’t give away “the world’s greatest evil,” I can say the world’s greatest ship is, of course, Titanic. That ship and her tragic fate have always fascinated me since childhood. I also grew up loving gothic and horror literature and time travel stories. This book mashed all three of those elements into one story involving a college student named Jamie in 1986 who, through a series of dreams, discovers that he is somehow connected to Titanic’s sinking, despite his having not been alive at the time.He develops an odd illness, and a mysterious cell appears in his blood, a cell that, in his case, originated aboard Titanic. His roommate Dan, Dan’s sister Maggie, and Jamie’s friend Kevin attempt to help him, but they cannot understand what is happening. Jamie finally announces that the only way he can save himself from the deadly effects of that “cell” is to circumvent time and board Titanic before she sinks in 1912. While everyone thinks he’s delusional, including his writing professor and his parents, Jamie sets out to solve the mystery and save his life. Dan, for whom Jamie has become a good friend, agrees to accompany his roomie on as much of the journey as possible. He knows that if Jamie can somehow “jump” time and board the ship, he would not be able to follow. Their adventures together and Jamie’s ultimate destiny as it pertains to Titanic make up the bulk of the story.

 How did you come up with the title and how much say did you have on the cover design?

The title is actually a line of dialogue from the book that I felt best encapsulated Jamie’s circular journey. The cover design I created myself, using pictures I took and Photoshop to meld them together. The iceberg and star field background I leased from a stock photo site. The Statue of Liberty Centennial pocket watch figures prominently in the story.

Do you have a favorite line or excerpt that you would like to share from your book?

My favorite line is the first: “Love is timeless, Time is heartless, and Fate is unmerciful” because it sums up the story.

What are some of your favorite ways to promote your work?

I have a Facebook page and a website and have promoted the book on Goodreads, but I’ve gotten more readers and reviews by giving the book to people that I know enjoy reading and some of them have posted up reviews for me. I also have Book Daily sending out alerts and a sample chapter to its members every month. I’m new to the book-promoting business so I need more advice on what to do.

What is a typical writing day like for you?

I usually begin writing as soon as I get up in the morning. I’ll work for an hour or two, and then have breakfast, shave, etc. Then I write until lunch time, eat something, and go back to it until about 4 p.m. That’s when I go to the gym for a couple of hours. After the gym, it’s dinner and more writing. I’m an avid collector of movie soundtracks and tend to listen to music that fits the mood of whatever kind of scene I’m working on. It helps quite a bit.

What are some ways that you like to relax?

I work out with weights and do cardio vascular exercise. I read and sometimes watch DVDs of movies or TV shows I haven’t seen.

What author/s do you think are overlooked in the writing/reading world today?

I think David Wellington, who writes amazing vampire books (the type wherein the vampires are evil and dangerous) is someone who has been greatly overlooked. His vampire and zombie books would all make fantastic movies, but near as I can tell, Hollywood has ignored him.

 What author would you most like to meet and why?

I don’t have any favorite authors I’d be dying to meet. I’m not a celebrity-chasing kind of guy.

Do you have any upcoming projects that you would like to share with readers?

I have completed a revised first draft of a new novel, which I can’t say too much about until I send it in to the Copyright Office. But I can say it incorporates my many years of working with incarcerated and disenfranchised children and teens throughout Los Angeles County and will, hopefully, enlighten the reader on many issues facing today’s youth. It is fiction with a strong storyline and memorable characters to better grab the reader’s emotions. I look forward to getting it finished and out to the public soon. I suspect that many ideas it espouses will be controversial.

What is something about yourself that would come as a surprise to many people?

I have in the past made some very low-budget horror films, so my name will pop up on IMDB, along with some hilarious reviews of the movies I worked on. Watch them at your peril. Ha!

 

THE WRITER'S LIFE

 Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Interview with Michael Bowler, author of 'A Matter of Time'
You can visit Michael on the web at www.michaeljbowler.webs.com.

Why was writing A Matter of Time so important to you?

I've always been fascinated by Titanic and writing this book, in a way, allowed me to board that Ship of Dreams for a short period of time and almost feel like I was really there. I also believed in the emotional resonance of this story and felt certain others would embrace it as well.

What was the experience like writing A Matter of Time?

It was stop and start for a long while because I was working full time. Also, as I got into the story I realized I'd violated my own cardinal rule about writing – I didn't know how the story would end. Thus, I got probably three quarters into it and had to stop for quite some time until I realized how it had to end. Then everything fell into place.

Can you tell us more about your main character, Jamie Collins?

He's a college student and aspiring writer. As such, he's a bit shy and awkward in social situations since he tends to live within his own mind a lot conjuring stories he wants to write. He's easy going, but also somewhat lonely, absolutely certain he is not destined to find his true love.

What are his strengths and what are his weaknesses?

He's a young man of strong character, very honorable and loyal, but still filled with self-doubt. Thus he continually second guesses his decisions and has to be assured by others that he made the right ones.

Are there any supporting characters we need to know about?

Jay is Jamie's best friend when the story begins, at least until Maggie comes between them. She is the sister of Jamie's roommate, Dan. She at first dates Jay, but later decides she prefers Jamie. It's Dan, outgoing babe-magnet and the polar opposite of Jamie in personality, who truly becomes Jamie's best friend during the course of the story and who really gets him through the long and painful journey. There are also Jamie's estranged parents and Dr. Denton, Jamie's writing professor and mentor. All of them are dramatically changed by what Jamie goes through.

Can you open to page 25 and tell us what’s happening?

Jamie nearly passes out in the cafeteria, prompting Dan and Maggie to insist he go to the infirmary for a checkup. Unfortunately, Jamie already knows that whatever's wrong with him can't be helped by a regular doctor.

What about page 65?

Jamie tries to convince Dan that there is someone else inside of him, that he is either reincarnated or that he's housing the soul of someone else, someone who's rising to the surface. The ever pragmatic Dan doesn't buy a word of it.

Do you have anything else you’d like to tell us?

Anyone who is interested in my work, including an excerpt from Children of the Knight, can go to my website: michaeljbowler.webs.com. Thanks for taking the time to talk with me. I appreciate it.

 

THE EXAMINER interview:
BOOKS SEPTEMBER 5, 2012BY: DOROTHY THOMPSON

 I love self-published authors. They grab the bull by the horns and do things themselves. That’s why it’s my pleasure to have as my guest today Michael Bowler, author of the thriller/romance/historical fiction, A Matter of Time.

Michael just retired from full time teaching to devote all his time to the craft of writing. A Matter of Time is his first book but my hunch is we’ll be seeing a lot of Michael.

Just a FYI, Michael is on a virtual book tour throughout the month of September. Click here to learn more about him and his new book. Follow his tour and leave him a comment along the way. ;o)

Thank you for this interview, Michael. Can you tell us a little about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?

I grew up in Northern California, a city called San Rafael, which is just north of San Francisco. I attended college at Santa Clara University, and then graduate school at Loyola Marymount in Los Angeles. I’ve always done writing, even as a kid, and have always enjoyed making up and telling stories. I wrote and/or produced/directed several low budget horror films prior to teaching high school, and while I enjoyed the directing and producing, my passion has always been writing. Over time, I wrote my first novel, A Boy and His Dragon, and then began work on A Matter of Time. Due to limited writing times, these projects took years to come to fruition.

Can you tell us briefly what your book is about?

Imagine, if you will, that Dracula walked the decks of Titanic on her maiden voyage, and contributed to the collision that sank her. Further imagine someone from the future, connected by a loop in time, who has the power to stop the vampire and the sinking. But should he do it? What would happen to history if he changed saved Titanic? That gives you a brief idea.

Why did you choose your particular genre?

I didn’t choose a genre. The story came to me and I wrote it as it developed. The book actually is hard to pigeonhole into a genre. It has suspense, romance, time travel, an historical setting, and horror elements.

Where do you write? Do you have a favorite place?

When I used to be making the horror films, one of my partners would always joke about how I could write anywhere anytime, because whenever there wasn’t something for me to do on the film, I’d be sitting somewhere around the set writing my next story or script into a notebook I always carried. Nowadays, I usually write at home in a little office I have upstairs.

What was your greatest challenge writing this book?

Since the story is set in 1986 and 1912, I wanted to make sure I didn’t put in any anachronisms, so I worked very hard to get the period details and speech patterns right. Also, I wanted to portray the real people aboard Titanic, like the captain and some of the officers, as accurately as possible. I hate when movies or books take liberties with real historical people, especially if those people may have descendants who might see the film or read the book and be offended. Sadly, when people see a movie about an historical character, they tend to believe whatever is portrayed on screen because more people don’t want to do their own research.

Are you a disciplined writer?

Yes. I get very focused, almost obsessive, when writing. I’ll literally spend all day at the keyboard, day after day until I get a first draft completed. Then I can sit back a bit, let it be for a while, and then take more time with the rewriting process.

Are you published by a traditional house, small press or are you self-published?

Self-published

Was it the right choice for you?

It was because I couldn’t find a more traditional publisher who was willing to take a chance on me.

How are you promoting your book thus far?

I have a Facebook page, a website, and a Twitter account (though I confess I’m not much of a tweeter.) I’ve been soliciting reviews from everyone I can think of, and so far all have been very positive. I’ve entered the book in several writing contests.

How is that going for you?

It’s been slow, but the reviews that have been posted are very positive, on both Amazon and Barnes and Noble. A gentleman from India emailed me that he has a rather large readership on his blog and wanted to review the book, so I’m awaiting his review. Also, my book is currently a finalist in the Reader’s Favorite Self-Published Book Awards competition. As a consequence, I’ll be traveling to the Miami International Book Expo in November to promote the book, and pitch my next one.

Do you have another job besides writing?

I have been teaching high school for 24 years, but I just retired from that job this past June. For now, I’m going to focus full time on writing. I have lots of stories yet to tell.

Have you ever gotten an inspirational book-related moment at work and had to go run and write and it down?

Not so much at work, but when I’m at the gym working out or running or riding a bike, I often get ideas, even whole scenes. I use the note feature in my iPhone nowadays to write these down. Welcome to the 21st century.

Do your co-workers know they have a star among them? What has their reactions been?

Some know I have a couple of books published, but it hasn’t impressed them much. When you work with high school kids all day, nothing much impresses you anymore, I guess. Ha!

If you could give one book promotion tip to new authors, what would that be?

Be savvier with social networking sites than I am. LOL

What’s next for you?

I have a new novel upcoming. I’m revising it now and intend to have it ready for the Miami Book Expo. It’s my understanding that publishers and agents will be in attendance, so I intend to do what I can to pitch it. Since I haven’t copy written it yet, I can’t reveal too much except to say that it incorporates my lifetime of experience working with abused, neglected, abandoned, incarcerated and gang-affiliated youth, and it will likely be very controversial.

Thank you for this interview, Michael. Can you tell us where we can find you on the web?

Yes. My website is: http://www.michaeljbowler.webs.com

Facebook Author Page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Author-Michael-Bowler/412580868761814

The book is available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble.com, or Outskirts Press.com

 

Author Interview: Michael Bowler & A MATTER OF TIME
13 Thursday Sept. 2012
Posted by admin in Author Interviews ≈ Leave a Comment
TagsA Matter of Time, author interviews, Historical Fiction, Michael Bowler, Ship of Dreams, Titanic, Titanic-related books
You can visit Michael on the web at www.michaeljbowler.webs.com.

Welcome to Between the Covers, Michael. Why was writing A Matter of Time so important to you?

I’ve always been fascinated by Titanic and writing this book, in a way, allowed me to board that Ship of Dreams for a short period of time and almost feel like I was really there. I also believed in the emotional resonance of this story and felt certain others would embrace it as well.
What was the experience like writing A Matter of Time?

It was stop and start for a long while because I was working full time. Also, as I got into the story I realized I’d violated my own cardinal rule about writing – I didn’t know how the story would end. Thus, I got probably three quarters into it and had to stop for quite some time until I realized how it had to end. Then everything fell into place.
How did you come up with the title?

The title is actually a line spoken by one of the characters. It’s a very innocuous line when delivered, but takes on portentous weight later on in the narrative.
Can you tell us more about your main character, Jamie Collins?

He’s a college student and aspiring writer. As such, he’s a bit shy and awkward in social situations since he tends to live within his own mind a lot conjuring stories he wants to write. He’s easy going, but also somewhat lonely, absolutely certain he is not destined to find his true love.
What are his strengths and what are his weaknesses?

He’s a young man of strong character, very honorable and loyal, but still filled with self-doubt. Thus he continually second guesses his decisions and has to be assured by others that he made the right ones.
Are there any supporting characters we need to know about?

Jay is Jamie’s best friend when the story begins, at least until Maggie comes between them. She is the sister of Jamie’s roommate, Dan. She at first dates Jay, but later decides she prefers Jamie. It’s Dan, outgoing babe-magnet and the polar opposite of Jamie in personality, who truly becomes Jamie’s best friend during the course of the story and who really gets him through the long and painful journey. There are also Jamie’s estranged parents and Dr. Denton, Jamie’s writing professor and mentor. All of them are dramatically changed by what Jamie goes through.
Can you open to page 25 and tell us what’s happening?

Jamie nearly passes out in the cafeteria, prompting Dan and Maggie to insist he go to the infirmary for a checkup. Unfortunately, Jamie already knows that whatever’s wrong with him can’t be helped by a regular doctor.
What about page 65?

Jamie tries to convince Dan that there is someone else inside of him, that he is either reincarnated or that he’s housing the soul of someone else, someone who’s rising to the surface. The ever pragmatic Dan doesn’t buy a word of it.
Now that A Matter of Time has been published, what’s your next project?

My next project is titled, Children of the Knight, which I hope to have out in the near future. I expect this one to generate controversy with its themes and conclusions and condemnations of our society. Here is a summary:
At any given moment there are hundreds of homeless, abused, abandoned or simply unwanted children wandering the dark, dangerous streets of Los Angeles. There are also thousands of young gang members wandering these same streets — undisciplined, violent, without direction or focus, many of whom would gladly leave the gang life if another, more favorable, alternative was presented. What if someone came along and presented them with just such an alternative? What if this same man also united the other unwanted children under the same purpose? And what if that man may or may not be the legendary King Arthur, himself?
This charismatic young leader, who claims to be the once and future king, wins over these children, young and teen, unwanted and gang member, and leads them on a crusade to establish a new Camelot within the City of Angels. They use the sheer weight of their numbers and the acquiredgood will of the people to take on the politicians, the police, the school system, and all the morally vacuous adults who have neglected and rejected them. If these people do not start doing what is right, Arthur’s powerful new Round Table may just have to force them.
Children of the Knight is a dramatic adventure tale that is exciting, funny, joyous, and tragic, yet always thought-provoking in its questions about right and wrong, about the value of children in our society, and about the use and abuse of power. Mostly, however, it is a moving story of lost kids in desperate need of adult love and guidance who ultimately gain a truer understanding of themselves and their own worth.
Thanks again for the interview, Michael.  Do you have anything else you’d like to tell us?

Anyone who is interested in my work, including an excerpt from Children of the Knight, can go to my website: michaeljbowler.webs.com. Thanks for taking the time to talk with me. I appreciate it.

 

http://morgenbailey.wordpress.com

Author interview no.499 with writer Michael Bowler
21SEP
Welcome to the four hundred and ninety-ninth of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, biographers, agents, publishers and more. Today’s is with multi-genre author Michael J Bowler. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further.

Morgen: Hello, Michael. Please tell us something about yourself, where you’re based, and how you came to be a writer.

Michael: I grew up in Northern California and have always made up stories from as far back as I can remember. Writing just seemed to be in my blood. I majored in English / Theatre at Santa Clara University and then attended graduate school at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, where I earned a master’s degree in film / television production. I always loved movies, too, and wanted to write screenplays. After making several low-budget films that I wrote or co-wrote and / or directed, I began teaching English at a high school in the Los Angles area and continued doing that for over twenty years. I still wrote on the side, which is how A Matter of Time came into being.

Morgen: How lovely. It took me nearly 40 years to realise that I wanted to write fiction. I’d not even considered it as a career until I went to evening classes but then I had all that experience to write about. I’ve written a script (for the now-defunct Script Frenzy) but didn’t enjoy it; too ‘bitty’ for me but I admire those who do. What genre do you generally write and have you considered other genres?

Michael: I write in all genres, I suppose, but I usually like stories that have an unusual twist, almost a fantasy element, but the genre could be horror or drama or action. I’ve written in all these genres. A Matter of Time is hard to pin down into any one genre because it has horror elements, time travel, history, and romance. The book is currently a finalist in the Reader’s Favorite Self-Published Book Awards contest in the “Romance / Suspense” category.

Morgen: Congratulations. Do let me know how you get on. What have you had published to-date?

Michael: My first book, A Boy and His Dragon, was published in 2011 through Createspace. I wrote that book many years ago and never got very far with publication. It’s a fantasy set in the real world and aimed at junior high age kids on up to adult. A Matter of Time came out in March of this year to coincide with the 100th anniversary of Titanic’s sinking.

Morgen: That’s the great thing about publishing these days is that you can do it yourself. What lead to you going your own way?

Michael: It’s difficult to get agents or publishers to take a chance on an unknown writer. Most won’t even look at your work. In addition, I’ve been reading about other successful authors who started out self-published.

Morgen: Absolutely: Amanda Hocking and Joe Konrath in the US and we have John Locke here in the UK. Are your books available as eBooks? How involved were you in that process? Do you read eBooks or is it paper all the way?

Michael: Both books are available as ebooks. A Boy and His Dragon is only available as a Kindle, but A Matter of Time is in both a Kindle and a Nook format. All I did was follow the directions to convert. Ha! Alas, I’m still not into ebooks – I don’t even own one of those devices. I’m still old school and like holding a book in my hands. Plus, I love good cover art and that usually doesn’t translate well into ebook formats.

Morgen: I’d say 99.9% of the authors I’ve spoken to (and publishers, editors, agents) have said they’d never stop reading paper books, and I’m the same. Besides, I think I have more books in my house than I can read in my lifetime. Do you have a favourite of your books or characters? If any of your books were made into films, who would you have as the leading actor/s?

Michael: I like both of my books that are out now, and love the third one I’ve just written. I think this new one, which hasn’t been published yet, is my best work so far. Of the two that are already published, they are very different. In A Matter of Time, I especially like the character of Dan, Jamie’s roommate. He’s funny and flip, but also very serious when he needs to be for Jamie’s sake. Plus, he takes a big leap of faith in following Jamie on his journey, and that takes some depth of character to do so. In a movie, Jamie could maybe be played by Ezra Miller – he’s the right age and is a phenomenal actor – he definitely has the ability to play the range of emotions required. In the part of Dan, maybe Liam Hemsworth. Dan is tall and good-looking and Liam has those qualities.

Morgen: I didn’t know either name so Wikipediad them. As a former Neighbours watcher I do recognise Liam but Ezra’s new to me (thank you).  Did you have any say in the titles / covers of your books? How important do you think they are?

Michael: Since both of my books are self-published, I selected the titles and designed the covers. I’m pretty adept with Photoshop and love designing my own covers. I guess if a big publisher picks up one of my future books I’ll have to relinquish that job, but I’ll do so reluctantly. Ha!

Morgen: I’ve designed all mine and I’d be torn too but as long as I liked the finished result I’d be fine with that. What are you working on at the moment / next?

Michael: I have just finished a new novel called Children of the Knight. My book, A Matter of Time, is a finalist in the Reader’s Favorite Self-Published Book Competition and I’ll be going to the Miami Book Expo in November to promote it. At that time, I will bring Children of the Knight and try to generate interest from publishers and / or agents. If I can’t find anyone, I’ll self-publish. Unlike A Matter of Time, which is a romantic suspense thriller, Children of the Knight weaves my thirty years of experience working with marginalized and disenfranchised children in Los Angeles into a kind of populist fable that should generate some controversy with its themes and conclusions. It involves a man who may or may not be the legendary King Arthur, himself, who appears in Los Angeles to recruit cast-off, neglected, abused, and gang-affiliated children and teens. Using this new Round Table of knights, Arthur launches a crusade to return the city to the people, and to gain more rights for children, the most controversial of which is for children fourteen years or older to gain the right to vote.

Morgen: It sounds great, I hope it gets picked up. Do you manage to write every day, or ever suffer from writer’s block?

Michael: I have no trouble writing every day. I still have four more books in very detailed outlines to work on, not to mention sequels to the ones I’ve already written.

Morgen: Ah, sequels, music to an agent’s / publisher’s ears. Do you plot your stories or do you just get an idea and run with it?

Michael: Usually there’s an idea and from that idea the necessary characters and situations come to me that will realize that idea.

Morgen: That’s what I love about fiction, it just develops as it goes along. You’ve mentioned a couple of your characters, do you have a method for creating them, and what do you think makes them believable?

Michael: I think, as with most writers, I pick bits and pieces of people I’ve known over the years and attribute those characteristics or incidents to my characters. Since the details and / or incidents were real, I feel that adds more verisimilitude to my fictional people.

Morgen: They do say to write what you know. Do you do a lot of editing or do you find that as time goes on your writing is more fully-formed?

Michael: I do TONS of editing. I always find a zillion typos, but I guess that’s normal.

Morgen: I’d say so, yes.

Michael: But I also tweak specific sentences, lines of dialogue, descriptions over and over again. After a while, the book runs through my head like a movie and I can picture specific sentences in my mind and hear specific lines of dialogue, especially if I’m running or working out at the gym. Often I’ll see a better way to phrase something while lifting weights and quickly type it into my phone so I won’t forget. Ha!

Morgen: Good idea. I have notebooks in every dog-walking jacket and bag, and have my BlackBerry, dictaphone and camera, all of which have dictation facility. Do you have to do much research?

Michael: When it’s needed. A Matter of Time required a lot of research on 1912 clothing styles, as well as a refresher course on the final night of Titanic’s short life. Having set the main story in 1986, when I was in college, I had to brush up on clothes and music that was popular at the time. I also had to study up on Newfoundland and fishing trawlers.

Morgen: I’m not a huge fan of history (or research) but that sounds like fun. What point of view do you find most to your liking: first person or third person? Have you ever tried second person?

Michael: I usually like third person omniscient because I like to enter the minds of all my characters and I feel that makes each one more real for the reader. Since most of my stories involve danger – i.e. characters could die – I never use 1st person. I hate suspense or thriller books written in the first person because I know there is no possible way the narrator could die.

Morgen: I’d not thought of it like that, because they do in some stories, don’t they.

Michael: With third person, I could literally shock the readers and kill off the main character, if I so chose. I feel third offers more potential for generating suspense.

Morgen: It is the most popular, and flexible, viewpoint. Do you have pieces of work that you think will never see light of day?

Michael: With self-publishing, they can all come out. Ha!

Morgen:  Have you had any rejections? If so, how do you deal with them?

Michael: Oh yes, many rejections. I take them in my stride. I recognize the reality of the market place. Publishers like going with known commodities, authors who already have a following. It’s expensive for them to market an unknown, so I understand their reluctance. I believe in my stories, however, that readers will embrace them. So far, all the reviews of my two books have been very positive.

Morgen: You say you’ve struggled to find an agent, do you think they’re vital to an author’s success?

Michael: I had one for A Matter of Time and I liked her, but she wasn’t able to get anything going with the book. I suspect an agent is essential for dealing with bigger publishers and I will perhaps try to find one for my next book.

Morgen: Quite a number of the authors I’ve spoken to have dealt with publishers directly, although (from memory) all those with larger publishers do have agents. How much of the marketing do you do for your published works or indeed for yourself as a ‘brand’?

Michael: I do as much as I can. I have a webpage: http://michaeljbowler.webs.com and a Facebook page (Michael J Bowler), but I’m pretty new to the whole Internet marketing thing and even social networking. It’s an area about which I need to gain much more knowledge.

Morgen: It’s just practice really. I’ve been on Facebook and Twitter for a couple of years and I’m still learning but I do feel all authors need them these days to get the word out. What’s your favourite / least favourite aspect of your writing life? Has anything surprised you?

Michael: My favorite is getting into the minds and hearts of characters and having them suddenly say or do something I didn’t consciously come up with – the character came up with it. Sitting in front of the computer is my least favorite part – I get neck strain when I’m there too long. Ha!

Morgen: I’m terrible. I could (and sometimes do) sit here for hours but my dog reminds me every now and then to take a break (a squeaky toy is as distracting as an email ‘ping’). What advice would you give aspiring writers?

Michael: You how you want to end your story before you begin it. That way all the plot points and the character decisions are moving in the same direction. Too many movies these days, and a lot more books I’ve read, don’t seem to know where they’re going and thus have plot holes or dropped / unresolved plot points. I suspect the writers did not know how their stories would end and that’s why the stories fizzle out.

Morgen: I do think it helps although I found with my first novel that I plotted far further than it ended but having written it, it wouldn’t have been right to keep going. If you could invite three people from any era to dinner, who would you choose and what would you cook (or hide the takeaway containers)?

Michael: I would invite Thomas Andrews, builder of Titanic, so I could ask him why he didn’t try to flood the rear compartments so Titanic could’ve stayed afloat longer, and maybe gotten everyone off. I would invite Abraham Lincoln because his life and the whole Civil War era fascinate me. And lastly I’d invite William Shakespeare just to get a sense of the man behind that amazing writing ability. As to food, I’m not much of a cook so I’d probably make pizza or spaghetti.

Morgen: I’m sure they’d like either. If you had to choose a single day from your past to re-live over and over, what day would it be and why?

Michael: Alas, I can’t think of one. I’m more of a forward-thinking person.

Morgen: Probably wise. Is there a word, phrase or quote you like?

Michael: “It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.” — Mark Twain

Morgen: I love that. What do you do when you’re not writing?

Michael: I work out daily at the YMCA and help train some teens over there. I like going to the movies. I enjoy reading – I’m always reading two or three books at the same time.

Morgen: I’m a big movie fan and have a season ticket for the local multiplex. I usually hammer it but have been particularly busy recently. Are there any writing-related websites and / or books that you find useful?

Michael: Writer’s Digest sometimes has some useful tips. I don’t subscribe to the magazine, but I get email updates from them that are occasionally helpful.

Morgen: I think we do have the Writer’s Digest in the UK but an imported version. I subscribe to so many already (Writing, Writers’ News, Mslexia, New Writer) that I struggle to keep up with what I have.

Morgen: What do you think the future holds for a writer?

Michael: Obviously, ebooks are the future. Much as I love holding actual books in my hand, I suspect in the not-too-distant future we’ll all be reading from Kindles and iPads. Oh, well . . .

Morgen: I think we’ll have both, less paperbacks, and the hardback may disappear, but I do know of people who have loved an eBook so much that they’ve then bought the paperback. Where can we find out about you and your writing?

Michael: My website is: http://michaeljbowler.webs.com.

Morgen: Is there anything else you’d like to mention?

Michael: Keep an eye out for Children of the Knight. My hope is that book will spark some debate about how we treat children in this country.

Morgen: It’s a problem everywhere, there’s almost always something in the news (there was today) about children being treated badly. It’s amazing how many people have children and yet don’t seem to really want them. Is there anything you’d like to ask me?

Michael: What made you decide to start this blog and how much time does it take you each day to maintain it?

Morgen: <laughs> It takes pretty much all my time but that’s the associated emails. I started it as I’d heard it was a good things to do and it took off from there. I love it and the feedback has been fantastic, I think because there’s so much to read and so many options to be involved in… the downside is that I get 100+ emails a day but better that than twiddling my thumbs.  Thank you, Michael.

Recent Blog Entries

Oops! This site has expired.

If you are the site owner, please renew your premium subscription or contact support.