Michael R. Fletcher is a science fiction and fantasy author. His novel, Beyond Redemption, a work of dark fantasy and rampant delusion, is being published by HARPER Voyager and is slated for release June 16th, 2015.
His début novel, 88, a cyberpunk tale about harvesting children for their brains, was released by Five Rivers Publishing in 2013. 88 is available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and elsewhere. The next two Manifest Delusions novels, THE ALL CONSUMING, and WHEN FAR-GONE DEAD RETURN are currently in various stages of editing while Michael tries to be the best husband and dad he can be.
Michael is represented by Cameron McClure of the Donald Maass Literary Agency. He occasionally blogs at www.michaelrfletcher.com and is building a wiki at www.michaelrfletcher.com/beyondwiki for the world of Manifest Delusions.
Introduction: Tell us who you are, how and why you decided to be an author and where you’re at right now in your career.
I’m Michael R. Fletcher, a fantasy and science fiction author. I tried to get George’s second R but he was unwilling to part with it. I’d always wanted to be a writer, but finishing a book is hard work and I always thought it seemed like a ridiculous dream. I figured I’d be better off focussing on having a job that paid the bills and kept me in Jameson’s so I got a job in rock and roll.
Back in 2008, while working as an audio-engineer doing FOH sound in a variety of shitty clubs in Toronto, I decided I wanted to write a book. Unwilling to let ignorance and wisdom get in my way, I threw myself at writing.
My first novel, 88, was published in 2013 by a Canadian micro-press called Five Rivers. It gave me a taste of success, but more importantly I learned an insane amount about the craft of writing (and editing) during the publishing process. I took everything I learned and put it into Beyond Redemption which sold to HARPER Voyager in 2014. The moment the deal was signed I knew this was my chance. In the last year I’ve written two more novels, both of which I’m currently editing.
Where am I in my career? Ask me next year. Beyond Redemption is due to hit the shelves on June 16th, 2015. If HARPER Voyager buy my next two novels, I will be able to maintain my writerly delusions. If they don’t, I might get a job at HomeDepot. I need light bulbs.
What was the hardest thing about balancing writing with a day job. What’s still the hardest thing to balance with everyday life?
I had this pretty easy while writing my first two books. I worked nights in rock clubs doing sound for bands. This left my days free for writing.
Currently we’re living off my wife’s income and my advance and I write full time. I don’t have a real life. There are days where I don’t see anyone other than my wife and daughter and I’m okay with that. It’s possible I might be slightly introverted.
Tell us about your schedule and habits from this time (or what you’re doing now if it hasn’t changed).
My weekdays have become fairly regimented:
06:00 – Drink two cups of black coffee and read whatever novel I’m into. Right now it’s Anthony Ryan’s amazing Queen of Fire.
07:00 – My four year old daughter rises from bed and I make her breakfast and get her off to school.
08:15 – Go for a run. If you’re going to spend your days with your ass in a chair, you’d better get some exercise.
09:30 – Start writing.
11:30 – More coffee! I usually bring the carafe to my office and drink while I work. If you aren’t suffering minor hallucinations in your peripheral vision, you need stronger coffee.
16:30 – My wife gets home and we sit together to talk about our day over a beer or a glass of wine. Or two. Sometimes three.
My goal is to write 2,500 words a day at least five days a week. Weekends are for family. Most weeks I hit that and a little more. My current work-in-progress (120,000 words) was written in ten weeks. I’m a firm believer in getting the first draft finished fast and then editing it later.
At one point in time did you make the decision to support yourself/your family as an author? What was that decision like and how did you feel afterward?
The moment the Beyond Redemption deal was signed I decided I was going to put all my eggs in one basket and go dancing through the mine-field.
As I see it you have two choices: You can make the smart decision—the wise decision—or you can chase the dream. I’m lucky to be in a situation where chasing the dream is an option.
What are some of your other hobbies/interests outside of writing?
I have a pile of studio gear (including high-end speakers and sub-woofers) left over from my audio-engineering days and listen to skull-crunching death metal while I write. The chaos and savagery does something to disconnect my brain from everything else. It distances me from reality and cocoons me in a warm cuddly blanket of rage. Editing however I do in complete silence.
Hobbies? I remember those. I sacrificed them on the alter to the dark gods of publishing so that I might have more writing time.
Between the years of 1997 and 2010 I was the guitar player in a goth metal band called Sex Without Souls. We lit things on fire and played fetish clubs. One of every four gigs would be called a Train-Wreck Show and the singer and I would crack a 26er of Wild Turkey before the first song and finish it before the last. We usually played 45 minute sets. Once, in mid-guitar solo, the singer tried to feed me bourbon and accidentally poured it in my eyes. That stuff stings.
What’s the single best piece of advice you have for authors who can’t support themselves with their writing yet? What should they be focusing on?
Rather than give advice, I’ll share what seems to be working for me.
I realized that writing didn’t just happen on its own. I wasn’t going to accidentally write a book in my spare time. I had to make a real a decision and then follow through with it. I carved out time each day—even if it was only an hour—to write. I made that writing time sacrosanct. My first book took two years to write and about the same to edit, but I got it done.
Fear distractions! When the Beyond Redemption deal was signed I decided I wanted to finish two books in one year. I gave away my gaming console, cancelled my cable TV, and hid my guitars in the basement.