1. Introduce yourself and what it is you do.
My name is Michael K. Rose and I am a science fiction writer. I do, however, dabble in general speculative fiction as well as literary fiction. I believe that defining oneself as a "genre" writer is handy for readers but one must be careful that that definition does not prevent a writer from writing what he likes.
2. Your work area: messy or neat?
Sometimes one, usually the other.
3. What are your current and past projects that you have you done?
I am currently working on a series called Sullivan's War. I have just released Book I, entitled All Good Men Serve the Devil. This is the story of Rick Sullivan, a man from the planet Edaline who is on a mission to bring down that planet's corrupt government. To do this he has come to Earth and intends to--by whatever means necessary--prevent Edaline from joining the Stellar Assembly, a UN-like body that governs many of the inhabited planets. I have recently written a blog post that details the creative process behind this series: http://myriadspheres.blogspot.com/2012/01/story-behind-sullivans-war.html
Also available is a prologue to the series entitled Sergeant Riley's Account. This is a stand-alone novelette that does not directly impact the main story of Sullivan's War but will inform it and help readers flesh out the universe in which Sullivan's War takes place.
4.What’s the best advice you have ever received regarding your writing?
One of the most useful bits of advice that I've read is to always keep the reader asking questions. If they have a question about what's happening, they will keep turning the pages. The other is, of course, to actually sit down and write. This is a bit of advice I ignored for a long time but once I was committed to actually becoming a published author I buckled down and have, in less than three months, published a short story, a short story collection, a novelette and a novella. In 2012 I plan to write at least two more novellas (Books II and III of Sullivan's War) and publish a novel I have been working on for some time called Chrysopteron. The best way to keep on track and keep writing is to set goals AND MEET THEM. Force yourself to write, say, 10,000 words a week and you'll have your book finished in no time.
5. If you are self-published, tell us about your experiences, pros and cons.
I generally like the self-publishing process but there are, of course, difficulties. The main problem is that of exposure. It is very difficult to get one's work to stand out in the crowd. For that, one mainly has to rely on good reviews and hope that there are enough sales to get the book on the best-seller list in a certain category.
Another problem I have is that the distribution channels have a lot of catching up to do. For example, I refuse to use Smashwords because they require one to use their "meatgrinder," which produces poorly-formatted ebooks, instead of just submitting beautifully and carefully created ebooks in a mobi or epub format. There is simply no reason to disallow that. I put a lot of work into perfectly formatting my ebooks. So, because of that, I am only publishing on Amazon and Barnes & Noble for the time being.
6. Favorite type of food?
I generally like the spectrum of Mediterranean food, from Spanish, all the way around the European coast to Italy, into the Greek Isles, down the Levant and across Northern Africa.
7. What do you do to relax?
I like to read a great deal. I read science fiction, of course, and I particularly like to read other self-published authors. I think that a lot of people who aren't in the self-publishing "business" don't really know about the wonderful work that is being produced on that front. My other love is late 19th century literature. I am fond of Henry James, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Jerome K. Jerome, among many others.
In the evening or afternoons I enjoy relaxing with a pipe or cigar and a glass of wine or Scotch. I love music as well, and often attend the symphony or the opera.
8. What do you do to help you write? Do you down the energy drinks? Eat junk food? Run around the house to get the inspiration going? Blast the tunes? Do tell.
When I write, I either write in silence of with classical music playing softly in the background. I generally drink tea, black tea with milk and sugar in the morning, Earl Grey in the afternoon.
9. What would be your advice to aspiring authors?
Write what you want to write. Some best-selling authors have said that you should think about who your audience will be and write to them. I feel that makes for a disingenuous book, a book that panders to the lowest common denominator. There may be some truth that writing in a "mold" that many of the best-sellers fit into is a good idea if you are only concerned about sales but if your goal is to write well, to write fiction that lives and breathes, fiction that inspires, both the reader and you as the writer, then write what, and how, you want to write. If there is no audience for it, create one, convince people, through the strength of your writing, that your work is worth reading. This, of course, does not mean that you can't write in a "popular" genre. My current series is a planet-hopping, action-filled science fiction romp, hardly the stuff that Pulitzers are made of. But I am writing it because I believe that it is a good story and, as the series continues, one that I hope I will be able to instill with meaning and artistic merit.
10. Where can we stalk you online?
This is my blog: http://myriadspheres.blogspot.com/ Links to individual pages about my books can be found down the right side of the page and I often post updates about my writing process and write reviews of classic science fiction stories or new stories that I've particularly enjoyed. Sometimes I blog about things completely unrelated to writing or science fiction. My interests are many. You can friend me on Facebook here: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000670152582 and follow me on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/#!/MichaelKRose
Buy Michael's Books Here: Click to go to Michael's Amazon page
My review of Sullivan's War Book 1:
All Good Men Serve the Devil