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Wednesday Writer Spotlight – Mike Ward

altWelcome back. Join me in welcoming Mike Ward to my blog today. He’s here today to talk to you about his new book Sam and the Sea Witch from MuseItYoung. Mike is a writer, artist, garment printer, teacher, husband, and father of three. Mike says, “it was my night school English tutor who recognized my writing talent and suggested I write horror stories.” Sorry, Mike, but horror stories are not my cup of tea, but I’m interested in learning more about you as an author. Garment printing, now that interests me; is that the silk printing kind, or something else? So without further ado, let’s begin.

Hi Mike, thanks for stopping by today at Gloria’s Corner.

GO: Tell us your latest news.

MW: Sam and The Sea Witch was only released on the 15thMarch 2013, but already I have had a story and photographs done for the local newspaper, and a local secondary school has asked if they can use the book in their English lessons. Also the second book in the Sea Witch series, Sam and the Beast of Bodmin Moor, has been submitted to my publishers, MuseItUp Publishing, and I can’t wait to hear what their thoughts are about it.

GO: Wow! You must be real busy. What inspired you to write your first book?

MW: There were two things that sparked the idea for Sam and The Sea Witch.
First of all, I had been reading about Sea Witches, and how hundreds of years ago
they combed the shore line for strands of weed. They tied knots in it and sold it to
the boat captains. At around the same time, I was holidaying in this Cornish
seaside town. In the book the name of the town is never mentioned, but it does
exist. Together they sparked the idea and Sam and The Sea Witch was born.

GO: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

MW: Yes, but I would like the readers to tell me and then I’ll know my job is done.

GO: How much of the book is realistic?

MW: As I have said, the town exists, but of course, I changed the street names.
The quayside, horse shoe bay and the places Sam goes to are all very real places.

GO:  What books have influenced your life most?

MW: I remember thinking for a long time about John Wyndham’s book
Chrysalids, and I always wanted to have a Kestrel after reading Barry Hines’s, A
kestrel for a knave. They are two very different books, but in a way Billy Casper’s
struggle has stuck with me and I can relate to it with my own childhood, and I put
it into my fictional stories. I always love it when the down trodden succeed, sadly
that wasn’t the case in poor Billy’s story.

GO: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
MW: H G Wells. I loved reading The Red Room. It is very scary by the
atmospheric use of words, because once you have read it, you realise, nothing
actually happens.

GO: Can you share a little of your current work with us?

MW: What I’m writing now, you mean? I’m about half way through the third
book in the Sea Witch series. Sam, Jenny, and Johnny are sixteen. The first half of
the book is mainly in Jenny’s POV, and the second in Sam’s. It is another rip
roaring adventure about saving Cornwall from the evil sea witch of course, but
also, it’s about the relationship between the three characters. Will she, won’t she?
Who does Jenny love the most and why? If you wanted to save your child’s life,
what would you be willing to give up for them? What if you blindly loved that one
thing more than your child? It is a traumatic journey I’m on at the moment and it
wakes me up during the night, sometimes, but an exciting one nevertheless.

GO: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

MW: Relationship writing is hard because my personal feelings have to be shared
through my characters. Also, how far do you go? I want to write about love
without it sounding like a slut book. I want innocent love, love to die for, and I’m
finding it hard to work on such a narrow line.

GO: What was the hardest part of writing the book?

MW: The hardest part of writing Sam and The Sea Witch was trying to tell the
story so that Jenny was truly surprised when Sam told her his revelation. It took
quite a lot of re-reading and re-writing, but I think I got there in the end.

GO: Do you have any advice for other writers?

MW: Yes. I want to help other writers to achieve success quicker than I did, so I’m
going to share with them this. From my experience, you could write the best book
in the world, but the world will never see it, unless you first of all realize that
publishers and literary agents are very busy talented people. They do not have the
time to read your work. It is put into a slush pile along with a mountain of other
writer’s work, and you will receive the standard note. I did this many, many, times.
I wasted years. The answer is simply this. You must be very creative with your
initial approach to a literary agent. If you captivate them at that moment, they will
at least begin to read your work. Only at that point is it down to the quality of your
book. So please don’t take rejection as a failing on the part of your writing, and
just work on your approach. Remember 96% of people give up just before the yes.

GO: Hmm…Mike, could you look at my query letter I’ve been sending out to
agents? So far it hasn’t taken a bite. Perhaps you have some ideas? Also if anyone
else is able to just let me know in the comments.  Well there you have it from our
friend aver the seas in England.

It’s been a pleasure having you here today, Mike. Leave your comments below.

One of you may win a prize. Our first winner from March 13th is…drumroll…J.Q.
Rose. Congratulations! Shoot me an email with your address to gloria dot oren at
gmail dot com.

Till next time,

Gloria

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