Not only has Michael lived in multiple countries (though not at the same time), he seems to be able to manage multiple blogs (which he does do at the same time). One is called The Year of Writing Dangerously where you'll find green blobs, cup-cakes, and inspiration of the writing kind.
Another of his blogs is brand new and titled, get this, Middle Grade Manifesto. Cool name, right? AND, Michael is currently seeking fellow MG writers to post along with him about all things MG. Soooo, that means if you are a MG writer and would like to post once a week, or once a month, or on every other quarter moon, shoot him--an email that is. And if you don't, well go check it out anyway because it's full of good humor (not the ice-cream kind) just like Michael as you'll find from his interview below.
1. Michael, what manuscript do you have out on submission now?
My middle grade time travel adventure is called SHAKESPEARE ON THE LAM (35,000 words)
2. Give us the three to four sentence pitch.
Twelve-year-old Jared Hearne, and his theater-loving older sister Athena, discover a magic orb and travel through time to rescue an imprisoned teenage Shakespeare. But Shakespeare hijacks the orb back to modern times with Jared, leaving Athena stranded in the sixteenth century. While Shakespeare dashes about, exploring his brave new world, the orb is stolen. Jared has to catch the thief or else Shakespeare will be enrolling in high school next semester. And Athena’s history.
Me-smiling--at that last line. Nicely done. Sounds like a great adventure!!
3. Would you care to share the opening line or paragraph?
To catch a ghost, you had to be sneaky. And prepared. That’s why Jared Hearne was up at 6 on a dark, rainy Oregon morning, rechecking the supplies stashed in his bedroom. Video camera, bag of flour, note pad, flashlight. Plus, an object to catch the ghost’s interest—a skateboard, in case the ghost was another sixth-grader like him.
Ha-ha, very cute. Flour, huh? Hmm, you have me curious.
4. How would your main character describe you? If you entered into a scene in your manuscript, how would you be introduced, how would the MC perceive you? Give us a short scene but keep it under 250 words : )
Jared opened the door.
A middle-aged guy stood there. Not much hair, kind of looked like he needed glasses. Probably selling magazines or something. “Is this the Hearne residence?” the guy said.
He had kind of a strange accent—though this dude sounded English, rather than Irish like Dad.
The stranger tried to sneak a peek around Jared. “I’ve had word,” he whispered. “That someone special lives here. A really good writer.” He winked. “The Bard of Avon.”
How did the guy know that? Surely only Jared knew Shakespeare was holed up in his bedroom, reading Diary of a Wimpy Kid.“
Sorry,” Jared said. “My dad already gave at the office.”
He was about to shut the door when he heard a noise behind him. And the familiar voice. “Who keeps the gate here? Ho!”
The guy on the doorstep yelped. “It’s true! William Shakespeare.”
“Um, mistaken identity,” Jared said. “This is just an actor. Yeah, that’s right. We’re putting on a play.”
Shakespeare elbowed Jared aside. “You are a fan?”
“A fan about to swoon.” The guy fainted.
“Get back to your hiding place,” Jared yelled at Shakespeare. “I’ve gotta call 911. You’ve given him a heart attack.”
“Pshaw,” Shakespeare said. “A fever of the brain, mayhap. Do you not recognize the man?”
Jared shook his head.
“He is your creator.”
“What? God?” Now Jared knew Shakespeare was crazy. No way did God have a paunch. God wasn’t losing his hair. Or selling magazines on people’s doorsteps, for that matter.
LOL, too funny!!! I'm loving the humor and the voice in this tale. And Shakespeare reading Wimpy Kid, hilarious image.
5. What is your least and most favorite word?
My favorite word is “serene.” I also like the word “sushi,” and eat a lot of it. And I don’t mind being “flummoxed” one bit.
I do like flummoxed, myself.
I don’t have any words I dislike—though I do have names that give me the shivers. Chernobyl. Stalin. Uriah Heep. (Wasn’t Dickens the master of names?)
YES!! A master of many things, character names included.
6. What are you working on while you wait?
A middle grade horror tale, complete with a murderous ghost.
Sounds good. I've been reading that MG Horror is a genre "they" are looking for at the moment. Good luck.
7. What book have you read in the past six mo that’s inspired you and why?
I really loved Trent Reedy’s Words in the Dust. This quiet novel is set in Afghanistan and tells the story of Zulaikha, a girl who has a cleft lip. Since so much of her future is wrapped up in whether she can get married, her future looks bleak. Until the U.S. Army steps in, with the promise of a life-changing surgery. (I reviewed it on my blog.)
Nice review, btw. If you'd like to read it too, click here.
8. Do you have a literary-character crush?
Since my first conversation with my wife was about Jane Austen, I’d have to say Elizabeth Bennett from Pride and Prejudice. I admire her spunk.
Ah, yes, Elizabeth Bennett. So, no Katniss or Hermione, huh?
9. Any random fun-facts you’d like to share about yourself?
I’ve lived in eight countries*, was educated in an English boarding school (no, not Hogwarts!), and currently live in Portland, Oregon, with my wife and three sons. I’ve been paid money for the following: teaching ESL, carrying suitcases as a hotel porter, cleaning carpets, being the refined English telephone voice behind a friend’s attempt to be a literary agent, editing a Japanese dictionary, and singing at weddings.
(*The 8 countries: Panama, Honduras, Switzerland, Belgium, Australia, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States.)
That's it? "Pshaw!!" Just kidding, of course, YOWZA. Sorry to hear you didn't get your owl letter for Hogwarts, though. Sigh, I so want to be transported into that book. Can someone please invent the technology? Like soon!!
Thanks, Paula, for letting me introduce myself to your blog readers. I really appreciate the opportunity!
Well you are very welcome, Michael. And it is my pleasure not only to "meet" you but to help you get the word out about your manuscript. Good luck with SHAKESPEARE ON THE LAM. I have a feeling I will be seeing this on the PM deal postings soon. Best of luck and keep us informed on your successes.
HERE YEE, HERE YEE: I am actively seeking writers, like Michael (well not exactly like Michael because we are all as unique as our writing), for the spotlight. Writers with completed manuscripts who are unpublished and seeking representation (see details on pages link). PLEASE don't be shy. If you like reading these posts. If you meet the criteria but are hanging back, email me, like soon. Okay? I have two more Writer Spotlights lined up. I'd LOVE to keep this going. Every week this post gets more and more hits, last week's got 146!! You just never know who might drop by, right? : )