Monday, June 29, 2015

Mike Hartner, I, James

AUTHOR:  Mike Hartner
GENRE: Historical Fiction, Romance, Adventure
PUBLISHER: Eternity4Popsicle Publishing

Please tell us about yourself.
This summer, I cross out of my forties.  I’m a husband, father, geek (retired), and patriot.  I’m a cheerleader to all my son’s activities, and I do my best as a support mechanism for my family.

Please tell us your latest news.
I, James, is Book Two in the Eternity Series.  You were nice enough to give me a blog post for Book One, I, Walter after its release.  I, James was released in September 2014, and currently has 14 reviews… half of which are 5 Star.   In November  2014, it hit #1 in historical fiction for Amazon.

Are you a full-time writer or part-time, and how do you organize your writing time? 
Writing time, for me, is an after-hours, when all the work is done, thing.  So, it’s sporadic.   But, it’s also my relax time, and I enjoy it very much.

When and why did you begin writing?
This particular series, The Eternity Series, I started writing about four years ago.  It wasn’t until after two years of dickering with the original manuscript that my editor and I went as far back as we could and found I, Walter waiting in the wings.

What inspired you to write your first book?
I, Walter is the first FICTION book I’ve written.  It was inspired by some information in history, and some family people that had done incredible things.

What do you do when you’re not writing/editing or thinking about writing/editing?
Life.  Everything else. 

What are your thoughts about promotion?
Promotion is essential for the success of any endeavour.  It’s also the hardest part of r me as an author.  I’d much rather spend my evenings writing, and revising.   But, promotion is an essential part of marketing, and I’m trying very hard to get better at it.

What was the toughest criticism given to you? What was the biggest compliment?
The toughest criticism about my writing, in general, is that some of my characters get a ‘free ride.’  They always seem to find a way through undesirable situations with having their mettle tested very hard. The biggest compliment is from returning readers.

Did those change how or what you did in your next novel?
Book Two, I think, had a little more to the characters.  But, it wasn’t a conscious effort.  I'm finding Book Three is very similar.

Do you ever have writer’s block? If so, how do you get through it?
 Writer’s block occurs regularly for all writers.  I view it as time for me to learn about some aspect that is stopping things from going forward. 

Did you learn anything from writing your book, and what was it?
I, James, I believe, is a story about the perseverance of the human soul.  Both James and Rosalind were put through many trials during their early years.  It’s a remarkable achievement to come through those trials with the character they both did.

Who is your publisher and how did you connect with them?
My publisher is Eternity4Popsicle Publishing.  It is a self-pub company. I, Walter and the full Eternity series is its mandate.

What is your marketing plan?
My Marketing plan includes blog tours; being at book shows, kindle free days, and lots of signings in bookstores all over North America.

What are your current projects?
Book Three in the Eternity series is my current project.  It will be the end of the first of many trilogies in this Series.  And those who have had a first look have been happy with the content.

What do you plan for the future?
I don’t.  I write for the moment.  At the end of each book (or close to it) I learn of the key character for the next book (sometimes two books) and wait until they’re ready to tell their story.

How can we find you? Website, Facebook, Twitter, blog, etc.?
Twitter: @MHartnerAuthor

What genre do you write in and why? 
Historical Fiction, Romance, YA

Tell us about the current book you’re promoting. 
I, James is the life story of James Crofter, the son of Walter Crofter.  It is the story of what happened after his capture in I, Walter.

What gave you the idea for this particular book?
Toward the end of I, Walter,  James chimed in that he wanted to tell his story.  It seemed appropriate considering his capture close to the end of I,Walter.  Hence, I, James.

Do you outline before you write?  If not, what’s your initial process?
No, I bounce a few ideas and write them down on a white board.  Then, I let them spend a few days percolating before I write.

What comes first: the plot or characters?
Character.  Always.

Which of your characters do you love/hate/fear/pity the most and why?
In I, Walter  I loathed Gerald.  And with good reason.  In I, James, I have to say the character disliked the most had to be Rupert.  It is very, very difficult for me to believe why any person would try to kill or neglect their own children.

Do writing violent or highly sexual scenes bother you?  Why or why not?
Writing for the young adult crowd, I never get too graphic.  But, I find that the reader’s mind imagines much more detail than any author is willing to use.

What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Getting the full story.

How long does it take to write a book, and what is your process?
I, James took eleven months to write and edit.   To start the story, my muse introduced me to the main character.  A few days a week, I would stand at a whiteboard and write down what I thought was coming forward.   And then a few hours or days later, I would write.  And so it went.  Some days, I’d write new material, others I’d expand on what was already written. 
During the writing though, I needed to take some time off to mourn the loss of my father.  It took a lot out of me, and it delayed the release for several months.

What are your current books out right now, and what are the books coming up for release?
The Eternity Series now has two books out:  I, Walter  and I, James.   I am planning, towards the end of June, to release Book Three in the series.

What advice would you give a new writer starting out?
To write what they know about.  And to write a complete first draft before worrying about editing.  NaNoWriMo is fantastic for getting people to focus on the writing.

What do you do when you’re not writing? 
Everything.  I’m the family chauffeur, I’m the cheering squad for my son’s sports teams, I’m the grocer, and the gopher for the family.

What do you look for in a book when you sit down to read for fun?
Authors.  I have read a diverse set of books over the past few years, in part because I’ve been able to get to know the authors.

What, if anything, bugs you when you read a novel?
Incomplete endings.  I’m not talking about books that begin series.  They have an ending but leave questions for the next book and are satisfying anyway.  I’m referring to books where the ending seems to be slapped on after running out of steam.

What books have most influenced your life?
Victor Hugo’s books, The Three Musketeers, Citizen Kane, Count of Monte Cristo, all Shakespeare’s plays, and Chaucer’s Cantebury Tales.

What seven words would you use to describe yourself?
supportive, independent, father, husband, geek, patriot, Samaritan

Describe your writing space.
Comfortable seating, blankets and covers, pillows for back support, internet connection, light switch

What has been your favorite part of being an author? What has been your least favorite?
The most favorite part has been reading and listening to reviews.  The least favorite part has been all of the marketing and promo work.  But, I have done it.

I, James is the second in a series of books in a saga which will span continents and time to arrive in present day North America. Each in the series will be connected, though that connection may not be obvious for several more books. It's almost like looking at a menorah (sic). Many lines, seemingly individual, connect to center at different points.

James Crofter was ripped from his family at age 11.
Within a year the prince was a pauper in a foreign land.
Is nature stronger than nurture? And even if it is, can James find the happiness he so richly desires?


1 comment:

  1. Nice interview! Seems like promoting is always hard for authors!