Michael J Sanford
1. Tell us a little about yourself
I'm 28, married, father to two precocious felines, and live in New York. I am a newly self-published author. I have a degree in Child and Family Studies with a Minor in Criminal Justice, but all I want to do in life is to write! And I am totally OK with that. I work to pay the bills, but write to live.
2. What genre do you write in?
Right now, Fantasy, though my first novel does dip a toe into the Contemporary genre.
3. Tell us about your latest book.
My most recent release is titled "The Mighty" and is the first in a series of yet to be determined length. Right after college I worked for two years in a residential treatment center for behaviorally disturbed youth. All of the kids/teens had a different way of dealing with the inhuman trauma they had each suffered. One in particular impacted me as I saw a lot of myself in how he handled things. He retreated into his imagination and spent an inordinate amount of time role-playing as a wizard, warrior, and the like. I often wondered, "what's it like in his head?" "The Mighty" is the answer to that question. In it, the main character Wyatt is sent to a similar facility, but finds that his amulet can quite literally take him to a different world. There he vows to save the realm from the oppressive Regents, but he has no control over his magic and continually bounces between worlds. He also meets a fellow resident and vows to help her escape. It's a story of balancing two worlds all while trying to avoid painful memories that whisper from the shadows.
4. When did you first know you wanted to be writer?
I've always loved reading, and writing goes hand in hand with that. Even as a child I dreamed of being a writer. I wrote numerous short stories and fan fiction of whatever I was into. I began on my mother's typewriter, writing for hours. I can even remember beginning a Thriller novel before I was a teenager, on an outdated PC. But, it wasn't until recently that I made a pact with myself to get over my insecurities and anxiety, and take the plunge into publishing. Best decision I've ever made.
5. Are there any books or writers who have particularly influenced or inspired you as a writer?
Absolutely. The first was Brian Jacques. I was enthralled with his storytelling all throughout middle and high school. The Redwall series still inspires me. I wish I could paint a picture with words like that man. More recently, the Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson. The characters, story, world, and magic system he created left me speechless. Vin and Elend will forever be in my mind.
6. What is your proudest moment as a writer so far?
Publishing my first novel. It proved to myself that I was serious about writing.
7. Have you ever considered branching out into other genres? If so which other genre/s would you like to write in?
Totally. I'd love to get into Sci-Fi, and I have some ideas for stories that would fall into the Contemporary or Thriller genre. I'm thrilled by the idea of exploring other genres. No one should place themselves in a box.
8. Would you write under the same name or use a pen name for each genre? What's your take on writing in multiple genres under one name?
I will only ever write under my own name. It feels dishonest to hide behind a pen name. No matter the genre, it's all from my mind, and I'm not ashamed of that. I know that can turn off some readers to see different genres under one name, but that's of little concern to me. Ultimately, I write for myself, not my readers. And I'll never apologize for that.
9. Why did you decide to be an independent author?
It was the right choice for me. Getting into traditional publishing is a nearly insurmountable task and brings with it far too much drama. I thrive on having full control over my writing, as well as maintaining the rights to the work. I couldn't imagine pouring my soul into a story, only to sell it to a company that cares only about the bottom line. Writing is an art, not a business.
10. If one of the big 5 publishers offered you a contract tomorrow would you swap indie for traditional publishing, stay as you are, or try to do both?
I'm Indie through and through. I won't lie though, if they offered a huge sum of money it'd force me to pause. But no, I have no intention of signing away my love and craft. It would feel like signing away my very soul. And yes, I know how crazy that sounds.
11. What's the biggest challenge you've faced as an indie?
Getting exposure, without question. Writing is the easy part. Publishing is only slightly more difficult. But getting people to look your way for half a second is the real trouble. It's amazing how many people are writing (especially as Indies) and that's awesome, but it saturates the market, and no matter how good a story is, it can suffocate beneath the sheer volume of books out there.
12. What are you working on at the moment?
I have two different series on tap right now, and the next book I release will be the first of what I am calling "The Last War Saga." It's a character driven high fantasy series, and was inspired by a Dungeons and Dragons campaign I create(d) and run on Friday nights with a great group of friends. I am expecting to release the first in the series, "The Girl With Red Hair," in June 2016. Then I'll bounce back to publishing the sequel to "The Mighty," which is in first draft form now.
13. Where can people buy your books or connect with you?
I am exclusive to Amazon. There you can find my current and future work in both print and eBook.