Saturday, February 20, 2016

AC Michael ~ an interview and his novel ~ The Dancing Barber

AC Michael

A bio is not necessary, but if you’d like to include one I can add it to the interview.
I was born in Yorkshire, England and enjoyed writing stories and drawing cartoons from a young age.
When not writing, my diverse interests range from hill-walking to gardening, and from watercolour painting to quantum physics.
My favorite authors are Roald Dahl, Leslie Charteris and Ian Fleming.
I have also written and illustrated three picture books, which will be completed in 2016.


Q: Are you a morning person, or a midnight candle burner?
A: Mornings are best for analysing and improving what I've written, whereas in the afternoons, I tend to be more creative.

Q: Tell me one thing about each of the four seasons you like. It can be anything.
A: Winter = Cold, damp and miserable weather means I have no excuse to stay indoors and write. This often my most productive season.
Spring = The spring bulbs – snowdrops and daffodils – breaking through the warming soil after a long winter.
Summer = The longer days, warmer temperatures and sunshine.
Fall = It's quite depressing... cold winter days are only around the corner.

Q: If you could morph into any creature what would it be?
A: A domestic cat
If you don’t mind me asking, why?
A: They do nothing, and yet have everything provided for them.

Q: When you think of a garden, do you picture vegetables or flowers?
A: Flowers. They are marvels of nature, and even the smallest bloom can brighten the dullest November day.

Q: What kind of music do you listen to? Do you have an all time favorite song?
A: Classical. Generally piano music, ranging from Chopin to Einaudi.

Q: Did you like school when you were a child?
A: Yes. It is the period of time, in which I leaned the most. School days really are the best days of your life.

Q: Coffee or Tea?
A: Coffee in the morning, and tea in the afternoon.

Q: How do you feel about exercise?
A: I am very health-conscious. A balanced diet and plenty of exercise are very important to me. Living in Yorkshire, there are plenty of steep hills to walk up... excellent for the cardio-vascular system.


Q: How do you handle a writer's block?
A: I rarely suffer from writer's block. If anything, I have too many ideas, and the difficulty is separating the wheat from the chaff.

Q: Do you write long hand first, or does it go straight into the computer?
A: I find it almost impossible to write new material on a computer. The keyboard and screen are a barrier between my mind and the words... therefore I always use a sharp pencil and lined paper for the first draft. I then type it up, print it out, and begin the editing process... The Dancing Barber was in its 12th version, before I felt it was ready for publication.

Q: When crafting the story do you go from beginning to end, or do you jump around writing the scenes that are pushing themselves forward in your brain?
A: I try to write from beginning to end, however I always find gaps in the narrative that need filling, or uncover problems with the chronology during the editing process that necessitate additional scenes to be inserted where necessary. Also, superfluous scenes are deleted during the same editing process.

Q: Do you always know how a story will end when you begin writing it?
A: At the beginning of the writing process, I have a general idea of how a story will end, but ultimately, the characters' actions determine the end-result. And sometimes, that end-result is quite surprising.

Q: How long does it take you to create a novel?
A: The Dancing Barber took five years to write, and one year to get published.

Q: Do you like to read the genre that you write?
A: Yes. I like to read about times gone by... I often think that life in decades past was simpler and more enjoyable.


Q: What are you working on now? Would you like to share anything about it?
A: I am currently putting the finishing touches on three exciting new picture books aimed at 0 – 6 year old children. See in 2016 for details.

Q: Do you have a new book coming out soon? Tell us about it.
A: I plan to write a sequel to The Dancing Barber and have already begun crafting the first few scenes. Considering The Dancing Barber took five years to write, I anticipate the sequel won't be ready for quite some time...

Q: How can we find you? Do you have a web page, FaceBook page or any buy links?
This I can retrieve from your Ravenswood information. If there is something new or other than what Ravenswood has you can supply it here.
A: I will fill your answer in as ~ Yes, I do. Here are the links. ~ If you would like this line to read another way – please fill it in.

There is no worse a sound than a cane thwacking down against the flesh. But as all professional torturers know, the cries of anguish that follow the first strokes soon diminish as the victim’s body is numbed to the pain.

The longer the cane the better, as the end whips through the air much quicker, delivering a far more effective blow. And the four-foot cane is the ballet teacher’s cane of choice. But Mr Taras’ preference is for a five-footer, because he isn’t a mere ballet teacher. He is a Ballet Master, who naturally requires a superior cane, especially when keeping his most insubordinate pupils in line.

The youngest dancers were always scared of Mr Taras, but tonight they were petrified. His cane seemed to strike Oksana’s buttocks in time with the bolts of lightning that illuminated the night sky, glimpsed only through the tiny barred window high up on the wall. To the youngsters, it was as if Mr Taras had so much anger that he could control the weather.

‘If you dare answer me back again,’ Mr Taras said, ‘I’ll cane you until your skin is cut to ribbons! And then I’ll cane you some more! You understand?’ He shouted so loudly that his face went tomato-red and he almost spat out the cigarette that was perpetually glued to his lip.

Oksana wept, ‘I am very sorry Mr Taras. I will never answer you back again!’ She struggled to get up from her prostrate position across the well-worn ‘caning chair’. Her buttocks throbbed in time with the metronome on top of the piano and she knew that after this, her status as Queen Bully was lost forever.

I’m happy you could join me on Books and Banter. I hope you had fun with the Q & A’s

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