Thursday, 5 September 2013
Author Interview: Michael J. Tobias
About the Author:
Michael J. Tobias was born and raised in South Carolina. After receiving degrees from Furman University and The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, he served several Baptist and Methodist churches in various positions, including Youth Minister, Education Minister, Associate Pastor, and Pastor.
He has also worked at schools, in retail, at a funeral home and at a public library. His interests include spirituality, world religions, philosophy, quantum mechanics, psychology, biology, and ecology. He plays guitar, uses Xubuntu Linux, is a vegetarian, practices Tai Chi, takes care of a cat named Buddha, and faithfully mows his mother's lawn. He also reads a good deal and writes on occasion. More information is available on his website http://www.michaeljtobias.com
Do you plan everything or just let the story flow?
Some planning, but mostly just let the story flow. Really depends on whether I'm in that space where I'm listening to the muse. I can write anytime, but the good stuff flows.
Do your characters ever want to take over the story?
Lol, that happens frequently. Sometimes I'll write an entire day and the next day do a lot of re-writing because a character has basically done a coup de etat and unbalanced the whole story.
What is your favourite food?
Potato chips are my weakness, but I suppose my favorite is grilled veggies.
Are you a morning person or a night owl?
Up at 5 am, to bed by 9:30. Without fail.
Where do you dream of travelling to and why?
China...the history is incredibly alluring to me. I also have a thing for ancient Chinese spirituality.
Do distant places feature in your books?
My soon-to-be-published novel "From There To Here" takes place mostly in Zambia. Then there are the fantasy stories and planned trilogy.
Do you listen to music while writing?
Sometimes. Jazz seems to stir my muse the most.
Could you tell us a bit about your latest release?
It's called "Fundamental Problems: A Handful of Fables." It's a book of short stories about judgment, attachment, revenge, spirituality, devotion, and assumptions.
What have you learned about writing and publishing since you first started?
Like many other things, publishing is a brutal business. I decided to self-publish because I want total control over things. I'm quite picky about how I want my work marketed.
Is there anything you would do differently?
Yes, I would've done a lot more research on self-publishing before actually putting my book out there.
Who, or what, if anything has influenced your writing?
My experiences, obviously. I love good writing, and creating something is very fulfilling for me. I love Margaret Atwood, John Updike, John Irving. I like a good story that is artfully written. I think there are good story-tellers and good writers and where those subsets intersect is magic.
Anything you would say to those just starting out in the craft?
Find writers whose work inspire you and read, read, read. Notice how they craft sentences and scenes. Notice how they use language and words as brushstrokes on a painting. Brilliant writing should occasionally leave you breathless.
What are three words that describe you?
Funny, Deep, Kind
What's your favourite book or who is your favourite writer?
Favorite book is called "Ishmael," by Daniel Quinn. It's not the most brilliantly written book, but it challenges your perspective in a way that is surprising...or at least it was to me. Favorite author depends on the mood I'm in. The three I listed above are pretty good candidates.
Blurb of your latest release or coming soon book
Fundamental Problems: A small collection of stories about judgment, vengeance, inspiration, inter-connectedness, and devotion. With each tale, the reader is challenged to consider new ideas or perspectives. There are twists, surprises, lovable and detestable characters, epiphanies, and revelations that will stay with the reader long after the reading is done.
List of previous books if any
This is my first.
Any websites/places readers can find you on the web.