Michael is 31 years old and is married with two kids. He was born in Hong Kong and moved to the US when he was about 3 years old. Michael grew up in Central Florida and went off to Atlanta for college. He graduated from Georgia Tech back in 2005 and worked for an energy company as a project engineer up through 2013. In 2014 he started working for an IT company as a project manager.
“I am a person that gets bored extremely quickly, so I like to dabble in a lot of different things. I have many passions in life that keep me from being idle. Writing and reading, of course, being two of my passions, have taken up much of my time. Other passions that indulge upon are Cooking, Eating, Singing, and teaching.”
Sierra: When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?
Michael: I’ve always been very addicted to reading urban fantasy novels. After a long day at work, it feels great to be able to dive into a book where I can be drawn into a world that parallels my own, but filled with magic and wonder. If I had a good book in front of me, I used to be able to stay up all night reading (gone are those day though; I have kids now and I try to get as much sleep as I can get).
Although, I’ve always wanted to pursue writing, I didn’t really attempt writing a book until one night when I had a very strange dream about 4 years ago. My wife and I had our first baby. Months of sleepless nights went by and we both looked like zombies. Then, one night a very strange dream (more like a nightmare) came to me about a teenager working in a mental asylum. The patients there were all gaunt and ghastly with very abrupt demeanor changes. Some of the things the patients were doing were fairly odd and supernatural (like levitating, retrieving objects via telekinesis, and speaking with multi-vocal projections). And I remember wandering to myself, are these people all just insane or demon possessed. Then the teenager went into a room and called the patient residing in the room, “mom.” She turned around abruptly, and the expression on her face was terrifying as she pounced on him. I woke up immediately. As shaken from the dream as I was, I couldn’t help wanting to find out what happened to the teenager. I tried to go back to sleep in hopes of getting the dream to continue. But it didn’t work. The next morning, I told my wife about the strange dream and how I had hoped that it had continued when I went back to sleep. So my wife told me that it sounded like it would make an excellent novel and that I should write my own ending. And I did.
It took me about two and a half years to finish the story.
Sierra: Tell us a little bit about your first book or the first book in the series.
Michael: .It is a Young Adult Paranormal Urban Fantasy that is book 1 of a book series called Declan Peters Chronicles. The story is about a 17 year old boy who had an traumatic experience when he was seven. His mother went insane and tried to drown him. Now that he’s graduated from high school, he starts working for the institution here is mother is being cared for. Strange things start happening around him, and he afraid that he might have inherited his mother’s mental illness. The story surrounds all the different discoveries that he makes about himself during this time. Are there really supernatural things happening around him, or has he truly inherited his mother’s condition. You’ll have to read the book to find out.
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Sierra: How did you choose the genre you write in?
Michael: Since the whole story came about from a nightmare I had, I’d have to say that I didn’t choose it; it chose me. I hope I didn’t sound too much like a mystic there.
Sierra: What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write?
Michael: My favorite part in the book (without giving too much away as a spoiler) is the scene where Declan comes to a realization about his own state of mind and what he can really do. That feeling of being free from all the baggage that he had been carrying for 10 years, made me leap a little bit as I was writing it. I’m sure that there is always something about yourself that you are self conscious of or you don’t like (whether it is something that has happened in your past or something about yourself physically). And sometimes, you can get obsessed about it so much that it consumes you. But learning to like yourself for who you are and how you got there is probably one of the most freeing experiences of your life.
Sierra: Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?
Michael: The story is mostly imaginary, being that it originated from a dream. However, there are a lot of moments throughout the story that has very intense emotions, that are reflections of the emotions that I’ve had in different parts of my life.
Sierra: Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
Michael: I’m a big paranormal fiction fan. A few of my favorite writers are Jim Butcher, Simon R. Green, Cassandra Clare, and Rick Riordan. Jim Butcher has definitely influenced some of the ways I write my fight scenes in the book as his books are always so packed with supernatural action. And Simon R. Green always has such witty characters that are very unique. And Cassandra Clare and Rick Riordan simply have a way of creating a world that draws you in. These are all amazing writers and I really hope that one day I can attain their level of excellence.
Sierra: Do you ever experience writers block?
Michael: I’m not sure if it really counts, but I honestly cannot sit and write for more than two hours at a time. My brain feel like a bowl of pudding after that.
Sierra: Is there an author that you would really like to meet?
Michael: Jim Butcher! The Dresden Files is my absolute favorite book series of all time. I’ve probably re-read the entire series at least 4 times. The world that he built in his book series is so intricate that every time I re-read it I realize that I had missed something important the previous times.
Sierra: Will you have a new book coming out soon? If so, can you tell us about it?
Michael: Not quite in the near future. I’m still in the beginning stages of writing book 2 of the Declan Peter’s Chronicles. And concurrently, I’m working on a spin-off book series that goes back to the genesis times, starting with the first Nephilim. And yes, there will be crossover characters. You have to read it to find out how.
Sierra: If you could go back and do it all over again, is there any aspect of your first novel for getting it published that you would change?
Michael: No, I like the story as it is. However, I’d like to believe that my writing has improved since then, and just rewrite the whole thing! Haha! But I feel like, I’m always going to feel that way as I continue down my writing journey.
Sierra: Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?
Michael: As my wife was reading some of my first drafts, I kept hearing sighs and grunts. And I ask her what was her deal, and she told me “Don’t just flat out tell the readers what is going on all the time, you have flirt with them.”
You don’t’ want to be so cryptic where you readers are confused about what’s going on in the story, but also don’t just give it all away! Tease them! Make them work for it! 😉
Sierra: Is there anything you would like to say to your readers and fans?
Michael: I’d just like to thank all the readers for their support. I know that some of the topics touched upon in the novel can be quite taboo in certain arenas. But, I feel that it’s what makes for an intriguing tale! I hope you enjoyed the first book enough to continue with the series because it’s really about go deeper into the madness!