Today I’m excited to welcome author Michael Chrobak to CookieBreak. If you were hoping for a review today as is tradition on Thursdays, don’t fret – it’s simply scheduled a little later 🙂
Michael has been writing since he was young, but hasn’t had the courage to publish any of it until more recently. He writes because the more stories he tells, the more he finds of himself. Every character and adventure he creates includes a little piece of him, inspired by his own experiences.
Today he’s here to talk about his Guardians of Zion series.
Welcome to Cookie Break, Michael! I’m so excited to hear more about your Guardians of Zion series.
Could you tell us a little about your books? No spoilers, please! 😉
Brother Thomas and the Guardians of Zion is a Young Adult fantasy series that started from the question: What if the Fruits of the Holy Spirit were superpowers?
Would you mind sharing an excerpt with us, or a favourite quote?
“Don’t underestimate what God has in store, Thomas,” Father Dominic offered. “You may well yet find a faith deeper than you could imagine.”
Do you remember what sparked the idea for this series?
I was assisting on a high school church retreat, and one of my jobs that weekend was photographer. On Sunday, I was asked to take group photos for the entire group as well as the small groups that had met all weekend. I remember one young woman who it seemed like I was seeing for the first time. We had just spent almost 48 hours in the same place, and I hadn’t noticed her at all. This got me thinking about all the shy, introverted kids who can be invisible in large group settings. That’s where the idea for the first spiritual superhero came from. How I tied Charity to Invisibility is something you’ll have to read in the book. (Don’t want to spoil it here!)
What are you working on right now?
Editing the second book in the series, and also doing research for a spiritual Space Opera SciFi novel I’ve been thinking of writing.
What draws you to the genre you write in? Have you always been drawn to it?
I’ve been a huge Fantasy/SciFi fan ever since I read the Conan series by Robert E. Howard. The first novel I started was a combined SciFi/Fantasy novel (spaceship crashes on unchartered planet filled with fantastical creatures and events). I started writing it in 6th grade, but never finished it.
Who/what is your writing inspiration?
So many really good authors out there – published and self-published. I am inspired to write creatively by such talents as Roger Zelazny, Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov, Stephen R. Donaldson and so many more. And…I’m inspired to keep writing every day by the amazing group of authors I’ve met on social media.
What do you do if inspiration just won’t come?
I don’t push it. I’m not an author who feels I have to write every day. I take time off between projects, and sometimes even in the middle of a project. If I’m not feeling inspired about what to write, but am feeling inspired to write, I’ll take a chapter I wasn’t super happy with and try to rewrite it. Most times my rewrite will inspire me to change more areas of the project, and suddenly, I’ve got 2500+ words done.
Which part of the writing process is your favourite, and which part do you dread?
Honestly? The first round of edits is my favourite. I write free form without many edits along the way. So when I do the first round of edits, it’s like I’m reading my novel for the first time. Sometimes I get to a part and think, “Hey! That’s pretty good!”
What is your number one distraction?
Internet. Mostly social media. Since I’m homebound and don’t get out (like, at all) my only contact with the outside world is through social media.
Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Definite pantser. I have no idea what any of my books will be about when I first start writing. Plus, I find when I do plan, the writing never follows the plan anyway – so why bother. lol
Tea or coffee?
I start every morning with a cup of decaf or herbal tea with locally sourced honey (to help with my allergies), but then it’s on to my four espresso lattes.
What are the most important three things you’ve learned about writing, editing or publishing (or all of the above!) since you started your journey?
First – trust your words. You might not think they are perfect, but they don’t have to be. Just remember that you don’t know who your readers are going to be, or what they will take away from your work. So just trust that if you’re guided to write it, write it. Second – please don’t self-edit only. One of the most disappointing things readers deal with is badly edited books. Even if you have a Masters in English, have someone else do at least 1 round of edits for you. You’ll be surprised and what they might find. And finally, cover design is HUGE! You might write the next great American novel, but if your cover doesn’t attract readers, no one will know.
What’s your favourite quote on writing?
“All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.”
– Ernest Hemingway
What is the best piece of advice you’ve received?
Know your genre – know your audience.
Don’t spend all your time speaking about or sharing your books. You’ll become boring. Let people see who you are. If they relate to you, chances are, they’ll relate to your books, too.
Where else can we connect with you?
Thank you for stopping by, Michael! If you lovelies have any questions for him, ask away 🙂
For all other interviews, take a look here.
For Cookie Break’s home page, have a look here.
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