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Author Interview with Micheal Lee Nelson

This Writers Of SciFi Author Interview is with Micheal Lee Nelson. Follow him in Facebook , Twitter, or on his Website.

Email address: michealleenelson@gmail.com

Question 1) When did you first realize you wanted to be a Sci-Fi writer?

Two parter- On the 1) hand, around middle school age, when I read Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, I remember my contrarian reaction to that was to think, “Someday if I write a novel I’ll do the opposite of that.”

And I hope I’ve made that so. Not to write a religion into my setting to be overtly pushed in anyone’s face, but kind of how it may have been in the 50’s and 60’s, when it was an open part of public American life. If you got caught shoplifting, the policeman wouldn’t just point out it’s a crime, but remind you to talk to your pastor about the Commandment against stealing.

And so I tried hard to create some of my characters with a faith, just an everyday part of their character andcommon to life in parts of the setting. Thus their faith and prayers are infused into their story as an organic part of my character’s background, without it being a morality point pushed on the readers. Almost all the feedback I’ve received has said I succeeded in this balance.

2) Second, my High School Honors English teacher, Mrs. Burdge, gave me an A+ on a creative writing assignment and had it published in the county literary magazine. That positive reinforcement in the back of my mind all the years eventually helped me start creative writing more seriously.

Question 2) What authors and books inspire your writing?

I am most inspired over my lifetime by Isaac Asimov’s masterwork, the “Robot’s through Foundation” series. So many by Bradbury and Heinlein. Bester’s “The Stars, My Destination” which sits next to my bed to this day. Phillip K. Dick’s “Do Android’s Dream of Electric Sheep” which I read well before it became a movie adaptation. Orwell’s “1984” and “Animal Farm.” All of CS Lewis’ writing. Michener’s Centennial and Texas.
Living author’s? Patterson’s Alex Cross series. Everything by Timothy Zahn. Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game series weighs heavily as influencing my Ceres setting.

Question 3) Are you an extrovert or introvert? How well do you like book signings and other interaction with readers?

I am naturally an introvert. I can only handle a loud crowd for so long before I have to escape. But for charity work I forced myself to get over the fear of public speaking by reading in front of church. One church seated over 1,000. #ProblemSolved.

Yes, I do enjoy book events and reader engagement. Some of my most fun conversations are had with fans of my work. Its terribly wonderful for growing the ego. I launched Ceres 2525 at the fantastic “Page 158 Books,” in Wake Forest, NC. I had built up a relationship with them over time and they helped facilitate a good event. Owner Suzanne Lucey grilled me for 45 minutes, asking so many questions! But I had just lived through this writing process, and I enjoyed describing things and answering the questions. Turned out to be fun! Who knew?

Having networked with many people, friends and business owners of the area for the prior 2 years, we filled the bookstore with over 40 people listening to the interview. I gave away a little crystal with each book purchased. A secret treasure mentioned inside the novel for them to get an excited “aha” moment later when they read that passage. It was great!

Question 4) What is unique about writing in your genre? 

I am in Science Fiction, though the tags military and Christian both apply to my work. I have been a fan of scifi for over 40 years. I appreciate how some of the technical gadgetry in books and movies of the 20th century have happened today. We used Star Trek communicators (flip-phones) until we redesigned them to be sturdier (cellphones), for example.

I love how “old scifi” and low-science “Space Opera” inspired generations of scientists, ESA and NASA astronauts, who have now gone to locations once only dreamed and written of, starting with the Apollo moon missions and soon to go back, and on to Mars robotically.

I think that is the greatest value of scifi and it is underappreciated in the world. That it fuels the imagination, making not just fiction writers think about “what if…?” but making scientists think about those things and eventually DO those things. Scifi stretches man’s limits, by showing us the only real limit is our limited imagination and technology of today.

Question 5) Have you ever created a character with an actor or a person you know in mind? 

Think big, you have to think anyway. I created a mercenary character as a friend and rival to my MML, based on John Matrix in Commando. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Boom! Can’t get any bigger than that.

Ceres The Look (c) William S. Frisbee

One of my hero’s main mentors is based on half my dad plus half my uncle. The grandparents are based on my sainted grandparents. I’m writing a big family reunion scene in book 2 that is based on any holiday at my grand’s house growing up with lots of aunts and cousins. Names and descriptions will be changed to protect the innocent, and the guilty. 

Starting from a “character” I know in real life I have to recreate a new fictionalized character to put some elements of my friend into. But that is the whole point and fun of creative writing.

Question 6) What inspires you to write? 

I am a contrarian. Over 40+ years of enjoying reading and watching scifi, I finally started writing my own novel. I told others about parts, showed some what I had written. They caught my enthusiasm for my character, my story. They encouraged me to share it with you, the reader, the scifi fan, the world! They got me fired up to write more! This still fuels me. I love it when my local friends who are Ceres fans ask what he’s doing lately. That keeps me writing.

Please go to my Blog to read the the rest of this interview and learn more about my work.

CERES 2525

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Writers of SciFi Newsletter March 19, 2018