Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Interview with YA author Michael Rothman

Today's guest, Michael A. Rothman, is the author of two novels (so far) in the Prophecies series for young adults. The two titles are HEIRS OF PROPHECY, and TOOLS OF PROPHECY.

Michael will be awarding a $50 Amazon gift card to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour, so leave your e-mail address with a comment if you'd like to be entered. Also, you can follow Michael's tour and comment at other stops - the more you comment, the better your chances of winning!

Welcome, Michael. Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
I have always admired truly epic tales. You know the ones I mean. The book you crack open, wander through and utterly get immersed in. The story takes you on twists and turns you never expected, run into dead-ends that make you wheel your arms backward to prevent you from falling into an endless abyss. By the time you reach what you think is the end, you've read hundreds of pages and realize the end is really only the beginning of the story.

You close the book and wonder, " Do I have the next book? Is it out yet?"

My goal with HEIRS OF PROPHECY was to make a story that would allow a younger audience access to such a tale. Since I despised waiting forever for the next part of the story, I won't leave readers suspended for too long. The next book, TOOLS OF PROPHECY, will come out by the end of the summer, 2012.  Oh, and if you liked the first book, the second book takes the reader on much higher emotional roller coasters and has lots more fun and surprising twists throughout. You will definitely get your fill of strongly opinionated dwarves, the stoic but intense elves, and evil pervades in the assassin world. The Rivertons have trained and evolved in the book as well. I think readers will be pleased. Oh, and a few new talking pets that add lots of comedy, but promise danger for the future.

I hope that leaves you with enough hints and tidbits of what will happen in the future, and encourages you to become embroiled in the world that is Trimoria.

Oh - one more thing. I will before the end of 2012, be introducing a prequel to HEIRS OF PROPHECY which will use a very familiar female main character. It is definitely geared toward attracting new female readers, but I promise the male readers - PRINCESS INTERRUPTED, will have lots of excitement and entertainment for you guys as well.

Please tell us about your current release.
HEIRS OF PROPHECY is the first in a series of books that center around the Riverton family. I’ve seen many reviews of the book, and one that I thing properly captures things in a nutshell is that it is a story about a Modern day family that falls down the veritable rabbit hole into a new world very much akin to a Lord of the Rings Middle Earth.

The back cover text does cover the story nicely though:

The Riverton family had been enjoying a simple summer vacation when, through a fluke of nature, they found themselves in a strange new land.

The Riverton brothers quickly realize that in this world, they have gained unusual powers. Powers that their parents fear will attract the attention of Azazel himself - the merciless wizard who brutally controls this world.

The two brothers soon learn that an ancient prophecy has finally been initiated by their arrival in Trimoria. As the heirs of this prophecy, they are destined to lead the armies of men, dwarves, elves, and even a misfit ogre against the prophesied demon horde.

Only one thing stands in their way.

The evil wizard who has learned of their presence, and has sent assassins to wipe them from existence.

What inspired you to write this book?
My children inspired my writing. My first novel stems directly from a bed time tale I would tell my children that over time evolved and got more elaborate. So instead of making things up on-the-fly, I decided to write the outline for what ended up being HEIRS OF PROPHECY, TOOLS OF PROPHECY, and a yet-to-be-named book to follow (though I am partial to LORDS OF PROPHECY).

When the family first encounters some wildlife that is clearly not from their world…

Looking to the top of the hill to the west, Aaron spotted a single four-legged figure outlined against the darkening sky. He raised his arm to point it out to his family, but before he could say anything, the animal vanished. Confused, Aaron lowered his arm.“Huh?” he said.

Just as the sound escaped his lips, the creature returned, closer this time. Aaron was alerted to its presence by a loud popping sound. Startled, he turned toward the animal, finding it standing a mere twenty feet away. From this distance, he could tell that it was a wolf-like creature. Its fur was matted and its face crusted with dirt. The wolf looked the family over in turn, an unnerving intelligence behind those yellow eyes.

Dad calmly motioned everyone behind him. “Don’t make any sudden moves…”

The creature sniffed once at the air, growled, and then blinked out of sight with another sharp popping sound. The sound echoed in Aaron’s head as he pondered in awe what he had just seen.“It just…It just…,” he stammered. “It just disappeared.”

“Where did it go?” Mom asked, her voice quavering.

Dad shrugged. “Your guess is as good as mine.”

“What the heck was that, Jared?” Mom growled, sounding fearfully angry. “Tell me you’re going to explain where in the world you’ve seen what we’ve just seen.”

Dad strode forward and crouched where the wolf had been. He seemed to study the ground for a time before breaking into a heavy sigh. “I’m sorry, but I can’t explain any of this. What we just saw shouldn’t be possible.”

“Maybe he didn’t disappear,” Ryan offered. “Maybe he just camouflaged himself. You know…like a lizard.”

Dad shook his head. “No, I see his paw prints here and nowhere else. It’s like he teleported away.”

“Teleporting wolves, giant cats, and I’m sparking everywhere on demand.”

“Yeah,” Aaron chimed in, “and hollow rocks.”

“Dad, are we even in our world anymore?”

Aaron couldn’t help but note how at a loss his father seemed.

What exciting story are you working on next?
I am currently working on a prequel to the first book, HEIRS OF PROPHECY – this one is titled, PRINCESS INTERRUPTED.  I can give you a sneak peek into some possible back-cover text to describe that prequel (also gives away who the Princess in the title is)

Arabelle, the daughter of a merchant king in the land of Trimoria  finds her normally simple life interrupted by events far beyond her  control. Her life of leisure is shattered.

Arabelle must learn to resist the monstrous foes that threaten her  people and the ones she loves.

She must do this while keeping a dark secret that only she can bear.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I have for a long time been a writer of graduate level material for the technical world. So at the very least, I knew I was capable of stringing a sentence together, but the thing that might not have been clear was whether or not I was able to sustain a reader’s attention through my creative writing and story telling. I am lucky enough to have a few friends who are NYT bestselling authors who after a draft of my first novel early last year were able to give me some critique which pointed out some things that helped me improve the focus on my writing.

So to answer the question specifically about creative writing, I guess I can answer it this way: I first felt confident that I had decent creative writing skills sometimes in 2011, and I suppose my (and my publisher’s) personal goal at some point would be to show commercial success through that writing. Commercial success in my mind being defined as breaking into some of the top-X lists such as USA Today, NYT, etc.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like?  If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I do have a day-job, as many otherwise successful authors do who are “breaking into the business.”

Suffice it to say I am in the technology field. If you hunt hard enough you might figure out where and who I am there by the judicious use of Google and Amazon.

How to find time is a very common question I get. In truth, it is very easy to find time and make decent progress if you are consistent. I oftentimes wake up at 5am, write for a couple hours, and then get the rest of my day started. You’d be surprised how much progress one can make when you are consistently putting some time in.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Okay – one writing quirk is less a writing quirk but a writing environment affectation. I eat lots of junk food while I am writing. I seem to be partial to Good & Plenty (don’t ask me why) and chocolate covered raspberry gel sticks. I know – bizarre, but it has developed into my “thing”. My wife knows when I am planning on doing a marathon weekend writing stint when I stock up on some of that.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I was always aimed toward technology either in the computer field or medicine. Oddly enough, I ended up steered toward the computer field and never looked back. I grew up somewhat at the dawn of the PC, and was lucky enough to work with some of the pioneers of what would become the modern PC. I was also somewhat responsible for some of the operating systems that people had grown up with prior to the coming of Windows.

For those of you who were wondering, “What about writing?” My English teachers in high school would be shocked to learn that the guy who groaned through their class was now writing books, though that might have been somewhat due to their teaching ability versus mine. I did take one, I repeat, ONE creative writing class in college and I was the teacher’s prodigy. I personally thought she was nuts for liking my writing, but for all I know – maybe she was seeing something in me all those years ago that I still wonder about at times.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I am still seeking the perfect cheese Danish that doesn’t skimp on the cheese and gives me wonderfully buttery and flakey crust. I remember those from my youth in Brooklyn, but since then – I’ve been deprived.

Thanks for stopping by and talking with us a bit today, Michael. Readers, don't forget about the Amazon gift card that is up for grabs! Just leave your name with a comment to be entered.


Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thank you for hosting Michael today.

Lisa Haselton said...

Happy to host.

Happy Fourth of July! :)

Catherine Lee said...

I, too, love chocolate covered jelly candies--especially raspberry. YUM. BUT Good & Plenty? I was never a big fan.
In my community college library, we have a YA collection that's about 3 years old. I'm often on the lookout for titles that will appeal to our reluctant male readers. Any series that might hook them is a good purchase for us.
Happy July 4th...
catherinelee100 at gmail dot com

Anonymous said...

I always thought a good tech writer would do well in sci-fi...that whole ability to make complex concepts clear is tailored for that.


Rita Wray said...

Hi Michael, when you find that perfect cheese Danish let me Happy 4th

MomJane said...

I love that you have the entire family in the story. Makes it a lot more interesting to me.

Mary Preston said...

There is nothing better than getting lost in an epic tale. I absolutely love them.


Lyra L7 said...

I agree with MomJane, usually there are only the kids, so it's nice that in your book the whole family in engaged in the adventure.