Thank you Michael for allowing us to interview you today. Can you tell us about yourself?
“My name is Michael Diack and I’m from the UK, but currently living in Denmark.
I studied geology at the University of Manchester and, after graduating, I was lucky to find a job in the Middle East working for a geophysical company. I enjoy table tennis, squash, football, Lord of the Rings, sailing, skiing on the green slopes only, and the card game Cribbage. I also enjoy computer games and playing a four hour game of Risk or anything Game of Thrones related with my friends.
My favourite authors are Murakami, Tolkien, Markus Heitz and an Italian author Niccolo Ammaniti. I love fantasy but I’ll read almost any genre that catches my eye. I always wanted to be a volcanologist, like Pierce Brosnan in Dante’s Peak, but I enjoy my current job and lifestyle. I write because it makes me happy, but it doesn’t quite pay the bills yet, perhaps enough for a chocolate bar every month based on my current sales!
1. What was your first published book?
“My first book was ‘The Super Spud Trilogy’. A satirical book for all ages featuring magical crisp packets, called Super Spuds, who come alive once their sell-by date expires. They grow arms and legs and are free to live forever, away from humans in our rubbish tips where they partake in all kinds of adventures and sporting events. The key aspect of the story is that the personality of the Super Spud is determined by their flavouring, so Steak and Spinach flavours became super strong, with a military persona; while Salt and Vinegar become cocky and arrogant because they know they are the most popular flavour with the humans.
It’s very quirky and original, and the reviews have been mainly positive. You just have to remember they are crisp packets when reading it and take it all with a pinch of salt.”
2. Why do you enjoy writing as an indie author?
“I write to escape. It makes me happy just getting lost in an environment I’ve created while listening away to music. I certainly don’t do it for money, and I think if I was trying to make it as an author without a normal job, it would be not only highly stressful but most likely impossible. I also enjoy meeting new people and interacting with readers and fellow writers.”
3. The biggest challenge to being an indie author in today’s publishing world?
“I think it’s a very competitive market, especially getting reviews. But the best and most professional thing to do is to always be kind and courteous with any reviewers, or when interacting with people on forums. I think it’s hard to get noticed and to build your profile in the beginning. I’m treating it as a very long term plan, where I hope that after 5-10 years I’ll have a decent enough following. I think there is also a lot of dross out there, people putting stuff out with cheap covers or poorly formatted books, and of course, unedited manuscripts. I always pay the extra mile for an editor, they see things us writers don’t and correct the typos and grammar. That’s essential.”
4. A favorite fan review or memory?
“Fantasy is my favourite genre and Tolkien is my favourite writer. I’ve had reviews for my fantasy novel ‘Shadows in the Sand’ state that there are shades of Tolkien within the writing, which is an unbelievably flattering comment to receive. Getting the bad reviews, which are meaningful and not just one-line ‘I hated this book’ are also very useful and constructive too. I also enjoy the excitement of being featured on advertising websites and seeing your sales rank rise high; although it’s just for one day before you’re back in the half million zone…”
5. Advice for new writers?
Michae’s Writing Blog
“The link above is to my blog where I wrote a detailed guide and advice to being an indie writer, so there is plenty of reading on there. Quite simply though: keep writing! Marketing can be overwhelming and try not to get too bogged down by it.”
6. Goals for writing in the next year?
“I’m very slowly working on a new supernatural fantasy, set in a graveyard and dealing with spirits. I’d like to have it ready and published by the end of this year. I’m aiming for two novels per year, but if I end up writing one decent one in five years rather than ten average ones then that shall do too!”
7. Anything exciting or new coming out soon?
“I’ll be releasing a factual account of my year of unemployment after I graduated. Basically it was me making a fool of myself at interviews or assessment centres because of my lack of experience and unpreparedness. I’d hope people can relate to it and learn from it, and it would be great to know it helped someone out in the job process by not doing the mistakes I did!
Thanks for having me on your blog.”
Thank you, Michael. We are very excited about your future books coming out!