Hello everyone! Here is the second interview I have to share with everyone. Hope you enjoy!
Michael J. Lore
Thanks for agreeing to interview with me. It's been a great experience.
1. When/how did you know you wanted to write?
MJL: Oddly enough, I never thought of myself as a writer. Despite the fact that I did do a lot of creative writing as a child. For instance, during my middle school years, I would use song titles to create funny short stories. And, during my high school years, I produced endless amounts of rap and song lyrics. At that time, I was dreaming of becoming a rapper. Around the birth of my first child, I began to write poems. But most of these were to amuse my wife. So, I didn’t make the connection of creative writing equals writer. None of my high school English teachers ever mentioned it to me. I don’t recall any of them saying that my writing was anything other than average. But, all of that changed when I reached college. My English professor told me that my stories were very entertaining. He told me that my approach to telling a story was different. And he suggested that I keep all the papers I’d written in his class and considering publishing them one day. Then a little light went off in my head. Because, I’d once had a job selling books. And from that I saw first hand that books could generate money. But, at the time I didn’t consider writing a book. But, now that my professor had validated my writing abilities, I began to think of a way to write a book that I could sale. I believe it’s at that point that I became a writer.
2. How long did it take you to become published?
MJL: Years. Because, I never got positive feedback from any established, traditional publisher. Either nicely or harshly they all told me that they were not interested in taking on a new and unknown author. So of course, I got frustrated and took my mind off writing. Then I noticed what was happening in the rap world. That small unknown artist were shunning big time record companies’ rejections and making there own music. Producing it themselves. So then my mind flashed back to writing. I figured that if they could self-publish, I could self-publish. And I began to look around for a company that would allow me to do that. And that’s when I discovered AuthorHouse. And I decided to give it a try. I believed in my book. So I decided to put my money where my mouth was.
3. How long did it take for you to write your book, Live, Laugh, and Love: The Golden Moments of Life?
MJL: In all truth and honesty it took about a year and a half. Which is way longer than it needed to take. You see, I didn’t have a real direction with the book. I knew that I wanted to write a story about my relationship with my grandfather. And, after the funeral I began to tinker with a plot and a main character. But, many of my first drafts of the characters and story lines were too personal. They were too much like my grandfather’s actual life and the things we really did. And that’s not what I wanted. I wanted to capture his spirit. I didn’t want to write a biography. So I kept playing with the plots and thinking and thinking. Add to that the fact that I was only writing in the evenings. After everybody else had used the computer I would go on it and write. So I wasn’t spending a lot of time writing the story. But, that wasn’t a big problem because I still didn’t have a plot that I liked. Finally after about a year and change I thought of a plot that I liked. Which, once again was totally different from what I’d written. So I discarded all that I’d wrote and started over. From that point, it was about another four to six months for me to complete the manuscript which was somewhere around 90,000 words.
4. Who are some of your favorite authors?
MJL: I’m really not an avid reader. When I was young I did read a lot. But the older I got the further I got from reading. So I don’t really have a favorite author. You see, I’ll go to read a book. Get distracted. And never get around to finishing it. However, I do admire and strive to be like those few authors who’ve created a story that they’ve been able to successfully build into a multi-entertainment empire. Like Gene Roddenbury did with Star Trek, and like George Lucas did with Star Wars, and like Tyler Perry is doing with Madea.
5. What do you do in preparing to write a story?
MJL: Research. I want the reader to believe that the story is real. Even though it’s fiction. I want the story line to be so real and imaginable that the reader forgets it fiction. For example, if I’m writing about a Miami street party that happened in 2003. I’ll go back and look for reports of an actual Miami street party that took place in 2003. Then, I’ll bring elements of that event into the story. In that way, some readers will read the story and say hey, I remember this party. That person really did perform at that party. And then they’ll sit back and ask themselves, is this story real? I thought this book was fiction, is it really real? And that’s what I want my readers to do. I want them to be fully entertained. And by offering them a blend of reality and fiction, I can accomplish that. So the big thing for me is research. I want my story to seem so real that my readers begin to believe that it is.
6. Where do your story ideas come from? Do you use people you know as characters sometimes or even sometimes a certain event from real life happenings?
MJL: So far, all of my story ideas have come from my personal views of the world. For instance, I’ll be talking and joking with my friends and family about something. And they may be saying that’s so true or that’s funny or they’ll hit me with the old your crazy comment. At which point, I’ll think to myself that the rest of the world might enjoy hearing about my view on this matter as well. Then I’ll write a synopsis of what the story would be about. At that point, I’d show it to them and see if it generates the type of response that I want. If it does, I’ll set it aside to be created when I get a chance.
As for basing the characters on people I know, the answer to that is yes and no. My characters are based on blends of human personalities. Sprinkled with flash viewpoints and reactions of some people I know. But, with characters you have to remember that we’re all humans. And as such, the personality types we have as individuals are not exclusive to us. For example, I’m not the only person who dislikes raw garlic and believes that exercise is torture. And so, I could generate a character who like myself hates raw garlic. And doesn’t care for running marathons. Yet still wants to have a lean and sculptured body. A character who like the rest of us is filled with self conflicts and certain insecurities. A character who is human. Just as human as the rest of us. Somebody the reader and the world can relate to.
As for the events, most of them are real life events. Either based on my own life or somebody else’s. For example, my grandfather was seriously wounded in World War II. But he wasn’t shot eight times on Hagushi Beach. Likewise, a co-worker’s girlfriend did show up at the job and destroy some things. But, nobody was savagely beaten and hospitalized. None the less, the reader can still relate to it. Because you see it on the news daily. Everyday somebody goes to work and hurts somebody. So it’s very believable. In fact, there’s a chapter where a drug addict tries to escape the police by jumping from one roof to another. And, low and behold about a month ago, there was a police pursuit where the suspect, who was believed to be high on illegal drugs, tried to escape by jumping from one roof to another. And, I’ll bet you that if you let enough time pass it will happen again. These things keep the story feeling and seeming real. Sort of like magic is. You know it’s not real, but it seems so real when the magician makes the building disappear that you go off wondering if such a thing could really be done. You begin to believe that it’s real. At that point, you’ve been entertained. And you’re pleased with the magician’s performance. And the magician feels as if he or she has accomplished something.
7. What is your favorite part of writing?
MJL: Creating the story. I love the initial creation process. Because, initially I’m in total control. What I decide goes. The characters will behave and perform as I tell them to. Things will happen when and how I want them to. It’s me, the pen, and the paper and nobody else. Now I’m aware of the fact that I can go off the deep end in some of my stories. So, I’ll write a part and then show it to my wife or my family or my friends and see how they like it. See if it sounds possible and how does it make them feel. What’s their reaction to it. I love that part of the writing process.
8. Do you have a specific schedule in which you write?
MJL: Yes. When I’m writing a story I tend to work on it Monday through Friday from about 10:00pm until about 1:00am or 2:00am. Or until my sentences stop making sense. And on Saturdays I’ll try to write from about 8:00am to about 2:00pm, take a break and come back to it in the afternoon. On Sunday, I try to take a break and resist touching the computer, with all of my might. It’s very easy to become obsessed with writing to complete the story. And my wife will point that out to me. If she sees me spending too much time with the story she’ll let me know, and then I’ll try to back off of it a little. But, there are those moments when the story is just flowing and before you know it it’s 4 o’clock in the morning.
9. Do you have any projects you are currently working on?
MJL: Yes. Currently, I want to make the book available as an audio book. And, I’m researching how to get that done. It’s new territory for me, and a chance to learn about something new. As well as expand the book’s audience. I also have several other stories that I’d like to write and I have to figure out which one to go with.
10. What advice do you give to those who are just starting out or trying to become published?
MJL: If you’re waiting for somebody to validate your abilities as a writer then you’re setting yourself up to be frustrated. If you feel that you have a good story, go ahead and write it. Once you’ve finished it look for a publisher. Treat it like a job application. The more applications you fill out the sooner you’ll get a job. And likewise, the more publishers you submit the book to, the sooner you will get published. But, if you feel yourself getting frustrated and can’t seem to find anybody to publish your book. Then don’t be afraid to publish it yourself. You’ve got two choices; keep showing it to publishers and praying for them to like it or publish it yourself. A lot of people don’t want to have to be bothered with promoting the book themselves. So they seek a traditional publisher who they believe will do everything for them. But that’s not the case. Either way you go, traditional publishing or self-publishing, your going to have to promote your book. If you want your book to sale, you are going to have to get out there and tell people about it. Now if the book is good, it will be easier to do that. Likewise, if you have a good publicist and marketing team, it’ll be even easier to do. But one way or the other, the success of the book is going to depend heavily on your willingness to talk with people and tell them about your book. Now if you’re really fortunate, you’ll come across somebody who can talk about the book for you. And, then all you’ll have to do is sign autographs and shake hands. But at the end of the day, I believe, it comes down to getting the word out there. Now, there are some cases of people who’ve self-published and generated so much buzz about their book that a traditional publisher steps forward and wants to republish the book. They still have to keep talking about the book. Because, the publisher wants to turn profit. But it becomes easier and more productive when they do talk. Because, the traditional publisher will have relationships established with certain media outlets that will give your talks more expose. But it still comes down to you. So I say keep writing and letting the world know about your writing. Because, there’s bound to be somebody out there who likes your style of writing and story telling.
Interviewed by Sarah on 5/29/05.