PublishersI recently had the opportunity to chat with author and illustrator, Mike Gagnon. He is slated to release his new psychological thriller and anti-love story, Uninvited on Valentines Day 2017. Check out our interview as he details his journey as a writer and illustrator, and gives us a peek into his new book.
- Hi! Please tell us more about yourself.
Okay, well my name is Mike Gagnon, I’m an author and illustrator. I’ve been working in the publishing and entertainment industry since 2000. I’ve worked for publishers as a layout designer and written or drawn for a variety of books, magazines, comics and more. I have a new novel coming out on Valentine’s Day, a vampire horror called Uninvited.
- How long have you been writing and what inspired you to want to become a writer?
I’ve been drawing, writing and creating stories since I was about 5, in 1986. My mom bought me a Superman comic book and something clicked and I’ve been off and running for 30 years since. My first self-published comic was when I was still in high school in 1998. 80’s and 90’s comic books are a huge inspiration for my writing. Good books are always an inspiration too. Classic fiction and horror, like H.G. Wells, Bram Stoker, Jules Verne, Ernest Hemingway, Nick Hornby, Stephen King, and too many others to name. I draw huge inspiration from film of all genres too, classic horror and monster movies, westerns, more. Just pop culture in general. I don’t hate on anything, I draw inspiration from the greatness of everything I’ve ever been exposed to.
- Please tell us more about your new book, Uninvited.
Uninvited is a psychological thriller and an anti-love story. The protagonist, Darius, has suffered for years being married so a sociopath, Allison. The two divorce and Darius moves on to a better life. Years later Allison reconnects and apologizes, appearing to have gotten the mental help she needed. As Darius begins to consider rekindling the old flame, Allison’s façade begins to crack, revealing a dark, supernatural secret. The story examines real issues such as mental health, domestic violence, drug abuse, sex addiction and more, through the filter of vampire fiction. As I said, it’s an anti-love story, so I couldn’t resist having it released on Valentine’s day, 2017.
- How long did it take you to complete it?
Overall, considering recording, transcribing, re-writing, editing and more…probably 4 months?
- What was the most challenging part apart from completing this book?
How did you rise to meet that challenge? This book was very cathartic. The sociopath and victim dynamic of Allison and Darius’s relationship was based on my own personal experience with a past relationship. It was highly fictionalized and details are changed enough that there’s no similarity with actual events, but I had to dredge up those emotions and many time I was writing a chapter with tears streaming down my face literally. It was a type of emotional torture, but I stuck with it because I believe in the story and that it needs to be told for those who may have experienced the same thing and need to be reassured that they can escape and put it behind them.
- Pen and paper, or keyboard and screen? Any particular writing style, and why?
It’s always been keyboard and screen, even when I was using a typewriter as a kid. I’m a child born at the same time as the technology age and have grown and adapted at the same pace as that trend. I create my work with tablets, touch screen, phones, and computers. I’ve also taken the time to learn from other authors and learned how to develop quick outlines and work more efficiently to finish books faster. I recently, with the Uninvited being the first book, began a new approach being adopted by many modern authors, I record my thought and chapters as audio files, then have them transcribed. Once they are transcribed, I re-write, reassemble, edit and re-edit until the story is exactly the story that I want to tell. I find these approaches fast and efficient. I’m an idea guy. I have a “bible” full of notes and concepts, more than I’ll be able to write in my lifetime, but with a fast, efficient work ethic, I have the chance to bring more of my ideas to life.
- Any guru tips for aspiring writers?
Don’t be so hard on yourself. Allow yourself to relax. That’s the key to creative ideas. If you stare at a screen and try to force an idea out, your left brain takes over and turns off your creativity. If you feel stuck, go for a walk, or take a shower. It lets your mind relax, allowing the right side to wake back up and bring you more ideas and lets your creativity flow. I offer a number of tips just like that in my book Paper Walls, which can be found, along with Uninvited, on my website at www.gagnonwrites.com.