Today Michael Brookes talks about his writing process and his new book, The Cult of Me, plus an excerpt. Michael is giving away one print copy internationally. Just comment to be entered to win! Ends 11/12.
Interview with Michael Brookes
Do you have one sentence of advice for new writers?
Just go for it – what’s the worst that can happen?
If you could acquire any talent, what would it be?
The ability to speak and understand ay language would be pretty cool. Just think of the possibilities that creates!
When in the day/night do you write? How long per day?
I try to write for 2 hours a day, usually at night (work still gets in the way), at the weekends it’s more like 5 or 6 hours. Like many people I sometimes wish there were more hours in the day.
Do you listen to music while writing? If so what?
Yep, I’m a big fan of listening to music while I write, for me it has to be very heavy metal, or film soundtracks. Gladiator and Black Hawk Down are favourites.
What book are you reading now?
I’m currently reading Dodger by Terry Prachett. I love his style of writing (very different from my own) and this has an interesting story – so far at any rate.
What are your favorite TV shows?
Twin Peaks and Millenium are my favourite TV shows. Twin Peak is a weirdly dark masterpiece, with some excellent characters. Agent Cooper in particular is fantastic. Millenium is another dark show, with quality writing and stand out characters, especially Frank Black himself.
Entice us, what future projects are you considering?
I’m currently finishing up a short story anthology, but then I’ll be writing another first draft as part of the National Novel Writing Month challenge during November. And then I have to edit and finish Conversations in the Abyss, the sequel to The Cult of Me.
What do you find most rewarding about writing?
For me it’s all about telling the story. If I’m happy with the story then I know it’ll be a good read for other people.
The Cult of Me Summary:
For too long he dwelt apart, watched those who passed him by.With his unique abilities he entered their minds and inflicted terrible suffering upon them. They didn’t even know who he was. The game has lasted for years, but now the game has become stale. On an impulse he decides to make a final and very public last stand. After surrendering himself to the police he enacts his plan to seize the prison for his final bloody act.
There he discovers that he’s not as unique as he once thought.
Excerpt (from The Cult of Me)
Only a few seconds passed as the priest and I stared at each other and you don’t survive long in here without knowing when something was wrong. A few of the prisoner’s started to get restless, this wasn’t the time, so I withdrew, and as I did so I felt eyes upon me. I turned to face them and saw a guard regarding me closely. He didn’t seem angry, or agitated, he just watched me intently.
He stood tall. He towered above even the impressively sized Bungle. From his bearing I guessed he was ex-forces, but it was the look that he had that gave me pause. But why should I pause? I had nothing to fear from this man, no matter his stature. So for the second time in as many minutes I invaded another person’s mind.
Instantly I noticed the contrast. The priest’s mind had been a storm of guilt and fear, this guard’s only a serene calm. His name was David Hammond and I had guessed correctly about him being ex-forces. From his memories I gleaned visions of his combat tours with the Royal Marines in far flung desert places. He had seen action and lots of it. As a sniper he dealt death from afar. The weirdest part wasn’t that he knew that I was there. It was that he didn’t mind, he looked me clean in the eye and invited me straight in.
His mind struck me as unlike anything I previously experienced. I had encountered calm people before, but usually there was an undercurrent, some inner turmoil that boiled beneath their own understanding. Not this man though, on all levels he was at peace with himself. No lingering doubts, no inner turmoil.
I don’t mind admitting that I was shocked. I have been inside many minds and this knowing acceptance was unlike anything… And there, in the centre I discovered it. I’m not sure what is was, but it was there, a solid beacon, a rock of light that anchored him.
I wanted to press closer, to peel away at this mystery, but the crowd was growing restless. All they could see was this guard, already a known entity within the prison, one of the few officers that received their respect and me, staring at each other. They could almost taste the atmosphere between us. There was a palpable tension rising, so I calmly nodded at him in acknowledgement, winked at the priest and settled back into my chair and watched him stutter his way through the service.
By day I work as a Producer for one of the leading UK independent game developers. I currently live in probably the flattest place in the world in the east of England, although over the years I have lived all over the country. I’ve always been interested in writing it is only recently that I’ve really pushed myself to finish a complete book. That effort has now seen the light of day and I’m looking forward to starting the next book. I’m also an avid reader with Ian M Banks and Terry Prachett being amongst my favourite modern authors. My favourite story of all time is Paradise Lost, a hard read, but a sublime story.
Visit Michael’s Blog and follow him on Twitter @TheCultofMe