Month: May 2015

An Interview With Poet Maggie Stringham

maggie

Maggie Stringham is a poet and blogger; here is a link to her website:

http://maggiemaeijustsaythis.com/

Q: What inspired you to start writing poetry?

A: I was young.  I had a very bad homelife and I was depressed.  I found Emily Dickinson and found that I could relate to what she was saying.  Later on, I found Nirvana.  Nirvana’s lyrics kind of made me realize that I didn’t have to write any particular way. I could write the way I wanted and still say something.  Ever since then, I haven’t stopped writing.

Q: What are some of the ideas and themes you like to write about?

A: I write about addiction, mental health problems, grieving.  I write about topics that people feel, but have trouble putting into words.  I write about experiences I have that I couldn’t express in another way.  Writing actually helps me clarify exactly what it is I am feeling.

Q: Who are some of your influences?

A: Anne Sexton, Sylvia Plath, Frederick Seidel, Henrik Ibsen. I am inspired by so many writers whether it is poetry, plays, song lyrics, etc.

Q: Why do you think addiction is such a popular theme in poetry?

A: I think because explaining what an addiction does to you is hard to describe in simple terms.  Its so complex that we need a complex description.  To describe addiction, you need to describe what it feels like, not what it is.

Q: What kind of day job (or income source)  do you have and how does it influence your writing?

A: I work as an assistant operations analyst for a bullet mfg company.  I also write SEO content for some other  companies.

Q: What kind of educational background do you have?
A: I have some University credits but I have not yet received a degree.  I’m still working on that.

Q: What are some of the things you have done to promote your blog?

A: Not a lot.  I use Facebook and Twitter.  I network with other bloggers and on fb pages, stuff like that.  I like doing interviews or features for blogs and other sites.

Q: What is the ABC Award and how does one get nominated?

A: The ABC Award is the Awesome Blog Content Award.  A nominee nominates another blogger and so on and so forth.  The idea of the blog is for bloggers to help each other drive traffic and learn more about each other in the process.

Q: What is your weirdest Vegas story?

A:   Hahahaha….Oh my gosh I don’t think I should share this. Let’s just say that if I become a more popular writer one day, then I will share some of these secrets in a book.

Q: What trends in poetry annoy you?

A: OH my gosh I could go on and on…writing that mentions other poets (total cliché), writing talking about sitting on a window sill smoking a cigarette….we get it already….people can tell when writers are writing feelings or writing words….some writers just like the idea of being a “depressed poet”…..that’s not what poetry is.  Being a poet itself is a trend….it’s a trend that takes away the experience of actually writing poetry.  It saddens me more than annoys me.

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)

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An Interview With Screenwriter Gary Dover

Gary and Carolyn Pic

Gary Dover is one half of the screenwriting team The Dovers and the author of the screenplay Combato: The Bill Underwood Story, which is currently under option with producer  Andrew (Woody) Stewart; here is a link to his Linkedin page:

https://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=108634754&authType=name&authToken=ALIi&goback=

  

Q:  What made you interested in screenwriting?

 

A: For the past 21 years I have been writing screenplays. It has been a journey similar to the one mentioned by Christopher Vogler in a “Writer’s Journey.”

I never intended to write movies, it was by sheer accident.

Years ago, I noticed an article in the Memphis Commercial Appeal that Red West had opened an actor’s studio in Bartlett. I was an environmental sales representative at that time, traveling the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico selling fume hoods to laboratories. I asked my boss if they would pay for the actor’s workshop. I felt it would give me more polish as a professional salesperson, since selling is acting, to a degree. They gave me the green light.

After meeting with Red he felt I should be in the advanced class for actors. Why? I do not know. Maybe it was due to my positive attitude or my background in selling. I will never know. I was a terrible actor! I had no range except one…I could play a “red neck” sheriff with great skill. I couldn’t remember my lines. As an actor, I shamed the profession.

During this time, I noticed that I liked reading scripts. I started tinkering around with them at home. In fact, I wrote some short scenes and presented them to Red. He liked them and told me I should pursue screenwriting. He didn’t have to say I was a horrible actor, I could see it in his eyes. To testify to that fact, Red made videos of our acting. I still have a copy of that VHS tape. Every now and then I will show it to relatives and friends as a gag. Without a doubt, everyone agrees that my acting skills were beyond horrible.

So, I delved into the world of screenwriting. I had no idea what I was doing. I joined a local writers group. I listened and learned. I camped out at Barnes and Noble to read all the books I could on screenwriting. For hours and hours I would sit and read hoping to make some sense of it all.

Finally, I took the plunge and started my first draft of a screenplay I called “CABINCONTROL” – an action story about drug dealers using souped up Mustangs to deliver marijuana across the state of Tennessee. Sort of a “Thunder Road” meets “BLOW.” I worked for hundreds of hours on that script. Like a fool, I sent it to producers and agents. It garnered over fifty reads, and fifty rejection letters. I simply wasn’t ready. My writing was not up to par. Since I was a professional salesperson, I could handle rejection. I kept on and on for years learning the craft of screenwriting. I’ve now completed ten screenplays and one sitcom.

Q: What is your process for collaborating on a screenplay?

A: Usually I come up with an idea and my wife and I kick it around. Carolyn is very good at looking at an idea and letting me know if it sounds like a worthwhile project, and whether I should spend the months required researching and developing. I do the draft and create the skeleton for the story.  Carolyn mainly edits and improves the dialogue.  You could say I’m the creative partner and my wife is the realist and brings the story back into focus. Sometimes I go off on a tangent, and Carolyn brings me back on topic.

 

Q:  Do you ever fight about it?

 

A: We basically work independent of the other. I write. She reviews and edits.  If we run into a scene that is not working we take a break and come back maybe a few days later. We look at the issue, and if it still persists, we delete the scene. If it’s not working for her, it probably will not work for the reader/audience.
Q:  What sort of day jobs to each of you have and how does it influence your writing?

A: I am a retired school teacher and my wife is disabled due to a life-long battle with Crohn’s Disease. I still teach a couple of days a week to help disadvantaged kids receive their high school diploma. I teach in the inner city of Memphis where life’s a daily struggle for its inhabitants. You would be surprised how many students are homeless or live in extreme family environments that are not conducive to learning. There are many single family parents who work two or three jobs a day to pay the bills. It’s a tough job, but also very rewarding.
Q:  Who is Bill Underwood?

 

A: He’s my wife’s grandfather. I received the rights from the Underwood family to write a biography of this forgotten and exceptional Canadian hero.

It’s a true story about a young boy who grew up rubbing shoulders with Houdini, learned the secrets of the East from the greatest Jujitsu martial artists that the West had ever seen. Bill Underwood later beat the Germans in unarmed combat – and then combined all of this to create the most ruthless method of hand to hand combat ever. His method was so effective that the government used it to train their top secret agents – but denied it even existed.

What many people don’t know is that while growing up in England at the turn of the century, Bill Underwood worked as a call boy, ushering Vaudeville stars like Harry Houdini, Will Rogers, and the great Buffalo Bill Cody onto stage. At the age of ten, Vaudeville became the turning point for a small boy who lived in the grimy slums of Liverpool and worked at grinding lenses in a smoke-filled factory during the day. It was at the Pavilion theatre where he first met jujitsu experts Yukio Tani and Tara Maki who trained this pint-sized boy into a master of martial arts.

“Combato: The Bill Underwood Story” will take you on a journey through history as a tiny boy who developed a deadly martial arts system that protected thousands of soldiers during WWII. Along the way, Bill endured many personal hardships and survived numerous encounters with death during both World Wars. At the age of seventeen, he was one of the first soldiers in WWI to experience the mustard gas attacks by the Germans. He was captured by the Germans on more than one occasion, and would use his own self-developed, deadly form of Combato to escape his captors.

In 1981 Insight Productions from Toronto produced a documentary about Bill’s life called “Don’t Mess With Bill.” This film was nominated for an Academy Award. Bill went on to appear on Johnny Carson, Mike Douglas, Real People – all the big television shows of the day.  He appeared numerous times on these shows and hundreds of people came to learn Defendo, in Toronto – his self-protection system he later developed for the general public.  Bill lived to the age of ninety and unfortunately died a pauper because too many people took advantage of his trusting heart.  The screenplay is the feature film about his earlier life and his developing of Combato, the deadly martial arts for the military.
Q:  What inspired you to write his story?

A: I was looking for my next project. I asked my new Canadian wife, Carolyn, what did she thought I should write about and she said, “Why don’t you write about my grandfather, Bill Underwood?” As I looked into the history of this amazing English/Canadian hero, I was knocked out of my socks. What an incredible life! In fact Combato: The Bill Underwood Story is only about the first half of his life. The other half is just as amazing. There is so much history that I could not fit the story into a 120 page screenplay. I had to constantly edit because his life was so full of incredible life-changing events.

Q:  Do you practice Combato?

A: No, but Carolyn was a former instructor along with her sister Janet. They both taught “Defendo” – Bill Underwood’s version of Combato that he reworked after WWII to be used by everyday citizens for self-protection.  It really is an incredible system, and he was a true pioneer in this field.  Defendo is still being taught today.
Q:  Who are some of your writing influences?

 

A: One of my first screenwriters that I became familiar with was Bill Martell. He writes action screenplays. I loved reading Jules Verne when I was a boy, and later Michael Crichton as an adult.
Q:  What do you like about the film industry?

 

A: It’s amazing a movie is ever made! The politics and business sense needed to get a script made into a film is mind boggling. I’m currently involved in two projects:  “Quarantine Island,” and “Combato: The Bill Underwood Story.”
Q:  What about it would you change?

A: The current system has been in place for quite a while. What’s the expression? “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” It all boils down to a good story. If you got a good story, and you’re VERY persistent, you can have a shot at the big time.

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)

An Interview With Actress April Walterscheid

April_3000

April Walterscheid is an actress who appears on the show Trial 20/20 and is the creator of The Vegan News; here is a link to her IMDB page:

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm6467936/

 

 

Q: What made you interested in acting?

A: When I was younger, I loved movies like The Wizard of Oz and Hook! I watched them religiously. I was really taken aback when I learned that the villains in these films were just normal, everyday adults, just like my parents. Seeing them without all that makeup on made me really consider what this whole acting thing was about, and how we can transform ourselves into something else completely different, and ghastly and menacing looking.

Q: Who are some of your acting influences?

A: That’s a tough question! It changes almost every year. I don’t Play favorites. I never do. All my life, comedic actors were the ones I admired the most and hoped to even remotely emulate one day. Comedic Actors like Mike Myers in Austin Powers and other Saturday Night Live cast members, Rowan Atkinson from the British TV Show Mr. Bean, stand-up comedians Maria Bamford and Emo Phillips, and comedic voiceover actors for cartoons. I also really admire actors who are spot on with their voice impressions of political figures and celebrities. Who doesn’t like that? So, I guess, I would have to say the biggest influence on my acting has been the comedy genre.

I find drama to be somewhat more difficult to perform. I mean, I can do it!

But the preparation for it can get too deep and put you in a bad mood for weeks if you let it. If I were to choose a recent dramatic actor who has influenced me, I would have to say Christopher Waltz. His Meisner acting method approach, how he interprets the roles, and how he hit it “big” later in life, is all really interesting to me.

Q: What is Trial 20/20 about?

A: It’s a TV show about different criminal acts in and around New York City. It’s pretty groundbreaking stuff and has never ever been done before. Haha! Just kidding. But seriously, it was created by the nicest guy ever, Abraham Doe, and what makes it different is the subject matter, I think.

I got to work on Episode 3. The story of this episode revolves around the death of someone’s pet which is  something near and dear to my heart. The Meissner actress portraying the pet’s owner (Jane Fendelman) is a good friend and does such a great job portraying the emotions of fighting for your injured (or in this case, dead) pet. Her performance gave me goosebumps!

Q: What role do you play?

A: I was a Bartender briefly in one scene, but I actually got to Help cast extras for the show! It was an awesome learning experience. I got to experience what it’s like to make quick last minute casting decisions, communicate with actors from the production side of things, and I made friends with all of them. It was cool when they were all arriving to set, I had to wrangle them up. I greeted them each by name because I already knew their faces from the headshots they had sent.

There were times when I worried we wouldn’t get extras cast for scenes that were filming in less than 48 hours, but I created flyers and went around Phoenix posting them at different coffee shops, and posted in every acting Facebook group I could find. It got the job done and then some!

Q:  What makes you want to be on Saturday Night Live?

A: As I mentioned, I love comedy. And only in recent years did I realize it’s one of my strong suits. I was always a kind of proper, obsessive-compulsively-organized, goofy kid. Kind of a weird combination, I know. Ever since I was 7-years-old,I’ve watched the show. When I turned 10, I started recording every episode onto VHS tapes every weekend. During the week, and against my parent’s rules Of having no friends over after school until my chores were done, I

invited my friends over right after school and we would perform and imitate each hilarious scene from Saturday Night Live that weekend. I was fascinated with the witty writing and how goofy all the cast members were allowed to be. I wanted to be that.

To this day, I still do want to be that. It has stuck with me for over 23 years (I’m now 30). I’ve performed short form improv for 10 years, and just recently started up my own long form improv troupe and started doing stand-up comedy as characters I’ve created in my head and on Vegan News. It all makes me think back to when I was 10 years old – I essentially created my own improv troupe at that time without realizing what I was doing. So basically, I’ve secretly wanted to be on Saturday Night Live my whole entire life just so I can be a goof.

Q: Who is your favorite SNL performer and why?

A: Damn. This is also really hard to answer. I think of it in terms Of decade. Almost everyone on that show is very good in their own strange way, so it’s unfair to pick JUST ONE to rule them all.  So for the 1970s, I choose: Gilda Radner. The 1980s: Dana Carvey. The 1990s: Ana Gasteyer. The 2000s, so far, it’s a huge tie between: Bill Hader, Will Forte, Kristen Wiig, Taran Killam, and Kate McKinnon. I won’t say why, just watch all the episodes that have ever existed, and draw your own conclusions! I’m sure my favorites are no different than anyone else’s.

Q:  What inspired you to create Vegan News?

A: I was really just sick of the news. I don’t watch the news, but the reason I don’t watch it is because — I’m freaking sick of it! It really just brings you down and makes you obsess over things that have a 1 in a billion chance of actually happening. And I loved Saturday Night Live’s Weekend Update growing up, so I created my own news show based on a subject I’m passionate about! (Veganism!) Most of the new stories are real, but twisted and exaggerated a bit, and some of the stories are fabricated and based on my own wishes for the future of humanity. I think it’s my little way of making the world more “aware” somehow, and keeping it interesting at the same time. (You can watch Vegan News here:

https://www.youtube.com/user/aprilwalterscheid/playlists)

Q: What kind of day job do you have?

A: I currently work part-time for an extremely-extremely popular, international company that helps customers pay for things securely online. Unfortunately, I cannot disclose their name, but it pays very nicely with full benefits, 401k, stock options, and other advantages. It helps me do what I want to do outside of work and survive on my own. I’m so fortunate and grateful.

But I’m not the kind of girl who wants to work at a desk job for the rest of her life and have 60 plaques on her wall that say “Employee of the Month!” so I do other things. I help out on film sets, brand ambassador, write sketches, bake vegan gluten-free donuts, bake vegan pizzas, and take art commissions to change things up and make ends meet. I need to have an interesting life by doing things that scare me or I feel dead.

Q:  Why Mesa and not Los Angeles?

A: Well, get ready for a long story. I was born in Phoenix, Arizona. When I was 5-years-old, my parent’s moved to Mesa and that’s where I stayed! I’ll be honest, for the longest time, I didn’t know where I was going in life. I was much more random and aimless than I am now. I thought I would always just stay in Mesa for the rest of my life, and was actually pretty hell-bent on just staying here. I went through so many different phases here, like some sort of love affair. I had always dabbled in acting and music ever since 2nd grade, so I started doing tons of stage acting at Mesa Community College then suddenly just stopped. Then I transitioned straight into doing music (and art photography) again. I started getting really good at piano and guitar, performing at open mic nights then just suddenly STOPPED. It was pretty sad and I felt haunted and heartbroken a little bit. I felt REALLY guilty for being unfocused. I probably even started subliminally blaming my quirky, sleepy town of Mesa for de-motivating me, and my family or how I was raised or something. Luckily, I soon realized I loved the theatrics and writing side of the entertainment industry thee absolute MOST, and that whatever I had done in music (and photography) could carry over into the acting and writing world too! I also finally moved out of my parent’s house at

28-years-old, so that helped a lot too. It made a world of difference to be on my own completely. I got a lot happier real-quick. Suffice to say, I don’t feel guilty whatsoever anymore, and now I’m totally open to moving to Los Angeles, or wherever there is film or comedy work! Yay! I’m currently working on a comedy TV show based on this experience as well. There is so much material there that I think everyone can relate to.

Q: If you could change something about Hollywood, what would it be?

A: It would be a few things. Some of them include unwanted egos on set; scam agents giving legitimate agents a bad name; mistreatment of animals and insects (yes, even insects feel!); more opportunities for actors of different shapes, sizes, and race; taking more chances on off-the-wall ideas from filmmakers and writers; less ‘woe is me’ type mentalities (I see this mostly from fellow actors on Facebook); and for the love of life—more vegan options at craft service, please! Like, cheap vegan donuts or something. They do exist, and they are DELCIOUS, you just have to ask around.

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)

An Interview With Actor Willie Lee Page Smith

will

Willie Lee Page Smith is an actor who appears in the series Judge Karen; here is a link to his Backstage page:

 https://www.backstage.com/williesmith/

 


Q:
 When did you know you were an actor?

A: The moment I knew I was an actor/entertainer was when my family use to have talent shows and I would get a thrill from doing it. Knowing that I can transform myself into another person/ character gives me so much excitement that I can’t explain into words

.

Q: What kind of day job do you have and how does it affect your ability to pursue acting?

A: The type of day job I work for is lyft and deliv, which does not affect my career due to making my own schedule. I can come and go as I please.

Q: What is Judge Karen about?

A: Judge Karen Mills‑Francis, a former Miami‑Dade County judge, rules on small claims court cases in this  syndicated series

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Q:  What role do you play?

A:  The role on Judge Karen I played the character of Julius Sanders who was the plaintiff in the episode of Stiletto Kicked. Julius was more outspoken than his brother and also didn’t like his brother girlfriend. My character sued his brother girlfriend for kicking his car with a stiletto that caused damages..

Q: To what method of acting do you ascribe?

A:  The acting method I say that i use I called the Stanislavski’s system, also known as Stanislavski’s method. Basically I like to draw my own feelings and experiences to connect with the character they are portraying. It’s much easier for me to put my mindset of the character finding things in common in order to give a more genuine portrayal of the character I’m playing.

Q:  What makes you fameworthy?

A: What makes me fame worthy is that i put in the time and work to achieve 6 greatness. Also learning new styles and methods to perfect the craft. Also keeping my faith alive.

Q:  What is your oddest Hollywood story?

A:  As of right now I don’t have a weird Hollywood story yet. Lol

Q:  What famous role could you have nailed and why?

A:  The role I can nail is Curtis Taylor Jr from Dreamgirls and The Black Panther from the comic books.. Curtis Taylor Jr from Dreamgirls because I love musicals for one and he was the bad. For some strange reason I’m always casted as he bad guy. Playing a bad guy so much fun to play especially when you don’t act like that in real life. Also the The Black Panther because I love action movies and I’m an athletic person. With this role I will be able to put athletic skills to the test.

Q:  What do you do to fight nerves during an audition?

A:  When at an audition I’m actually doing breathing exercises and praying.. I breathe to calm because I’m actually big ball of energy and energy can easily shoot down your audition.. One thing you don’t want to do is read to fast that casting director don’t know what your saying..

Q:  What is next for you?

A: I have a few projects coming up. I will be back in stage play, also have a few web series I will be staring in, and working on my music as well.

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)

An Interview With Casting Director Desiree Mandelbaum

mandel

Desiree Mandelbaum is a supervising casting director at NBC Peacock Productions; here is a link to her Linkedin page:

https://www.linkedin.com/pub/desiree-mandelbaum/9/993/3b3

 

Q: How did you become a casting director?

A:  I answered a craigslist add 10 years ago. MTV was looking for casting recruiters in the LA area, as someone who grew up in LA they hired me on the spot..  I loved it, stuck with it, and worked every day so I hit double my quota..

Q: What kind of educational background do you have?

A: High School. I am a beauty school dropout..

Q:  What is the weirdest thing you have ever seen anyone do during an audition?

A: A 21 year old male one shit his pants in the middle of his slate. (a slate is when someone  introduces  them self)

Q:  What are some common mistakes people make when auditioning?

A: Not talking.. I hate when i watch raw footage, and I hear my voice more then theirs.

Q:  What makes for a compelling reality show participant?

A: Someone who is not afraid to be 100% themselves on and off camera. I love when potential cast members have high energy

Q:  Is reality TV a good idea for an aspiring actor?

A:  Every situation is different.. Look at Jennifer Hudson.

Q:  How has reality television changed over the course of the last five years?

A: I think reality tv has gotten smarter, and little less intrusive. Docu-reality is more accepted..

Q:  If you could change one thing about Hollywood what would it be?

A: I am a fan of the awkward underdog.. I would love to see more movies with no name actors.

Q:  Have Lena Dunham and Amy Schumer changed things for average looking women from a casting director’s perspective?

A:  I cant answer for other CD’s, but I have always loved a funny girl, Both of those two are beautiful to me..

Q:  The two of us end up taking a road trip as an unexpected result of this interview! Who plays us in the movie?

A: I would be Ira Glass and you would be Sara Koenig.

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)

An Interview With Actor Jr Rodriguez

Jr head shot

Jr Rodriguez is an aspiring actor who appears in the film Lloyd the Ugly Kid; here is a link to his Twitter account:

Https://twitter.com/jrdagodson68

 

Q: What made you interested in acting?

A:  I have been interested in acting since I was a kid Ive always been drawn to performing when I was little I  was always good at reciting lines from movies an doing the different voices

Q: Who are some of your acting influences?
A:  my acting influences definitely Leonardo DiCaprio they way he takes on a character he really studies them an takes them on an also Matt Damon two of my favorite movies good will hunting an Rounders

Q: What kind of training have you had?

A:  I have done acting classes at John Robert Powers John Casablanca’s ipop growing up I went to the academy of arts San Francisco for on screen acting also improv an theater acting

Q: To what method of acting do you ascribe?
A:   i can play any role really I feel I dont wanna ever be type cast lol I feel I can do comedy, drama an action I would love to be a action hero I don’t take on different roles an challenges in my career

Q: What kind of day job do you have and how do you use it in your acting?
A:  I am a personal fitness trainer I feel that meeting different people an personalities helps  a great deal in acting helps with not being shy an being able to talk to people opens up your personality.

Q: What is Lloyd the Ugly Kid about?
A:  Lloyd the Ugly Kid is about a middle school kid having trouble fitting in because he doesn’t know who he is so he tries to be all kinds of different personalities to fit in but it doesn’t work its a fun kids movies

Q: What is your weirdest auditioning story?
A:  my weirdest audition I would say was for a movie I didn’t get I was running late the casting director was running late when I got in the room they were all screwed up they were suppose to be have lines for me they couldn’t find the script so they kinda just improved something an it was the worst they were so  un organized

Q: We are going to see you in some upcoming commercials; what products will they advertise?
A:  Yes sometime this summer i have a commercial being released Wizards of Waverly place I’m also gonna start filming my first lead role feature film called 100 blocks about a massacre that happened in Oakland California in 1999 were two cops died can’t wait for that

Q: What do you like about Los Angeles?
A:  LA is great I love the atmisfear I love the beaches I love to go walk around the beach

Q: What would you change about it?
A:  I wouldn’t change nothing about la its great the way it is its own little world different than anywhere else its great I love it maybe just hate the traffic lol I would change that less cars if I could lol
Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)

An Interview With Writer Michael Pang

michael

Michael Pang is the author of In The Eyes Of Madness; here is a link to his website:

 

http://www.intheeyesofmadness.com/

 

Q: What is In The Eyes Of Madness about?

A: IN THE EYES OF MADNESS is a Young Adult Paranormal Urban Fantasy by Michael Pang. It tells the story of a 17 year old boy who struggles between accepting the possiblity that extraordinary things can happen in the world we live in or the possiblity of impending insanity inherited through his mother. It is a journey of self discovery and embracing who you are.

Q: What gave you the idea for the story?

A: The idea for the novel came to me in a dream one night. I was surprised to be able to get into a deep enough sleep to dream. We (my wife and I) were new parents and our newborn was only a couple months old. What that meant was that we barely slept! So, it was kind of a miracle for me to even have such a vivid and amazing dream (or nightmare, I couldn’t really decide). When I woke from it, I tried going back to sleep, but it was no use. I couldn’t get the dream to continue. In the morning, I told my wife all about the dream and we decided that it made a good book idea. I was desperate to find out what happens in the end, but since I couldn’t get the dream to continue, I decided that I’d just have to write the rest of it myself.

Q: Why is Declan Peters a character worth reading about?

A: Declan goes through a transformation in the book that frees him from all the baggage that he’s been carrying around for 10 years.    I’m sure that there is always something about yourself that you are self conscious of or you don’t like (whether it is something that has happened in your past or something about yourself physically).   And sometimes, you can get obsessed about it so much that it consumes you. But learning to like yourself for who you are and how you got there is probably one of the most freeing experiences of your life.

Q: What personal experiences did you draw from in writing the book?

A: Some of the insecurities that Declan has throughout the book were derived from some of the insecurities that I had myself as a teenager.  And also the way that Declan’s heart glows whenever the love of his life is around, is a pretty close portrayal of how I feel about my wife.

Q: Who are some of your literary influences?

A: I’m a big paranormal fiction fan. A few of my favorite writers are Jim Butcher, Simon R. Green, Cassandra Clare, and Rick Riordan. Jim Butcher has definitely influenced some of the ways I write my fight scenes in the book as his books are always so packed with supernatural action.  And Simon R. Green always has such witty characters that are very unique.  And Cassandra Clare and Rick Riordan simply have a way of creating a world that draws you in.  These are all amazing writers and I really hope that one day I can attain their level of excellence

Q: What kind of day job do you have and how does it influence your writing?

A: Well, my career actually went through quite a bit of changes during the timeframe when I was writing the book.  I was a Senior Mechanical Engineer managing R&D projects in the Gas Turbine industry when I started writing the book, and  had a job change to Project Engineer managing service projects in the Wind Turbine industry.  Finally, when I had finished the book, I became an IT Project Manager.  I guess these transitions helped me develop a lot the of the characters in my book.  When I working in the Turbine industries, I had a chance to travel a lot and it allowed me to meet all kinds of people with different backgrounds.  This inspired me to create a good set of unique and diverse characters.

Q: Does having a background in IT help you in promoting your book?

A: I feel that in today’s society, practically everything is moving into the virtual world.  A majority of book promotions nowadays are done through Social Media. Although, I’m currently in the IT industry, I actually only got a Twitter account a couple weeks ago and I’m still wondering “what…how do I do…?”  And I’m realizing what hard work it really is to keep up with Social Media.  People who are posting all the time, amazes me.  I tried to keep up with Facebook and twitter one day, and I was like “this needs to be a full time job…”

A: What is your weirdest San Francisco story?

Actually, I can’t really remember too much about San Francisco because I was so young; however, the weirdest story my family told was about the house we were living in.  They were all convinced that the house was haunted and whatever lived there was set on breaking up our family.  We only lived there for a couple months; thank God!  But I don’t really remember any of it.

A: Do you think you have to write books in series to be successful nowadays?

No, I don’t think that is necessary.  However, I enjoy a book series because you get a better chance of seeing how the characters grow and become very dynamic.  Also, I love and hate the anticipation of finding out more of the plot while waiting for the next book to come out.
Q: Why do you think stories about paranormal activities are so popular?

A: I think that people are always going to be interested in things that they don’t really understand.  We are a very curious specie.  Whatever we can’t see and touch daily, makes us ponder and sparks our imagination.

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)