Matt Mikalatos - Author Interview
I had the wonderful pleasure of meeting Matt Mikalatos in person before he released The Crescent Stone! We have kept in touch and I’m so excited to announce the release of his next fantasy book! (Read to the end to find its title and release date!)
Author of The Crescent Stone (and a whole heap of others) Genre: YA Fantasy
1) What inspired you to write?
I’ve loved stories ever since I was a kid. I wanted to be an actor through high school, but when I got into college I started writing instead and realized I really loved the freedom of making my own words and stories. It took off from there!
2) What was the hardest scene/post you ever had to write? What was the easiest?
I think the things that are hardest for me to write are questions about my favorite and least favorite things! Hahahahaha. I say something and then ten minutes I’m like, “WAIT I JUST REMEMBERED ANOTHER THING!” Oftentimes the last scene of a novel is easiest for me… sometimes I even know the last line of the book before I start seriously writing. The whole book should be working up to that moment, so you have so much information and such a large pattern to work from, it makes it easier.
Hmmm… actually, my second novel I had a really hard time getting it started. I wrote eight chapters, realized I had the wrong start and the wrong characters and then I tore it all apart, threw that away, and started over!
3) How do you select the names of your characters?
The Crescent Stone is interesting, because the human characters are pretty diverse, coming from different nations, cultures, and ethnicities. So I do a good amount of research usually, and I have some friends who read and give me feedback, too. For instance, some of my Native friends told me the name of one character was too stereotypical, so I changed his name. The other thing I do a lot of times is come up with a name and then — I am ashamed to admit it — I search Facebook and see if any real life people have that name. If they do, I take that to be a good sign that it’s a realistic name!
4) While writing, did the story go as planned or did it take a turn you didn’t expect?
With The Crescent Stone, I knew certain scenes, but I didn’t know some of the steps along the way. And… well, there’s this one character named Jason Wu who always tells the truth no matter what. So sometimes I would have a plan for a scene and then Jason would open his big mouth and tell the bad guys what was going on. Or he would reveal a secret to someone. Most often if something goes in unexpected directions it’s because the characters do something I wasn’t planning on. There are definitely times when they are fighting me or the plot. I’ve been frustrated with Jason more than once. He literally outsmarted me in the second book, and figured out a solution to a problem that was supposed to take him three chapters of adventure to get to the end of, and he just unraveled it in a couple sentences. I love those moments because they bring a truthfulness to the text, and of course it’s delightful as the author to have some surprises along the way.
5) Are you proud with the work you’ve done or do you wish you could’ve done more?
Super proud. I really did my best on this book. My editor, Sarah Rubio, was a big part of this… she has a way of taking what I thought was good work and bringing out something great.
6) If you could live in one literary universe, what would it be and why?
I’d be pretty happy in a superhero universe, I think. I want super powers! I was going to say Harry Potter but all that schooling to get powers that superheroes get for nothing!
7) Do you find it hard to keep your Faith in your writing career?
Not so far! I’ve found that other Christian writers are supportive and kind (mostly), and that my writer friends who are not Christians are also caring and supportive. If you’re running with the right people, the professional writer community is quite friendly and really wants you to succeed. My writing career mostly brings me happiness and good feelings… it’s other parts of my life that are challenging sometimes!
8) What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
I know everyone hates when authors say this, but it’s really the best possible advice which is why we always say the same thing:
Read voraciously and write consistently.
The more you read and the more you write the better you will be as a writer. And don’t read garbage. Try to read books that, for the most part, are written by people who are as good or better than you. If you read a terrible book, do it with clear intent (i.e. “Why did this become a bestseller?” or “How did this get published?”). Keep reading, keep writing, and then submit your work to professionals (agents, magazines, publishers). Keep doing those three things and you’ll be traditionally published eventually.
The second book in ‘The Sunlit Land’ series is going to be released AUGUST 6TH! It’s called ‘The Heartwood Crown’ and its cover is just as gorgeous of the first and its story just as compelling!
About: After destroying the Crescent Stone, Madeline returns home, bringing Shula and Yenil with her. As her health continues to deteriorate, Madeline feels the Sunlit Lands calling her back. Meanwhile, Jason, Darius, and the rest of the inhabitants of the Sunlit Lands fight for survival and freedom. The magic that fuels the land is failing, threatening to destroy them all. Will Madeline’s return save the land and its people? Matt’s signature humor and epic storytelling are once again on full display in The Heartwood Crown.
To learn more about Matt Mikalatos and his books (and to get ‘The Heartwood Crown’ on August 6th), visit his website (www.mikalatos.com)