So I have been reading a new book lately. It’s called Zeus is Dead : A Monstrously Inconvenient Adventure by author Michael Munz. And guess what? He let me interview him!! I am not finished reading YET. BUT Boy will I finish! So sit back and grab some snacks, a star wars blanket, coffee, anything really.
Christina: What’s your current project? Tell us a little about it.
Michael: I’m finishing up the third and final novel in my sci-fi series The New Aeneid Cycle, which is set in the year 2051. Cybernetics abound, humanity is beginning to self-destruct, and something alien has been discovered on the moon. I guess you could call it post-cyberpunk. The series itself centers primarily on a man named Michael Flynn (I stole the name from an ancestor of mine who was on the U.S.S. Maine when it exploded) and his experience with a global conspiracy that is trying to leave the rest of humanity behind and colonize a new planet. Along the way there are vigilante arsonists, cybernetic mercenaries, memory experiments, assassinations, alien artificial intelligences, and a quirky guy named Felix.
C: What has been your favorite scene to write so far?
M: In A Dragon at the Gate? I think it was the introduction of a character named Jade, who’s new for the third book. She’s a female mercenary with a penchant for stylish cybernetics and a snarky sense of humor. She keeps another character on his toes, and (hopefully) provides the reader with a smirk or two where the narrative needs it—especially since another character who provided that previously is currently, um, indisposed.
C: Who or what has inspired your writing?
M : My biggest influences have probably been Dan Simmons, Terry Brooks, and Douglas Adams. Adams’s influence isn’t really visible much in my sci-fi writing (with the possible exception of the character of Felix), but played a part when I wrote Zeus Is Dead: A Monstrously Inconvenient Adventure, which is a comedic fantasy set in a version of our world where reality TV heroes slay actual monsters and the gods have their own Twitter feeds.
C: What is your biggest goal with your writing?
M: Honestly? To entertain as many people with my writing as possible. Granted, I’d also love to be very financially successful, but the one hopefully leads to the other, so…
C: Do you have any pre-writing rituals?
M: Nothing specific. I’ve been thinking it would help my brain if I did ten minutes of meditation before writing, but so far I haven’t had that sort of discipline. The only main ritual I’ve developed is the consumption of caffeine.
Er, don’t do drugs, kids.
C: What is the weirdest location you’ve ever written at?
M: Let me ponder that one. Okay, I’m done pondering. I don’t remember ever having written in too many weird locations. (If I’m at a weird location, I’m usually doing other things.) But I did once write a little bit sitting on the Thames in London across from Parliament. It wasn’t not weird, but it was cool.
C: How do you handle writer’s block?
M: Lots of screaming. …Well, okay, probably not usually that. But a lot of times when I get writer’s block it’s due to a lack of preparation. It helps to take stock and look at what I’m about to write. Do I even know what that is? Do I need to plan out any action scenes or refresh myself with how the characters in the scene are feeling? Or am I just getting burned out? Sometimes a break is needed, after all.
C: Are you a pantser or a plotter?
M: In most cases, the latter. I need to plan the big picture so I know where I’m going. I don’t like the idea of writing myself into a corner, so planning things out ahead of time helps me avoid that. I don’t plan everything, of course. Characters can still surprise me as I’m writing, and I’m not afraid to stray from the plan if it feels right. But I like to front-load a lot of the effort.
C: What do you like best about writing scifi?
M: The freedom to imagine. I like high-concept stuff, and after spending most of my day living in the real world, it’s fun to explore things that can’t happen (or can’t yet happen) in the real world. Sci-fi lets me do that. Would you have someone else’s memories downloaded into your brain? How would people react to the chance to explore a derelict alien spacecraft for the first time? What would it be like to have cybernetic eyes that flash when you’re angry? It’s a playground.
C: Is there another genre you have tried writing?
M: I’ve also spent some time writing fantasy. I’ve written two novels, one of which is the aforementioned comedic fantasy Zeus Is Dead. (By the way, “aforementioned” is a fantastic word, folks.) People seem to think I do it reasonably well, since ZID was a finalist in the 2015 Independent Author Book of the Year Awards, and a won a bronze medal in the 2015 Readers’ Favorite Book Awards! The other book is currently unpublished, and is more serious, but also takes place in the modern world. I do hope to have that one published at some point in the future…
C: Is there any talent or skill you wish you were better at within the writing/publishing process?
M: Marketing. It’s not my strong suit. I’m generally a modest, quiet, sometimes even shy person. (You mean I have to TELL people about my books? I have to TALK to people?! AAAAAHHHH!!!) 🙂
C: Have your parents read your work?
M: Yep! I don’t let them read anything until it’s finished, though. They’re really supportive (and I’m lucky to have them behind me—Zeus Is Dead is dedicated to them, in fact), but I have trouble letting myself take their praise of my writing seriously, since if I let myself see my own writing through their loving eyes, I’d get a REALLY huge ego.
C: What scares you the most?
M: Brussel sprouts. Aerosol cheese. Earthquakes. The idea of a Trump presidency. Cats with access to weapons-grade catnip.
C: When did you start to feel like an author?
M: Technically, I was an author the moment I started writing my first book, but I didn’t really feel like an author until I’d finished writing that book. Then I self-published it, and really felt like an author. And then I heard from people who liked it and I REALLY felt like an author. And then an indie publisher told me they wanted to publish Zeus Is Dead and I DEFINITELY felt like an author! And then— Well, you get the idea.
C: What’s next for you?
Dinner, probably. Or do you mean writing-wise? After I get A Dragon at the Gate complete, I’ll be focusing on writing the follow-up to Zeus Is Dead. There’s a good chance it’ll be called Zeus Is Undead and involve at least some manner of zombie apocalypse. But we’ll see. If you’re really curious, stop by my website, follow me on Twitter or Facebook, or sign up for my newsletter! (The newsletter even gets you a free short-story collection.)
Grab these awesome books by Michael Munz today!
Thank you so much for the interview and the time! 🙂 Now back to Zeus is Dead for me!