Michael G. Munz is today's interviewed author on One Thousand Worlds. An award-winning writer of speculative fiction, Munz was born in Pennsylvania but moved to Washington State at the age of three. Unable to escape the state's gravity, he has spent most of his life there and studied writing at the University of Washington.
Developing his creative bug in college, he wrote and filmed four amateur films before setting his sights on becoming a novelist. Driving this goal is the desire to tell entertaining stories and give to others the same pleasure with those stories as other writers have given to him. He enjoys writing tales that combine the modern world with the futuristic or fantastic.
Munz has traveled to three continents, and has an interest in Celtic and Greco-Roman mythology. He resides in Seattle where he continues his quest to write the most entertaining novel known to humankind and find a really fantastic clam linguini.
Tell us about your latest book.
The latest one I've written, or the latest one I've published? Let's go with the latter! It's called A Memory in the Black, and it's a sci-fi thriller set in the mid-21st century. On the surface, it's about a struggle between various groups to control an alien spacecraft found buried in a lunar crater, but on the character and thematic side it deals with the power of our memories to affect who we are and how we behave. Different characters explore that theme in different ways: One is forced to reconnect with a dangerous ex-mentor he thought he'd kicked out of his life, another is haunted by a tragedy she alone survived, and others are driven to extremes in the wake of a murdered man's memory. Memory brings these separate threads together in different ways to affect the outcome of the story. While it is the second book in the series, with some characters and events having been introduced in book one, its story and character arcs can be experienced without having read the first book.
How many books have you written?
I've written four novels. Two of these, both science fiction, are published as the first two books of my New Aeneid Cycle: the aforementioned A Memory in the Black, and its predecessor, A Shadow in the Flames. The others, both of which are flavors of contemporary fantasy, I am currently pitching to agents and publishers. I've also released in ebook form a trio of comedic short stories about characters from Greek mythology interacting with the modern world called Mythed Connections.
What are you working on at the moment?
I'm working on the third book in the New Aeneid Cycle, the working title of which is A Dragon at the Gate. I'd put this series on the back burner for a couple of years while I took a break from writing sci-fi, so I'm having a great time getting re-acquainted with the characters after releasing A Memory in the Black (long after it was actually completed) last August.
What are the most important attributes to remaining sane as a writer?
Wait, what? Remaining sane? I think I have to be just a little insane to spend my free time toiling away at fictional worlds, so I think actual sanity would only be a hindrance. Besides, insanity is far more inspiring and fun!
If you could meet any of your own characters, who would it be?
I'm terrible at choosing just one, but I think I'd have to say Thalia. She's from my not-quite-yet-published novel Murdering Zeus for Fun and Prophet, which is a comedic contemporary fantasy about the Greek gods returning to our world after Zeus gets assassinated. Thalia is the muse of comedy and science fiction (the nine Muses had to take on new duties with all of the modern genres): smart, geeky, cheerful, and awesome. She's a blast to write because everything she says is pure stream of geeky-consciousness with the confidence of someone with a half-dozen millennia under her belt. It's entirely possible that talking to her in person would drive me insane, but it'd be worth it just for how meta the process would be of talking to a muse who is also a character that I've brought to life.
Do you have a favourite character among the ones you've invented?
Again, I'm terrible at picking favourites, but Felix Hiatt, from the New Aeneid Cycle, is certainly among the top. He tends to deal with stress through humor, even at inappropriate times, so when I'm writing him I can usually just stop filtering all the odd, goofy thoughts that pop into my head and let them come out of his mouth. It gets him into trouble at times, but he's usually pretty good-natured about it. He's also a pretty darned nice guy. Of all the characters I've written, readers seem to like Felix the most. Plus he has the memories of a seventy year-old man implanted into his brain, so that's got all sorts of implications for me to work with, both serious and not so serious.
If you could trade places with any other person for a week, famous or not famous, living or dead, real or fictional, with whom would it be?
I'd trade with one of the tenth Doctor's companions (Doctor Who), but during one of the times between episodes when they're NOT actively being chased by Daleks or Cybermen or militant rhinocerous-folk. That way I've got a time machine and can use the week to pick all sorts of places to go.
What do you think about when you are alone in your car?
My mind tends to wander and my imagination starts to play. I might try to figure the details of whatever creative project I've got on my plate. I might try to come up with something funny to tweet (after I'm done driving). I might just riff to myself on things I see, songs/ads on the radio, or just random thoughts that pop into my head. If I'm lucky, I'll even get an idea for something new to write!
Oh, and at some point I think about the road and making sure I don't plow through a building. That's important, too.
What song best describes your work ethic?
I don't know that it describes my work ethic, but I have sometimes related to Sarah McLachlan's "Building a Mystery" in the sense that when I'm writing it can feel like I'm painstakingly crafting something in secret designed to capture an eventual reader's imagination and lead them, sentence by sentence, into a place of my own weird creation. It's entirely possible I've missed the point of that song, but if I have, I don't want anyone to correct me. ;)
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