Author Interview: Michael Paul Scott

Michael Paul Scott

1. We’ll skip the “tell us about yourself” because coming up with something on the spot is, truly, the bane of an author’s existence. So, let’s start with something a little easier! Tell me what you’re working on at the moment.

I am excited to say that I am wading ankles-deep in the work-in-progress sequel to my debut novel: Freewilds – The Cult & the Constable. The title is still undecided, but I am leaning toward Freewilds – The Lost & the Faithful

2. In as much detail as you would like, tell me about your book(s) that are already out/on the way.

My first ever novel, Freewilds – The Cult & the Constable, is a detective noir mystery set in an original dark fantasy world with elements of horror. It follows Lukarde Alfans, a brilliant detective whose investigations into a string of horrific murders led him to become the next target of the perpetrators of these horrid acts, the Cult of Ebon. Framed for murder and forced into exile, Lukarde travels across treacherous lands and storm-ravaged seas to the Freewilds, a region long ago declared forbidden. There, the former constable seeks answers and evidence, a fresh start, and relief from the terrors that plague his traumatized mind whenever he closes his eyes.

The sequel is still in the works, but I can reveal that it picks up about a year after the events of the first novel, building upon the suspense and intrigue, and focusing upon a tormented anti-heroic protagonist of shattered faith and dubious motives.

3. As far as the writing process goes—including such things as conception of idea all the way through to money in the bank—what is the least favourite bit? (Everyone has one!)

God… this part, if I’m honest with myself. I am trying to embrace the marketing, advertisement, and publicity-based aspects of being a self-published author, but for me, writing the novel was the best fun I’ve had in… maybe ever. Challenging, yes, and harrowing at times when I experienced a few dreadful bouts of writer’s block… but incredibly rewarding. I am hopeful that in due time, I will come to find the business aspects of all this just as exhilarating and fulfilling.

4. Conversely, what is the bit of the writing process that gets your writery brain grinning?

When I hit a stride. I had a fourteen-hour marathon writing day at one point while working on the first draft of Freewilds – The Cult & the Constable, and I clocked nearly 18,000 words, most of which survived all the way through to the final draft. If only I could have bottled that energy, drive, and inspiration so I could take a sip or two when things slowed to a crawl!

5. If you could steal any author’s ability to improve your own work, who would you steal from and why? (e.g. Tolkien’s language skills, Douglas Adams’ humour, etc.)

Can I choose two? I’m going to assume I can choose two. Stephen King for his tenacity and ability to produce quality work quickly and efficiently… and Tom Clancy for his ability to research and master his subject matter so well.

6. Now for some fun! The main character of the book you’re working on (or have recently finished) has kidnapped you for ruining their life. How will you explain that what you’re doing is for the best?

I won’t lie to you; things are going to get worse before they get better, Lukarde… but you chose the exact wrong time to do this, man. One of these days, if the stars align and the Divines smile upon us both… your story will entertain and inspire so many people, and I will be so proud of us both when, and if, that time ever comes.

7. You, your main character(s), and the protagonist of the last book you read are playing poker. What are the stakes? Who will win and why?

So, it’s me, Lukarde Alfans, and Neer from H.C. Newell’s Curse of the Fallen are enjoying a game of poker…

I can’t claim to have the best poker face, so I would fold and leave it to the two of them. Neer is a daring soul who isn’t averse to taking risks, so long as those risks don’t involve endangering her friends. I can’t imagine she would have a problem going all-in if she got a strong enough hand… but I also think that unlike his creator, Lukarde Alfans would have a quite effective poker face. No offense, Nerana… but I think Lukarde’s ability to bluff would win out in the end. (Also, read Curse of the Fallen! It’s pretty great, in my humblest of opinions).

8. Let’s face it, writing is hard. What do you think are some traps to avoid in your particular area of expertise? (Whether that be your genre, your knowledge of plot, your character building, your world building, etc.)

Being too derivative, firstly. There is so much out there in the fantasy genre, and I think I inoculated myself a bit from this issue by blending dark fantasy with a detective protagonist and some police-procedural flavour.

Secondly, a writer should be bold and take chances… but it is so easy when writing horror to stray from unsettling and creepy into gratuitous and revolting, so including such aspects in my fantasy detective story required a deft and delicate approach at times.

Finally, there is a fine line between trusting the reader to piece things together and painting with too broad a brush and leaving too much to chance when it comes to building an effective mystery. Just as important as show, don’t tell is show enough… but not so much that it all becomes too obvious or insulting to the reader’s intelligence.

9. Anything else you’d like to add? Plots to take over the world, for example. Upcoming release dates, links and things, maybe even your favourite chocolate cake recipe.

Well, how about I inundate you with links to my social media, places to buy my book, my podcast, and sure, I have a great recipe to share as well!

A Not-half-bad Chocolate Cake Recipe

2 cups sugar

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup of cocoa

2 teaspoons of baking soda

1 teaspoon of baking powder

1 teaspoon of salt

1 packet of single-serving hot cocoa mix

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 large eggs, room temperature

1 cup of orange pekoe tea (brew with three teabags, at least, more if you’re daring!)

1 cup buttermilk

3/4 cup canola oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

Combine all the dry ingredients, then add all the wet ingredients, then add the wet ingredients. Beat for a few minutes on medium and pour into a buttered bundt pan. Bake at 350° for 45 minutes. Cool for a bit (but not too long, because bundt pans can be a pain if the cake gets too comfy in there) before you dump the cake out of the bundt pan. Apply vanilla bean ice cream and devour before anyone’s the wiser. Serves 1. (I kid… kinda).