Romanceaholic Presents 2nd Issue - Page 19

Author T. Mike McCurley

Do you ever use someone in your life as a sounding board for ideas or do you prefer to work alone?

I have been known now and again to send a message to someone and ask, “Just how weird does this sound?” Of course, the higher the rating they give me, the more likely I am to run with it. Drunk biker wizard and troll attorney girlfriend fight gargoyles got me some good ratings on the scale, by the way.

How much research do you do for your books?

That’s setting-dependent. For Jericho Sims, I did a lot of research on the American Old West, and then promptly determined how to break all the setting guidelines I had just read. I have an upcoming tale that involves me taking a more in-depth look at motorcycles just so I can get the terminology correct. As I move more into relationship-based stories, I’m looking more into psychology and romantic interaction and reading up on those as well.

Did you learn anything while writing your book(s)?

I did! New depths of history, variants of magical theory, and interpersonal relations study add up. I always felt that if I don’t learn something every day, then I’ve wasted that particular day.

What would be your next best choice if not writing as a career?

I always thought it would be cool to be one of those dudes who goes rolling all over the country trying barbecue and reviewing it. I do love me some ribs! That, or possibly a cybernetically-enhanced pirate with a tiny clockwork parrot on my shoulder. Because the outfit would be so sexy, right? Shiny leather with brass accents. High boots. Puffy sleeves. Gleaming chrome arm with some kind of cool pulsing LEDs. So, yeah. I’m going with the pirate thing. Arr!

When writing, do you have a process?

Nah. I didn’t even have one when I answered these questions. Maybe I should. Anyone have any suggestions? I’ll take ‘em! I try to formulate a plan, but then it all goes out the window when the characters start interacting, and before I know it, they’ve run away with my story and I’m looking at it and wondering when I thought it was a good plan to have sword-wielding Sasquatches holding off an alien invasion on Dia de Los Muertos.

Do you have any advice for new authors looking to make their own literary statement?

Absolutely! Don’t take my advice! Truly, though: number one is READ. Read things you never thought you would. Many, many years ago, if you had handed me a romance novel I would have laughed in your face. Now I have dozens in my list, both TBR and completed. You learn a lot by reading outside your norm. Secondly, I’ll say, “Don’t be afraid to experiment.” Much like the reading thing, write outside your comfort zone. Worst case, you wind up with a folder full of things you’re not comfortable with just yet (Gee, I wonder if I have one or more of those laying around…). For my final bit, I will tie into that last: Don’t throw anything away. Even if you don’t like it right now, the scene you wrote may be the perfect thing three books down the line if you just tweak it a bit. Cannibalize everything. Well, except probably your protagonist. That could get weird.

How many books have you written? Do you have a particular favorite?

I’ve written quite a few, but only about ten have been on the market. Most of the others exist in various stages of completion or editing, and the majority of those will never see any publication unless something drastically changes to make me happy with them. As to a favorite? I really like the way Phantoms of Phoenix turned out. It’s the third Jericho Sims book, but chronologically the story falls before any of the others in the series. His interactions with the supernatural and with people played out well in the tale.