Interview with Michael Donnelly

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Motherwell, which is a small town just outside Glasgow. I went to college there to study media and TV production which is where my love of film making flourished and I learned what makes a good story and how to write scripts. This love for script writing has really driven my enthusiasm for writing novels
When did you first start writing?
I always enjoyed writing short stories in school but didn't really focus on writing at that stage. Over the past 10 or 15 years I have seen how difficult it is to become a published author or script writer and within the last 7 years and with the advancements of self publishing ebooks has my enthusiasm for writing really taken off.
What's the story behind your latest book?
Initially the idea developed as a story for a video game. In my spare time a small story developed in my head of the general storyline and after ruling out the idea of developing a script with the idea, I discovered the rise in self published ebooks. Over the years of watching mafia documentaries and reading true mafia books, I realised how perfect this story was to be set in that world. When writing the story I really tried to make the events as realistic as possible. The main aim was also to try to build a full world that these characters inhabit whilst not losing focus on the main characters. I also wanted to show the evolution of the mafia over the years and giving a true crime sense to the writing style.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
To tell stories. I would also be lying if I didn't admit that I would love to make a living from writing. When you get that one idea that hooks you in and the enthusiasm to see the story through to the end is a really rewarding experience and would love more to follow.
What are you working on next?
I am currently focusing on the various hurdles an inexperienced author might encounter and have found the past two weeks to be a great learning experience. I have also been struck with another idea that I am hoping to develop in the coming weeks. My first book took place over four decades with a very large scope and I have seen how difficult it is to keep focus on the characters so my next book I would like to simplify the story a little. With an overactive imagination such as mine I can't promise that this will be the case though.
Who are your favorite authors?
Mario Puzo is an obvious one. The world that he built was something that most writers would love to get close to achieving. Jack Ketchum and Cormac McArthy are also personal favourites. I love reading true crime books about gangsters and serial killers and I am fascinated with the duel life that some people can lead so my favourite true crime writers are Nic Pillegi, Peter Maas and Selwyn Raab.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I live a quiet lifestyle and really enjoy spending as much time as possible with my wife. There's nothing better than looking outside to the bad Scottish weather and staying inside, reading a book or watching a movie together.
What is your writing process?
I like to make bullet points on various main points of my story. I also find that travelling to work in the morning or lying in a hot bath and thinking about my book can solve so many problems that I may have with the storyline. By thinking about the plot holes the best way to solve these issues is to have some alone time and thinking about them.
How do you approach cover design?
As I have experience in photography, I try to look for striking images that manage to give an idea of the story. I feel that cover design is every bit as important as the content within the book itself. If you don't have experience in creating your own cover then I feel it would be necessary to call in some favours or to seek the help of a professional as it will be worth it in the long run.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I have a kindle paperwhite. It has given me such a boost in enthusiasm for ebooks and it feels more natural than using a tablet device.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The greatest joy in writing is by creating something from scratch. Characters, storyline, a world that these events take place in and really seeing the book take shape in front of your eyes. It gives me a real sense of satisfaction when something I have done has entertained people or has raised an emotion that makes them think. I write books that I enjoy so I hope others have the same enjoyment and that is really my main goal in writing.
Published 2015-01-13.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Capo: a Tale of Life in the Mafia
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 95,910. Language: English. Published: January 13, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Crime thriller
Capo tells the violent story of Frankie Scalise, raised in the tough, Mafia entrenched streets of the Red hook section of New York. He and his 2 friends soon become seduced by the lifestyle of the local “wiseguys”. After many years, Frankie works his way up the ranks to Capo with his own crew where he will be faced with decisions that will question how far he is willing to go for the Family.