Interview with Michael Sellars

When did you first start writing?
From around the age of eight or so. I remember writing my own Doctor Who, Star Wars and Blake's Seven stories. Sometimes they'd cross over: Doctor Who and Han Solo, that kind of thing. This was decades before the term 'fan fiction' had been coined. Writing was really just a way of experiencing new stories. It was a kind of 'proactive reading'. It still is. For me, anyway. The first original story I remember writing was about giant crabs attacking a family on a beach in Wales. I was too young to have read the Guy N. Smith book, and thought this was an incredibly original idea.
What's the story behind your latest book?
My latest book is called 'A Mouth in the Woods'. That's the working title, anyway. I'm coming up to the halfway point of the first draft and hope to be in the final editing phase by Christmas. It starts with the protagonist, Dominic, waking up in a strange bed, next to a woman he's never met before, and discovering his little finger is missing. Even more weirdly, it looks as if his little finger has been missing for years, the stump long- and well-healed.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I'd like to say it's because I'm a maverick who likes to work outside 'the system'. But the fact is, I couldn't find a publisher for my first novel, Hyenas. I'd published short stories before but really struggled to find a home for a novel.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
I'm just getting started with Smashwords, so I'll let you know when I have more data.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
When writing becomes almost indistinguishable from reading. When the bit of brain that writes is only a short step or two ahead of the bit that reads.
What do your fans mean to you?
It goes without saying, that without readers there are no writers.
What are you working on next?
Finishing off 'A Mouth in the Woods' and then moving onto my next novel. I have a few ideas floating around, including a sequel to Hyenas.
Who are your favorite authors?
Fellow Liverpudlian, Clive Barker, Stephen King, Alan Moore, Jonathan Carroll, Jim Dodge, William Wharton, Neil Gaiman, Mike Carey (also from Liverpool). Too many to name.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
I have a full-time job. I'm not so much inspired to get out of bed as jolted to my feet by the screeching of an alarm clock.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Spending time with my family, reading, listening to music, watching television and movies. The usual.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Recommendations from friends and sometimes just browsing until something snags my interest.
What is your writing process?
I'm not sure I have one. Or if I do, it's pretty chaotic. I tend to throw an idea around for a few months, just letting it gestate, fleshing out the characters and exploring narrative avenues. Most of this is just in my head, with very little note making. Then, I start writing. Once I get to about a third of the way into the story, things start to come together and I begin to see the end, how things are going to pan out. I then go back, with this end-point in mind, and redraft what I've written so far. Once I get back to where I'd left off I carry on writing to the end. I then do some fine-tuning (sometimes some heavier tuning, but not often) and I'm done. I let it sit for a few weeks, go back over it, tweak it here and there and start thinking about publication.

I don't have a particular method or routine. Sometimes I write longhand, mostly I use a computer. I don't have much free time, so I write in my lunch breaks, a little before work and a little in the evenings. I've developed the ability to maximise those short working periods; I can start writing from cold, with very little reviewing of what I've done previously. I don't need to 'get in the zone', I just write.
How do you approach cover design?
I've worked in advertising and marketing most of my working life, so I've always been close to graphic designers. I'm not going to win any awards but I can put together an effective book cover. I use InDesign, Photoshop and, more recently, Canva.
What do you read for pleasure?
Horror, crime, a lot of comic books.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
It used to be my Kindle but, more recently, it's the Kindle app on my phone. It's just so convenient.
Describe your desk
I don't really have a desk. I work wherever there's a flat surface. And, sometimes, where there isn't a flat surface.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I was born in Oldham but grew up in Liverpool. Liverpool has a rich history, a vibrant culture and is so very specific and of itself, that it inevitably comes out in the writing; particularly in the interaction between the characters. Sarcasm and ripe language abound. Plus Liverpool gave us Ramsey Campbell and Clive Barker: horror fiction royalty.
Published 2017-07-19.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Written in Water
Price: Free! Words: 7,770. Language: English. Published: July 21, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Horror » Weird fiction, Fiction » Fantasy » Dark
Something's not quite right with Jennifer. Her senses are failing her one by one, bit by bit. And then she comes home to find her apartment's been burgled. But this is a burglary that defies reason...
Nails Without Pictures
Price: Free! Words: 3,250. Language: English. Published: July 21, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Horror » Weird fiction, Fiction » Horror » General
When Jack finds a tiny corpse in a shoe box in his back garden, he begins to question his sanity. But is his mind the only thing he's lost? Originally published in Nocturne Magazine.
Undressed Wounds
Price: Free! Words: 4,770. Language: English. Published: July 20, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Horror » Weird fiction, Fiction » Horror » Ghost
Still struggling to come to terms with the death of his wife, Steven finds something in his attic. Something that shouldn't be there. Something alive. Originally published in Fusing Horizons from Grey Friar Press.
Tabaniday
Price: Free! Words: 3,550. Language: English. Published: July 19, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Horror » Occult, Fiction » Fantasy » Dark
When a weird creature the size of a house appears at the end of Timothy's street, his first instinct is to contact the Department of Incidents and Occurrences, even though Doctor Sheehan told him there was no such government department... Originally published in Morpheus Tales magazine.
And Everything but Wretchedness Forgotten
Price: Free! Words: 2,530. Language: English. Published: July 19, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Horror » Weird fiction, Fiction » Adventure » War & military adventure
Alone in the trenches following a devastating barrage of enemy fire, Robert discovers there is more than just his own innocence at stake in this godforsaken war. Originally published in From the Trenches by Carnifex Press.
Today is Not
Price: Free! Words: 4,150. Language: English. Published: July 18, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Horror » Weird fiction, Fiction » Horror » General
A tale of the apocalypse or a tale of personal tragedy and psychological collapse? Originally published in Murky Depths magazine, then republished in Best Tales of the Apocalypse from Permuted Press.