Interview with Michael J Elliott

Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Lol that's difficult, but it was definitely at Primary school. One of the traditional things we were asked to do by our teachers was to write a short story or essay about what we did over the summer holidays. I came from a rather poor family so we didn't go on holidays so I always asked my teacher if I could make up a fantasy story. I'm very grateful they always said yes and I can remember standing in front of the class reading my story about an axe wielding monster. I'm surprised I never gave the other kids nightmares!
What is your writing process?
I've only just started my journey as a professional writer so I'm still learning the craft but I've read a lot of books by authors explaining the 'nuts and bolts' method of how to write. From everything I've learnt so far my own crude process is emerging. For me it always starts with an idea. The novel I'm currently writing came about by watching the news. It was a report on a drug overdose, and I hope I don't offend anyone here, but it got me angry, thinking about how much valuable ambulance and hospital time was being wasted by this drug addict and that's how the idea came to become the start of a novel. From there it's just a question of jotting down ideas, scenes and characters in a completely random way. Recently I couldn't sleep because a scene involving my main character and his cat started writing itself in my mind so I had to get up and write it down.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I can't tell which one but it was definitely an Enid Blyton book. I absolutely adored them and I remember being thrilled by books like the Magic Faraway Tree and the Wishing chair, every birthday my mum and aunty would always buy me one of her books from the Mr Twiddle series. When I was older I was enthralled with the C.S. Lewis Narnia series and as a young adult I was mesmerised by Susanne Cooper's brilliant The Dark Is Rising series.
How do you approach cover design?
One of my favourite hobbies has always been drawing, ever since I was a kid, I still draw today and I'm even asked to design the occasional logo or poster. I did a course in graphic design using Corel at my local Nieghbourhood House, for anyone not familiar with those, they are small locally run centres that offer short courses and drop in workshops. This was a great help in going from tradional pen and paper to computer graphics. When it comes to design cover I usually think as a reader and ask myself apart from the author's name what sort of design would grab my attention. I also try to tie some elements of the story's plot into the cover.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Wow, that's like trying to ask me what my five favourite movies are and I've taken years to whittle that down too lol.Well I'm a big kid, never lost my sense of wonder and awe. My eldest sister calls me Peter Pan because I refuse to grow up lol. So I would definitely have to say The Chronicles Of Narnia, I can't count how many times I've read those books and I'll continue to read them till the day I die. They have giants and unicorns and all the things that make childhood wonderful. For the rest and in no particular order;
A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess-had to read this for my modern english class, it terrified me.
1984 by George Orwell, it makes you angry but tries to envoke some sense that things may turn out ok
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley I still find it incredible that this man predicted test tube babies nearly a century ago!
Watchers by Dean Koontz-the first of his books I'd ever read and the first author to ever make me cry
The Dark Materials Trilogy by Phillip Pullman-I love parallel world stories and his were rich and vivid
What do you read for pleasure?
It may seem strange to some but I love a good thriller usually one of Dean Koontz or sci fi like the MacAddams trilogy by Margaret Atwood. I still love reading comics and graphic novels, mainly to marvel over the skill of the artists.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I adore my Kindle and now wouldn't want to live without it. I always said I'd never want one of those e reader things but I did a lot of research on it when they first came out and once I'd bought one I was hooked. I think one of the things that impresses me most is the amount of books they hold so they are perfect if you live in a small place. I still buy regular books but I now limit my physical collection to refence books.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
It has to be the unleashing of your imagination, so many of us have creative ideas and just never act apon them. I get a little sad when children loose that sense of wonder because we pack them off to school to learn about being an adult and tell them 'you're too old to ...." I have learnt a saying that just about sums up the joy of writing/creating,
"Growing old is compulsory, growing UP is optional ."
Who are your favorite authors?
Each of these authors satisfies different parts of my imagination.
Dean Koontz
J.K. Rowling
James Rollins
Stewart Bint
Dan Brown
and just recently the incredible Margaret Atwood
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Reading, lots and lots of reading. It's not always my favourite fiction authors. I love learning and knowledge in general. I have a fascination for Greek Mythology and Roman History so I often read books on those subjects. I am also drawn to prehistoric life and will either read or watch DVDs on the subject. The other thing that totally fascinates me is the Universe so I'm often watching the Discovery Channel's space documentaries. As I think I've mentioned I also love comics and comic art ever since childhood when I used to draw my own.
Outside of reading, I've been a professional Tarot Reader for over 25 years so I'm often called apon for Readings. (I'm toying with the idea of writing a DIY Tarot book.) I also enjoy cooking and love making desserts for my family as well as decorating, pottering around the garden and catching up with friends and family.
Describe your desk
At the moment I live in a very tiny unit so space is a premium. The desk that holds my PC is in a small hallway. I do all of my handwriting at my coffee table, when my cats don't decide they want to sit on my lecture pad and prevent me from working lol.
Published 2014-11-21.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Peter, Peter, Pumpkin Eater.
Price: $1.50 USD. Words: 8,390. Language: Australian English. Published: December 23, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Horror » Crime
A hen pecked man with a love of cooking has dark fantasies about killing his mentally abusive wife. When he finally gains employment working for a charity he thinks that murdering his wife may not be such a bad idea.
Sharpshooter (A Supernatural Horror Novella.)
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 11,730. Language: English. Published: August 25, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Horror » Occult
IF YOU LOOSE, IT'S GAME OVER....FOREVER! "David's eyes widened at the sight of the head. The skin was mottled with greenish grey patches of decay, The white wispy hair was matted with dried blood." When teenager David decided he must own the Sharpshooter game at any price he could not have known that his violent actions would transport him to a nightmarish realm of hell and damnation.
Mr Westacott's Christmas. (Revised Edition with bonus preview of Mr Westacott's Holiday.)
Price: Free! Words: 5,970. Language: English. Published: August 25, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Psychological thriller
After being a widower for six years, Mr Westacott receives a Christmas card from his dead wife. How can that be possible? Christmas has always been a lonely time of year, so Mr Westacott devises a plan-a dark plan to put that right.Slowly he starts preparations, one chilling step at a time.
Portraits of Dread ( A Gallery of Decidedly Evil Short Stories,)
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 51,130. Language: English. Published: August 24, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Horror » Occult, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Supernatural
In his collection Michael J. Elliott presents a collection of stories that will both chill and unnerve readers. Featuring, A Glutton For Punishment, Possums, Speaking of Death, Reconstructing Teddy and other tales to chill the blood.
How Does Your Garden Grow?
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 8,350. Language: English. Published: August 24, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Horror » Occult, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Supernatural
Davey and Ox are two unemployed British youths. They aren't above stealing and other illegal activities to supplement their meagre benefits. When they learn that local gardener, Mary Menzies, will be opening her showcase garden to raise money for charity, they think they've found an easy burglary job. What they don't know is that Mary's garden contains a lot more than just pretty flowers.
Black Silk Panties.
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 6,580. Language: English. Published: August 24, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Horror » Crime
Jacob O'Halloran is a forty six year old bachelor. He's never had a relationship with a woman...or anything else for that matter. It's hard to get your motor running when your religious-zealot mother is still haranguing with guilt from beyond the grave. So he does the next best thing, he steals womens panties.Until he steals from Audrey who has some nasty issues of her own.
Dinner For Two
Price: Free! Words: 2,260. Language: English. Published: August 24, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Horror » General
(4.50)
Imagine a world of the future where slugs and snails are considered gourmet food. A world where road kill can mean the difference between starvation or survival. This is the world of Dinner For Two.