Interview with Michael Thal

Do you write in a bubble or do you prefer critique groups, writing buddies or other companionship during the process?
After I complete a chapter I get feedback from my writing group, The San Fernando Valley Critters. We meet once a month.
What do your fans mean to you?
They mean a lot to me. It's wonderful having a fan base that strokes the ego and encourages me to write the next book. If they don't like something, they're not shy about telling me. That's a huge help when working on the next book.
What are you working on next?
I’m currently working on the third book in the Koolura series, Koolura and the Mayans. Koolura is a middle grade child with extraordinary psychic powers. In the first book she begins to learn about her gifts as she fights a stalker bent on her destruction. In the second book Koolura finds herself at a sleep-away camp in the mountains outside of Santa Barbara. After her first night’s stay, she wakes up powerless. What happened to her abilities and what’s with the weird boys and all those pranks? In the third book, Koolura attends her father’s wedding with BFF Leila, visits a Mayan ruin, and finds herself transported back in time.
Who is your favorite author?
I like James Patterson because of the quick pace of his novels and the cliff hangers he always develops at the end of each chapter.
What do you find to be the most difficult part of the writing process? Easiest?
Motivating myself to sit down and write is the toughest part of the process. Once I get started, it’s hard to break away. I also find marketing my work tedious. The easiest part of the process is self-editing.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I have a shorky named Scribble. I enjoy taking her on long walks and training her. She's very smart and can turn on lights, open and close doors. She's incredibly cute. I also tutor children, help college kids with their writing troubles, and work out at LA Fitness 5 times a week.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I write reviews for Big Al's Books and Pals, so get quite a few books from them. I also know authors and exchange books for reviews.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes. It was "The Light". It was a story of a young man being abducted by aliens and brought to their home world. The book was eventually published by Adventure Books in 2002, but by 2004 the publisher closed her doors. I subsequently wrote three other books for a younger audience. In 2010 I brushed off the dust from my Light manuscript and re-wrote it for a YA audience. On June 3, 2014 Solstice Publishing published it under the title of "The Abduction of Joshua Bloom."
When do ideas come to you and how do you capture them?
The idea for "Goodbye Tchaikovsky," a novel about a violin virtuoso who becomes deaf on his 12th birthday, came to me after I experienced a devastating hearing loss at the age of 44. By the time I turned 50 my right ear was completely deaf and my left close behind. I was curious how I would have responded to losing my hearing if I was a teen. The Koolura series (books about a pre-teen girl with extraordinary psychic powers) was inspired by my daughters. "The Abduction of Joshua Bloom" came to me in a dream.
What do you like about your publisher?
I have two publishers, but my favorite is Solstice Publishing. Solstice is a hands-on publisher keeping close ties with their writers. They make sure their books appear on websites like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and many others. My Koolura Series can even be found on websites in Europe. Also, they have a Facebook page where they provide up-to date information and give their writers the opportunity to give feedback.
What is your favorite marketing task that has resulted in a sale?
I really enjoy book-signing parties. After my first two novels, The Legend of Koolura and Goodbye Tchaikovsky, published a week apart in 2012 by two different publishers, my daughter Channie hosted a book-signing party in her home for me. About 60 people showed and I was so busy my hand started to cramp up. Six months ago I had a second party for Koolura and the Mystery at Camp Saddleback. This time we held the party in my home with equal results. I'm looking forward to the next party for The Abduction of Joshua Bloom.
Published 2014-06-05.
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