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Interview with Michael Ross

He is a man of many talents. Hairdresser, microbiologist, professional established UK actor and voice actor, developer of a fitness brand called KETTFusion, and, of course, now a multi-genre award-winning author.

Q.1 Tell us something about yourself not many people know?
I was introduced to writing by a visit to a clairvoyant! She kept insisting I write books, so I did and haven’t looked back.

Q.2 When should we expect your next book? What will it be about?
I built a fairy garden for children at the start of lockdown, and it has grown and grown, so putting together a little book called My Fairy Garden, and have invited children from locals schools to draw me a fairy which will go in the book.

Q.3 What made you write The Wand Chronicles?
It has been a passion for me ever since I started writing. I wanted a classic series, complete with prologues, Epilogues, maps, images, glossary, and phonetic help for some of the more unusual names. I have the mind of a 6-year-old-boy, so all my imaginative ideas poured out into this series.

Q.4 Do you feel any competitive pressure from fantasy films? If not, why?
Not at all. Simply because my books are different. One of my goals is to make the series into a film. As an actor, realism and believability are important, and this has passed down into my world-building and character-building.

Q.5 What is one stereotype about fantasy writers is absolutely wrong? What one stereotype is dead on?
Some of the characters are similar, wear similar flowing dresses, and creep away from how I think they should be. Having a character dressed as you would expect to bump into them on the street is a great help.

Q.6 Do you ever research real events, legends, or myths to get ideas?
Not really. I just want my work to be as original as possible. I know that all our thoughts are a cumulative jumble of life’s experiences, but I want to generate my characters to the extent, no one can say they are similar to anyone else’s.

Q.7 What is the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
I haven’t found it difficult to write about characters of the opposite sex. It is pretty straightforward with my human characters, but one of my heroines is an elf; of course, she is different from a human in lots of subtle ways, both biologically and mentally, but I believed I have made her very convincing.

Q.8 Where do you as an author draw the line on gory descriptions and/or erotic content?
Erotic content, if at all, is very subtle. I leave it up to the reader to embellish the outlines if they wish to do so. Gory descriptions; I only leave for characters that the readers have loved to hate. At the end of the day, particularly The Wand Chronicles, I would like to think that even though it is principally for teens and adults, a 9-year-old could read it and not be offended by it.

Q.9 How many books have you written? Which one is your favorite?
17 to date. All genres. My favorite book is a Two-Parter. Based on the stories of a famous British author called Enid Blyton, who wrote a huge series called The Famous Five. So my two books, principally for middle graders, are The Moon and the Magic Box and A Box Full of Aliens. They contain 4 boys, a girl, and a dog named Nesbit, and they have modern exciting adventures. Also, my beta readers are middle graders! And I also invited children from the UK, Dubai, and Croatia to draw images of aliens, which I incorporated into the books.

Q.10 Among all the protagonists of your titles, who’s your favorite and why?
There are two, an English General, Hugo Brough, and an Elf called Allana Yana-Ash. I like them because they have shown that it is possible to trust another species, and in fact, they go on to have a hybrid daughter called Kia. Can you imagine a human girl of 14, whose hormones are driving you round the twist, but now with magic at her fingertips? Her father can’t cope well with her.

Q.11 What about the supporting characters? Who does think is dearest to you?
Probably a Chinese man called Ding Ling. Hugo rescued him from an evil Uncle. And ‘Dingy’ as he is known affectionately, is very brave, always making light of a serious situation and always quoting Confucius.

Q.12 Do you believe in writer’s block? If yes, how do you deal with it?
No! That is my definitive answer. Because I am a pantser, I sit down and could write until the cows come home. For my current series, The Big Fairy Adventures, I have a map of the fairy queendom called Layleamonee. On it are around 20 images of creatures or places. Each one will be a book, but what that book will be about, I have no idea until I sit down and start writing, then it will unfold in front of me.

Q.13 Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with good or bad ones?
Yes, I do. And touch wood, generally, they are outstanding. However, there is a worrying trend running through Amazon and Goodreads now that both companies are turning a blind eye to. I had one review by a ‘rogue reviewer,’ which was 1 star and was very vitriolic, and this was among all the others, some of them professional reviews, that were all five stars. These reviewers then contact you to demand money to have their review removed. Amazon will quote, ‘It does not contravene community guidelines,’ but of course, in this case, it does. It is still up there, and Amazon will not remove it! So probably going to have to pay the reviewer to remove it, which is totally wrong. In any case, I now don’t pay attention to reviews anymore; I much prefer to send a sample to someone, so they can make their own mind up..and Amazon does have that facility on their site.

Q.14 Do you have any unique and quirky writing habits?
Yes, I like to write with a princess’s crown on my head whilst wearing a pink tutu! No! I am only joking. I am afraid I sit down with a nice coffee and just write. I like to wear ancient comfortable clothes, so feel nice and relaxed.

Q.15 Outside of your family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author?
Funnily enough, none of my immediate family read books! But it was another friend. Also, an author that helps and supports me is a bestselling author of a book called Bentley the Hippo.

Q.16 Who designed your book covers?
For many tears, an excellent friend based in Croatia, called Magdalena Adić.

Q.17 What three things should readers expect from your books?
A. 1.
2. A realism in terms of the world I build.
3. A sense of connecting with the characters, especially the elvish characters.

Q.18 Which famous person, living or dead, would you like to meet and why?
A. Albert Einstein
, because I liked a quote of his: If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want your children to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.

Q.19 What is your favorite book from other authors and why?
It has to be Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austin. The command of the English language that can describe any and all emotions is truly superb.

Q.20 Share the experience of your journey so far?
I have been writing now for over 8 years. The big learning process, especially since I am an indie author. But that gap from publishing a book to becoming a best seller is a tortuous journey, and it hasn’t got any easier.

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