Interview with Fantasy, Pulp Adventure and Science Fiction novelist, Mitchel Rose.
TB: Today, I welcome British novelist Mitchel Rose. Mitchel, you are the author and co-author of a number of books. When did you begin writing and what was your motivation?
MR: I started writing in my early teens as I read a lot of fantasy and had so many ideas in my head that I had to put down on paper. Later on I started to suffer from low self-esteem and depression issues and writing was a way of helping getting through it.
TB: I think it’s wonderful that you were able to use your creative outlet in a therapeutic way. Is this also a reason why you’ve chosen Fantasy as your major genre?
MR: Yes. I find it much more enjoyable and easier to devise outlandish creatures and magical realms.
TB: What was your best experience as a writer?
MR: My best experience, I think, was when Ghost Wind was published. It was amazing to have my work in print and my name on the front of a book cover. I owe Calvin Daniels a real debt of thanks for giving me a platform for my dotty ideas.
TB: I’m sure Calvin will appreciate that kind endorsement. And, am I correct to say that Ghost Wind is a ‘Pulp’ fiction?
MR: Yes, I think that’s the best way to describe it . . . with strong fantasy and magical elements.
TB: So, what was your worst experience as a writer?
MR: I don’t think I’ve had any real bad experiences as a writer although I have become something of a hermit and I rarely get to bed before 2 AM when I’m working on a book—which is basically all the time—so that might be considered a downside.
TB: How have those experiences prepared you for being an author?
MR: It’s given me the chance to hone my craft, gain the confidence to write in different genres and, more importantly, helped me to be able to work to deadlines and targets.
TB: I understand you are from a small mining town, Cannock, UK. Did you ever work in the industry, and do you think your cultural environment influences your writing?
MR: No I’ve never worked in the mining industry, it was kind of on the wane as I was growing up. I think because a lot of my work focuses on other worlds and strange and different societies the cultural environment I grew up in does not have that much of an influence.
TB: I understand that you and Calvin Daniels collaborated on Ghost Wind through Facebook. Can you briefly describe that creative process? For instance, was one of you the lead?
Initially Calvin wrote the first chapter, setting the scene and establishing the main characters and I took it from there. We then did an alternate chapter—each developing other characters and plotlines—and when we reached mid-point, we decided on a vague overall arc of what would happen and how it would all end. If I had a particular idea I wanted to use I would pitch it to Calvin beforehand, but on the whole he let me get on with what I wanted to do, which is a good way to work.
TB: Did you also Skype your ideas?
MR: No, I haven’t used Skype as of yet, but I’m hearing it is quite popular.
TB: Please tell us about your latest work.
MR: I have a couple of projects on the go at the moment. There are the Tales of Granton City Adventures I write with Calvin and I am also working on a comic book script for a dark horror adventure set in a Medieval fantasy world. I am also working through the second draft of a Science Fiction adventure called Tiger Boy, which I hope will be ready for publication in 2012.
TB: What’s the name of the Medieval fantasy? And, can you give us a taste of the plot?
MR: The Medieval fantasy is called Defier and is about a demon/monster hunter who is asked to go to a remote kingdom being terrorized by a hideous creature so he can kill it. The kingdom hides dark secrets and there is more to the threat of the creature than meets the eye.
TB: Are you a “blank-pager,” or do you use an outline?
MR: I’m a “blank-pager” definitely. I have a few random ideas initially and weave them in as I go along.
TB: To what degree are your fictional characters based in reality?
MR: Not sure. Most of my characters are inspired by other books, movies and TV shows. I grew up on a rather unhealthy diet of fantasy adventures, Saturday morning cartoons and comics . . . so that shaped my later writing. I sometimes also base characters on people in history, usually the more unsavory types like Communist dictators and the more deranged and depraved Emperors of the Roman Empire. They are tailor-made for fantasy.
TB: This just begs the question, which is your favorite cartoon character and why?
There are quite a few but I have a soft spot for Zoltar from Battle of the Planets. He was quite deranged and cowardly, and had an army of human slaves and scores of giant robot monsters to terrorize the world with. You couldn’t ask for a more perfect villain.
TB: Would you like to try writing in a different genre?
MR: I would love to do a murder mystery and a good fast paced thriller. I’d also like to do some historical-based fiction, but it will mean a lot of research before I get that off the ground.
TB: What are your ideal surroundings or conditions for writing?
MR: At a writing desk with my laptop with the radio on in the background ideally playing eighties rock and an almost endless supply of tea to keep me going.
TB: Now, is that a streaming online radio and herbal tea, or a cranked Bose speaker system with a bottomless pot of caffeinated black tea at your elbow?
MR: I like large amounts of milk in my tea and I’d probably go with the online radio option.
TB: Do your dreams influence your writing?
MR: One particularly vivid dream I had gave me an idea for a dark psychological thriller, but I’ve yet to devise a coherent plot for it.
TB: You’ve already mentioned that you co-authored Ghost Wind with Calvin Daniels, have you co-authored any other work?
MR: Yes indeed, with Calvin Daniels for the Tales of Granton City range. We have worked together on six books to date.
TB: Prolific! Six books. What are the names, please?
MR: Ghost Wind 1: The Torn Veil, Ghost Wind 2: The Runaway Bride, Drago Demon Slayer 1: Cult of the Crucifixion, Saileach Druid Warrior 1: The Shifting Shape of Evil, Scorch & Ice Superheroes 1: Curse of the Blight Stone, and The Adventures of Churchill Alien Bounty Hunter. I’ve also written a flash back story for the last one, while other writers focused on different eras in the alien’s life.
And, I am also working with an artist on my comic book.
TB: A comic book venture; how fascinating! Who is the artist?
He’s a gentleman called Edgardo Granel Ruiz. He actually lives in Puerto Rico; like Calvin and I, we met through Facebook when I posted a message on my wall asking for an artist for a comic book project I was working on. He has his own Facebook page showcasing his work.
TB: Can you describe to our audience your creative process? Do you feed Edgardo the story in sections? Do the two of you brainstorm on characters and plots and work simultaneously?
Essentially I send him sections of a script with dialogue and brief descriptions of any action, and he illustrates what I’ve written. Like Calvin did with me I try to give him as much freedom as possible in interpreting the look and style of characters and surroundings, as that makes the project much more interesting and rewarding. We discuss a couple of character points and plot development as well.
TB: Do his drawings inspire you?
MR: Certainly his drawings inspire me—the work Edgardo has produced so far has been amazing, and I am very excited in presenting the finished article to the world.
TB: If you could travel anywhere—with no concern for cost or disruption—where would it be?
MR: Switzerland has some wonderful scenery, so I think maybe there.
TB: Who has influenced you most as a writer?
MR: My main influences, among many others, are H P Lovecraft and China Mieville.
TB: If you could shake the hand of any writer, past or present, who would it be and why?
MR: R A Salvatore. His prolific career and excellent and exciting novels inspire me to emulate his achievements.
TB: Do you consider yourself to be an artist?
MR: Not really. I think I am more of a jobbing writer.
TB: What advice can you share with writers who are just starting out?
MR: I think the best advice I can offer is to read as much as possible in the chosen genre you want to write in and beyond. By reading as much as you can you learn how other writers craft scenes, present information and you can decide what works and what doesn’t. Also write for pleasure rather than profit, it’s much more fun.
TB: That’s very thoughtful advice. Thank you so much Mitchel; I appreciate you opening up your private world to us and I look forward to the publication of your graphic novel.
MR: Not at all thank you for taking an interest in my work.
Mitchel is a prolific Fantasy, Pulp Adventure and Science Fiction novelist. Seasoned in the process of long-distance writing partnerships, his endeavors also cross into teaming up with Edgardo Granel Ruiz in the collaboration of a graphic novel. He lives in a small British mining town, Cannock, UK.
His books can be purchased through the Granton City Web site.