Interview – Mike Wells – American Bestselling Thriller and Suspense Author
Mike Wells is an American Bestselling Thriller and Suspense Author that also teaches Creative Writing at Oxford. He is well known for his fast-paced “unputdownable” novels.
We are extremely thankful for Mike for giving us some input.
I'm the author of a dozen novels and a couple of screenplays. I'm American but have lived in Europe the past 15 years, live in the UK at the moment and teach part-time in the Creative Writing Diploma program at University of Oxford. I'm just an ordinary guy. I'm that guy standing beside you in line at the supermarket who you don't even notice.
2. When did you start working on your first book ?
When I was 35. Before that I had written two screenplays, and before that, loads of other things--press releases, user's manuals, brochures, academic papers, business articles, a couple of theses--you name it.
3. For how long did you pre market it ?
Not sure what you mean by "pre" marketing. When I was finished the book I sent it out to agents and editors, had a few interested but never sold it. Honestly, it was a mess, plot-wise. I chalk it up to a learning experience, which is what most first novels are.
4. Did you know what kind of novel you were going to be writing from the word go or was it only established afterwards?
I know from the beginning that it was a techno-thriller that took place in Silicon Valley, California, where I'd spent some time.
5. What is your ultimate goal in writing ?
To nail the reader on Page 1 and keep him/her there, and totally engrossed and entertained, until the very last page.
6. Where should a writer begin their journey ? I have written a novel and now what ?
My advice is to start sending it out to literary agents if you want to go the traditional route. If you want to self-publish, I would advise trying to get as many ordinary readers as you can to simply read it and give feedback, make sure it's as good as it can possibly be before publishing.
I believe I answered that--as soon as you have written a book, edited and polished it. There is no point in approaching agents without a finished book--they will ignore you, because only 10% of the people who start their first novel actually finish it.
You can also go to - http://ow.ly/7Mie3 - Common Questions about Agents and Publishers
8. Any tips on pitching a novel in general.
I have tons of advice on that subject on my blog under the Advice for Writers tab. Here is the link: http://mikewellsblog.blogspot.com/p/advice-for-writers.html
http://ow.ly/7MhWR - 5 steps to landing a good literary agent
http://ow.ly/7Mi60 - developing a thick skin
http://ow.ly/7Mibt - The fast yes and slow no
9. Anything you would like to say to new and aspiring writers ?
I think you have to make a commitment to this professional the long haul. I don't believe any success comes to "dabblers." It takes discipline and struggle. Learning to be a good fiction writer takes quite a while in terms of time--you have to write a lot of words, usually several entire books before you get very accomplished at it. Taking classes and reading writing books is good, but ultimately writing fiction is something you have to learn by doing it. Persist and listen to feedback and you will eventually be good enough to be successful.
http://ow.ly/7Miiv - Dealing with rejection from Literary Agents and Publishers
10. Would you ever go into Fantasy ?
Well, many people say that Wild Child and also The Mysterious Disappearance of Kurt Kramer are fantasy novels, of sorts. I think of them more as thrillers with a touch of science fiction. I doubt I would ever write a Lord of the Rings type fantasy novel, it's just not my bag.
One thing that was different about Wild Child was that it started with a dream, and when I sat down at my computer I decided to just write it exactly as the rest of the story came to me, with no thoughts about genre or marketing until it was completely done. That book just flowed out, very smoothly, and felt very inspired. When this happens it often feels as if the story already exists somewhere out in the "ether" and I'm merely channeling it, if that doesn't sound too weird. Maybe the stories exist in the "collective unconscious" and writers simply catch them and write them down, somehow. It's often a mysterious process.
12. What are you currently working on ?
I'm currently working on several books, one new one, plus Wild Child 3 and Lust, Money & Murder Books 4, 5 & 6. They are all in different stages. I switch back and forth to get distance, keeps the juices flowing and gives perspective.
13. What message have you got towards aspiring African writers.
Well, as Africa is a rather exotic place compared to where the vast majority of English speakers live, I would suggest writing stories that are set there, as many readers like stories set in what (to them) are exotic locales. If you live in Africa you know the setting well, and you'll be able to write much more convincingly about it than someone say, in the USA, who says, "I think I'll write a book that takes place in Africa" and gets their information purely through research. That's just one bit of advice. Otherwise, my advice is the same to all writers no matter where you live--write, write, write and create the best possible books you can.
For more information on Mike you can go to http://www.thegreenwater.com/