Sepculative Fiction / Sci Fi Author Interview ~ Mike Bailey

 

In conclusion to “Seriously, I Will Read Your Book

Speculative / Sci Fi Fiction Author Mike Bailey Virtual Book Tour

 Speculative Fiction & SciFi author Mike Bailey mixes conspiracy, genetic experiments and human endurance in What Have We Done? The Dragon ChroniclesYou can find Mike on Twitter, his website and his blog.

Curtsey of Mike Bailey
  • When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I had written several things as a child/teenager but never had really given it any thought until I was quite a bit older.  I had always been really good in school with any writing assignments, especially long essays.  As an adult in my early 30s I ended up with a job as a night security guard.  To say it’s a boring job is an understatement.  Suddenly with a lot of free time on my hands I suddenly found myself thinking about old story ideas I had in the past and it just kinda clicked into place.  So I decided to throw some ideas down on paper.  After a few nights of that I sat back and looked over the notes and ideas I’d written down and thought, “I might be able to make this work into a pretty darn good story!”  I was amazed at the story that unfolded under my fingers and by the time I reached the end of the introduction I knew that I could only be truly happy with a career as a fiction writer.  I’m still working to achieve that career.  It is a hard industry to make a career in, but I will never give up trying.
 
  • What was your inspiration for What Have We Done? The Dragon Chronicles?
Wow!  Well, my inspiration came from many, many movies and books.  I’m sure if you look closely at the plot you’ll find elements of Jurassic Park, Resident evil and Reign of Fire, among many others.  My inspiration to work in science fiction/fantasy comes from my own imagination and my love of the game Dungeons and Dragons when I was young.  I’ve always been fascinated with everything sci-fi and fantasy from magic to mythical creatures.  I’ve also always had a fascination with conspiracy theories, secret societies and governmental cover ups.  Such movies and books as National Treasure, X-Files and the DiVinci code are among my favorites.
 
  • How did you go about developing the characters in the book and keep track of their progress throughout the story?
Some of the characters were based on people I know/knew in real life, including myself.  As you might have guessed, Bailey Michaels was based on myself, or rather, how I might have turned out.  There was a time in my young life that I was somewhat bitter and angry and although I found my way through that time in my life, Bailey Michaels did not.  I wanted to grow up to be two things as a child, a private detective and a vampire.  Obviously, I didn’t end up with either career path but it seemed appropriate to give Bailey a career that would reflect his unhappiness with his life. 

The chihuahua Cujo was based on my dog Gigabyte, at the time.  I actually found it rather easy to infuse his personality into the character.  Yes, I know I ripped off Stephen King for the name but I simply couldn’t resist a chihuahua named Cujo.  The irony was just too much to pass up.

Several other characters were based on people in my life at the time as well.  The professor, Misha, even SyAnne were all fashioned, to some degree, after friends or family.

As for how I kept track of their progress throughout the story.  I kept a running list of characters, basically.  As the story developed I would make notes beside each name to keep track of what they had done, who they were seeing or friends with, who was a live, who was dead and so on.
 

  • What research did you undertake to create the realistic and unique dragons in the book?
I actually did very little research in fact.  I did do some research into various animals and their most prominent traits and some into basic scientific areas of the book, but over all it’s mostly all just imagination.  Like the saying goes, “Science fiction makes science, not the other way around”.  An example of the types of details I did research would be how they could be designed to fly in outer space.  In order for their wings to be functional there must be an atmosphere to “beat them against”.  Within the earth’s atmosphere their wings would function just like a birds, they beat them against the “air” giving them lift.  In space, where there is no atmosphere this posed a problem.  I fixed this problem by putting nanobots in their bloodstreams to make their respiratory and digestive functions hyper efficient.  The by-product of this is a gas which is emitted through pores on the underside of the creature’s wings, thereby creating an artificial, momentary, atmosphere for them to flap their wings against.
 
  • What process did you go through to create the underground world and the conspiracy about the facility?
Well there are several elements of that environment that were inspired by the Resident Evil movies and games.  I decided to actually design the entire facility so I taped a whole bunch of sheets of graph paper on the wall side by side and draw a map, just like I had done as a young man for Dungeons and Dragons games.  The map ended up being six or seven pages wide and 5 pages tall with a layer for each level.  I even color coded each section, ventilation and electrical routes, etc.
 
  • In the beginning the characters live in a world of government conspiracy and cover ups, but as they endure the changes thrust upon them, truth and openness becomes an essential part of survival. Was this an intentional part of the story line, or did that develop as the story progressed? As the author are you commenting on less than idealistic elements of society today?
It’s actually an accident that it developed as it did, although it does reflect my general outlook on governments and the tendency to keep secrets from their citizens. 
 
  • Tell us the importance of the romantic/erotic elements in your story line and why you choose to include them in your book. How do you feel these elements help or hinder the range in readership?
I’ve always felt that every good story should have at least a little romance, or at least romantic tension.  I admit, I have a propensity to slide romantic elements over the edge and into eroticism.  I actually had to go back and tone it down a bit as I really wanted it to be a science fiction novel, not a smut mag.  As the story progressed and it became clear it was becoming a “total annihilation” kinda story I felt there had to be some romantic connections to offset the obvious loneliness and despair one would feel in their position.
 
  • What can you share with us about the sequel Dragon Bound?
In Dragon Bound Draco’s offspring set off into space, struggling with the conflict between their pre-programmed mission and their instincts and genetic memories of their father.  The offspring encounter and effectively destroy an entire alien race, just as they did to ours.  The survivors discover the origins of the creatures and head for earth thinking the creatures are an act of war, and boy are they ticked off at us!

I won’t go into to many plot details but things get smoothed over, for a while.  The aliens integrate into society with us and eventually human/alien offspring are realized, creating a whole new set of issues reminiscent of the racial issues of our ancestors.  It is discovered that the offspring have mild telepathic abilities which enable them to control the weaker minded creatures.

Their ability allows them the opportunity ride the creatures and “dragon riders” are born.  As a rite of passage the dragon riders take possession of a weapon which “brands” a symbol into the palm of their hand.  Thereafter, each time they raise that weapon in battle the wound opens and bleeds and the weapon draws its power directly from their life source.
 

  • What is your daily writing process?
Lol, I don’t have one.  I have a full-time job, several side businesses and children.  My daily writing process is basically, write when you can, for as long as you can concentrate and never throw anything away because it might be useful somehow in the future.
 
  • How do you balance writing with work, home and family?
Well like I said, I just write when I can and for however long I can concentrate for, but family and work have to come first, always.
 
  • What process did you go through to get your book published?
Oh I am definitely not a patient man.  After years of waiting on my agent and editor, and being completely unsatisfied with both, I decided to self publish.  After much research I settled on Lulu.com.  Their website explains every detail for you, formatting, cover design, font size, everything.  In the end they charge you cost for one book for you to approve and once you do your finished product is ready and available for sale.
 
  • What process did you go through to make your book into a e-book?
There are many processes and “formats” for eBooks.  I chose the plain text format and PDF because their readable by more digital readers.  Again, the website walks you through the process step by step.
 
  • What advice would you give to other aspiring writers?
  
Never throw away anything, never stop writing down your thoughts and ideas and never give up!  I have gone back over things I wrote and dismissed as garbage and found tidbits and inspiration that didn’t work when I wrote it but did work beautifully in the context of what I was working on at that point. 

Make a lot of friends in the industry.  Other writers, editors, publishers, agents, book clubs, etc.  They can be invaluable in getting the word out to the world about your book and as a source of resources for you as a writer. 

Most importantly tho, never give up.  It can be a long process, especially if you choose to go the traditional route.  The end goal is to get that manuscript into print, don’t lose sight of that. 
 

  • How has social media helped your author platform?
Social Media is invaluable to writers.  Twitter in particular us a tool of unmatched value for meeting and connecting with others in the industry.  I have used twitter with LinkedIn, Facebook and my blog, Wild Side Of Writing, to reach out to people from all over the world and keep them not only up to date on what I’m doing with my book(s) but also to help give back to them tips and tricks about writing.  Every one of these platforms gives you the ability to target your friends and followers based on their interests.  This allows you to interact with people who are likely to interact back with you driving your chances of success up.
 
Don’t forget to leave a comment to enter to win a copy of What Have We Done? The Dragon Chronicles!

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