About Author
Michael C. Sahd
Michael C. Sahd
BIOGRAPHY

Michael C. Sahd grew up in Santa Fe, New Mexico. From a young age, he read voraciously, particularly in the fields of fantasy and science fiction. Shortly after becoming a teenager, he learned to play and enjoy fantasy games such as Dungeons and Dragons. At around the same time, he began writing stories and D&D campaigns of his own.

As an adult, Michael attended the College of Santa Fe, studying in the fields of English and literature. During this time, he honed his writing skills and expanded his writing portfolio. Although he has completed numerous short stories, Assassin Marked represents his debut published work. Most recently, he published his first full-length fantasy novel, The Unfettered Child.

Currently, Michael lives with his wife and four children in a small town in Texas, where he is working on writing the next installment of The DuFonte Chronicles.

Michael C. Sahd Books

Book
(25) $2.99kindle Free with KUeBook, Paperback,
The Unfettered Childby Michael C. SahdPublish: Aug 28, 2019Thrillers Action & Adventure Fantasy Horror
Assassin Marked (The DuFonte Chronicles Book 1)
(27) $2.99kindle Free with KUeBook, Paperback, Audio, Signed Paperback,
Assassin Marked (The DuFonte Chronicles Book 1)by Michael C. SahdPublish: Oct 06, 2017Series: The DuFonte ChroniclesCrime Fiction Thrillers Action & Adventure Science Fiction

Michael C. Sahd interview On 25, Oct 2019

"Michael C. Sahd grew up in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He played Dungeons & Dragons religiously every Friday for over 7 years. The best motivator is when he turns on some music and just go. He needs music. It's very motivational for him. As an adult, Michael attended the College of Santa Fe, studying in the fields of English and literature. He is currently working on Lavender Rose, the second book in The DuFonte Chronicles."
Growing up in Santa Fe, New Mexico, which is your favorite childhood memory?

My friend and I would play this game called counting coup. Basically it was like hide-and-go-seek, but it had more emphasis on moving stealthily than the classic game does. There was no "it." We would run in opposite directions and hide. Then we would sneak around trying to get the better of each other with a stealthy tap on the shoulder. If we spotted each other, we would run off in different directions and start over again. The nice thing about this game was that we had roughly forty acres of rough country to play on, and we would sometimes even spill out onto other peoples' land. Nobody seemed to mind. It was a lot of great fun.

What caught your interest in the fantasy and science fiction genre?

I could claim many things. I read The Hobbit first, then The Lord of the Rings series, which then got me into Dungeons and Dragons. On the sci-fi end, I am still a Star Wars and Star Trek fan to this day. Then Serenity, followed by Firefly, just solidified that interest into a great love.

How much did you enjoy playing fantasy games like Dungeons and Dragons?

I played Dungeons & Dragons religiously every Friday for over 7 years. Our friend Kim would host it at her house and we would stay until very late. I tried picking it up again in recent years, but time constraints with kids and school make it very difficult.

How has studying in the fields of English and literature helped you shape into a writer?

Any writer will tell you that reading is the best way to learn to write. While I studied these courses, I was introduced to many different kinds of novels, epics, and stories. It broke me out of the stereotypical fantasy genre I was so keen on before I started taking these classes. I learned there is more to writing than just a great anecdote, and that is to make your characters feel. World building is great, but I can't say it's my thing anymore. I want people to know my characters, to understand how they're feeling.

How did you begin writing "The DuFonte Chronicles" series? When writing a series how do you keep things fresh, for both your readers and also yourself?

Assassin Marked actually began as a short story I wrote for dialog practice in a creative writing class. The original story was just the first chapter of the novelette, and I added the other chapters later. This is the first series I've ever begun, and I haven't finished writing the second book yet, but I strive to keep extensive notes on the progress of the characters so that I can be sure to keep things fresh and to give them new adventures.

Who inspired the character of eight-year-old Samara in "The Unfettered Child"? How were you struck with the idea for this novel?

I actually was running a D&D campaign, in which Samara was an antagonist. She was a young girl possessed by a demon, causing mischief and mayhem in a small village. The adventurers had to figure out how to save both the town and the young girl. However, the story has obviously evolved a lot since then. Having my own children and the fear of losing a child that comes along with that played a huge part in the creation of the story. I also used my own eight-year-old daughter as a model for the young girl in the story, mixed with some of my own childhood experiences to flesh out the character.

What is your one mantra to get through everything in life? What keeps you motivated to write?

I can't really pinpoint anything so specific. I need to have rest. However, the best motivator is when I turn on some music and just go. I need music. It's very motivational for me.

How does an idea in your mind become a story? Do you plan the story out before you begin writing it? Or do you create it as you write it?

I plot out a basic idea in my head. I take notes, and I even make a rough outline sometimes, but when I actually sit down to write, the story takes its own direction. So I would say a little of both, but mostly, I create it as I write. The ending of The Unfettered Child was as much a surprise to me as I hope it is to my readers.

What was your favorite part, and your least favorite part, of the publishing journey of your first book?

My favorite part was the fact that I was actually getting published. It was so exciting. My least favorite part is all the marketing that I had to do. I find it difficult to talk about myself, but as an author, so much of your brand marketing is you.

When did you decide that "The DuFonte Chronicles" is going to be a series? Which part of the first book was the most fun to write?

I think I decided to make The DuFonte Chronicles a series after so many people started asking for more of the story. I don't actually like Damian much, and would have been happy to drop the series at Assassin Marked. However, as I write Lavender Rose, Damian is blossoming into a character with a lot more depth, and I think I can keep going.

As I mentioned before, the first chapter of Assassin Marked was written as practice for a writing class, and it was a lot of fun to write. One of my friends actually had a peek at it long before anyone else did, and she hated it. Although I must say, it is much different now than it was then. Especially after my wife/editor got her hands on it.

How do you usually select character names? Have you ever named a character after your family or friends?

From Assassin Marked, Victoria is directly named after a good friend of mine. Otherwise, I don't really have any particular method. Kirin Ichiban, from that same story, is named after the Japanese beer, and I find that humorous.

The Unfettered Child had a more organised naming method. Samara and Orin's culture is a mix between the Nemets (the nomads from Siberia) and the Apache native Americans, but I chose Russian names when naming most of the characters. Samara, on the other hand, had a Havallan name. The Havallans are members of a vast empire that has conquered most of the world that Samara grows up in, which is modeled after the ancient Ottoman Empire. Hence, I use Arabic names for most of the Havallans.

Do you think one can ever retire from writing? Would you?

I don't know about retire from writing, but I can see retiring from publishing. I don't know. That's so far in the future, it's hard to think about.

What are you currently working on? When can we expect the next book to release?

I am currently working on Lavender Rose, the second book in The DuFonte Chronicles. I hope to finish writing it in November, but that is optimistic. Then it goes to my editor and who knows how long that will take. It will probably (read: hopefully) be next year around this time. But I'm definitely not going to rush it.

What are your top five writing and marketing tips that you would share with the young writers out there?

Get on social media and put yourself out there. Get as many followers as you can before you start writing, and talk about your writing. People need to get to know you if you want to sell any books. I also suggest making your own website, to keep a blog on. Then you should make accounts on as many book websites as you can (Goodreads, BookBub, AllAuthor, Library Thing, iAuthor, etc). Finally, just like any other business, you must spend money to make money. Your writing is an investment.

When did you first join AllAuthor? What do you think of the experience so far?

I've only been a member for a few months, but AllAuthor is amazing. It has so many resources for authors. I'm particularly partial to the free mock ups that they provide every week, which I have used in many places and in multiple ways to advertise The Unfettered Child. The ability to make review GIFs is awesome too. The AllAuthor staff are also very supportive and consistently tweet about my books. I would (and do!) definitely recommend the site to other authors and readers.

Ask Michael C. Sahd a question

      • Michael C. Sahd Michael C. Sahd 2 months ago
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      • This is a difficult question to answer. I know that many authors complain about many different practices. Editors cost too much, cover artists cost too much, advertising costs too much, etc. But I'm not one of those. I know this is a business, and I'll only make what I put into it. You have to spend money to make money.

        I'm lucky because I'm married to a professional editor, which after researching Reedsy, has saved me close to $5,000. Again, I'm lucky because I'm quite good at Photoshop, and was able to hire an artist to "coach" me for $100, which saved me another $150-250 dollars (or more). These things add up. A Kirkus review costs close to $500.00, and then so many of the other advertisements will nickel and dime you to death. As you can see, it can cost anywhere from $6,000 plus to get published properly.

        So would I call any of this unethical? No, I don't think I would. It's part of the business.

        On the other hand (I didn't go this route), most traditional publishing houses will force an author to sign a contract. I'm unfamiliar with the content of these contracts, but I have heard some horror stories where the author loses the rights to his or her work, and that, I believe to be unethical.
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        • A P von K'Ory A P von K'Ory 2 months ago
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        • You are lucky indeed, Michael. I started out with trad publishers and was happy until a New York publisher (Algora Publishing) practically stole my book >Darkest Europe & Africa's Nightmare: A Critical Observation of Neighbor Continents< by paying me an initial $1,000. Suddenly I got no annual statements as stipulated in the contract, then they said they don't send statements when the book has sold less than $10. That went on for three years and then I told them to give me my rights back and they refused! From Germany, I hired a New York law firm that cost me $450 per hour. This is when I discovered that I had overlooked a wee little word when I was signing the contract. The word was "perpetuity" - so I'd sold them my entire book plus the photos and diagrams for 1K and they could claim "no sales" more than $10 each year to this day and there's zilch I can do about it. When I tell them that since they're making no money on the book; why not give me my rights back? Nope, they say. But they're willing to give me my rights back if I pay them $25K for all their publishing pain. Otherwise, I can claim my rights back when it expires - in 30 years' time.

          That's when I decided to become an Indie author.
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      • Michael C. Sahd Michael C. Sahd 2 months ago
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      • I've been known to liken writing to sculpting, and I'll stick to that metaphor. When sculpting, you're creating a three-dimensional picture. When writing, you're sculpting a grand portrait, but with perhaps more dimensions than three. In my opinion, it's this portrait that you're painting with words that is the most important element in writing. You want a reader to see what the character sees, feel what the character feels, hear what the character hears, smells, thinks. Basically you want to immerse the reader into the world and the story.
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      • Michael C. Sahd Michael C. Sahd 3 months ago
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      • I have plans for many different genres, and I hope that I don't get shunted into any specific one. The Unfettered Child is a dark fantasy, and Assassin Marked is a short crime story in a sci-fi setting. I have plans for a comedic fantasy, a steam punk, and some horror stories. Nope, I don't want to focus on one at all.
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    • AllAuthor AllAuthor 3 months ago
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    • Have you ever incorporated something that happened to you in real life into your novels?
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      • Michael C. Sahd Michael C. Sahd 3 months ago
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      • I am unaware of a writer that doesn't, to some degree, incorporate their real life into their stories. In addition to incorporating places I've been into scenes, I have stolen real-life dialog as well. The relationship between Samara and Illtud, for instance, in The Unfettered Child mirrors a very traumatic experience from when I was a child, as does her amnesia. I'm not going to go into all of the details, but a lot of things in that book have something to do with my life. My characters also tend to be loosely based on people I know or have known in the past.
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    • AllAuthor AllAuthor 3 months ago
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    • Writing can be an emotionally draining and stressful pursuit. Any tips for aspiring writers?
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      • Michael C. Sahd Michael C. Sahd 3 months ago
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      • This has been said many times by many people, but as an author, you have to develop a thicker skin. When it comes time to market, reviews will make or break you, and reviewers won't always drop five stars in your lap. Sometimes, they may even say some hurtful things. Recently, I received a three-star review, which was well written, but complained about my writing, stating that it felt very plain and straight-forward, with lots of repetition. I, of course, can't deny that this was the case for this particular reader of my ARC, but I have since edited the book, and the final product is much better after I removed a lot of the repetitive words and improved certain areas of the book. Regardless, these words ate at me and gave that inner demon (depression) a bit of sway on me that day.

        Not everyone is going to like your story, and as a writer, you're going to have to shrug it off. That said, I can be a pretty tough reviewer myself, although I don't generally give low reviews unless poor grammar, typos, and misspellings are rampant. I'm personally very lucky to have my wife, who edits professionally, and is perhaps the best editor I've ever come across. If for some reason, I were to lose this wonderful editor (God forbid!), I would drop the money to get anything I publish professionally edited. After all, you have to spend money to make money, and doing so would help prevent some of the more terrible reviews.
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      • Michael C. Sahd Michael C. Sahd 5 months ago
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      • When I was very young, I used to watch my father writing tirelessly at our kitchen table on whatever media he found available. At the age of 9 or 10, I started reading voraciously. I started by reading newspapers to my father, then I moved to novels, finishing Stephen King's It when I was in second grade. It wasn't until I was in my teens that I picked up my father's writing bug. I started with poetry and later moved on to short stories. The Unfettered Child is my first full-length novel.
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