M. Anderson Interview Published on: 08, Nov 2019

How did reading The Hobbit in elementary school inspired you to share your stories?

One of the things I really enjoyed about Tolkein's writing was his passion for language and the amazing worlds he conjured up. Everything was so vivid and amazing it really inspired me later in life to create my own worlds to share. Everything in my writing starts with world building.

Growing up as an avid reader, who is your all-time favorite author?

Definitely Rick Riordan. His books are some of my all time favorites, and I love the way he tells a great story with excellent characters, while still infusing humor into his narratives.

What was the first short story about what you wrote in high school and college?

In high school I mostly just created worlds in my head and wrote little bits here and there about them, but nothing constructed and formal. When I was in college, my first story was a story about a boy in the south who goes on a surreal quest to help his mother deal with her husband's suicide. It was called The Long Summer Beyond Miller Road. I never published it, but it's very near and dear to my heart.

How did you come up with the plot of your debut novel, The Lord of Long Shadows?

It started as a dream, just images really. Then in the days that followed, I worked on fleshing out the world and the story just sort of fell in to place. There was always a girl being transported to another world, and the rest sort of worked itself out.

The Lord of Long Shadows’ has a wonderful and intriguing plot. What brought the idea of it to you?

I wanted to play with the idea of post-apocalyptic fantasy. I liked the idea that the great war had come and gone, and the main character is coming into a world devoid of any hope, and seeing how they deal with it.

Who inspired the character of twenty-year-old orphan Alex Winters?

I've always had an admiration of strong female characters, so she's a little bit of a lot of people. If I had to narrow it down, she takes a lot of inspiration from Kara Thrace (Battle Star Galactica), Korra (The Legend of Korra), and Anabeth Chase (Percy Jackson Series). Combine that with the fact that I'm married to a strong Boston woman, and you should get an idea of where she's coming from.

Are you friends with other authors? If so, how have they helped you in your journey as a writer?

I'm just starting to connect with other authors on Twitter, and they are a daily inspiration to me whenever I'm feeling sluggish or unmotivated.

How did you begin writing your series, "Knights of the Fallen Realm"?

Well, it started with my plot outline. I sat down and outlined the entire story from book one to the end of book three, and I just fill in the details along the way.

When are you most inspired to write? What are some things you do to motivate yourself when you're stuck in a rut?

There isn't really a rhyme or reason to when I'm inspired, but I guess it's the best when I don't have a lot of other things to worry about, like Saturday mornings. As far as getting out of ruts, I just write my way out of them. I've found if you just keep writing, it eventually gets good. Sometimes I have to go back and delete things I've written, but that's fine because it got the juices flowing again. For me, I just keep writing. If I sat around waiting for writers block to end, I might be there all year.

Does your wife read your books? How does she feel about it?

She does. She's not the biggest fan of fantasy, but she loves YA, and she has enjoyed reading them.

What are some of your goals or what are some things you hope to accomplish through your books?

I really just want to tell good stories for people to enjoy. I love hearing from people who've read my work, and that's what I do it for. If I can someday find a way to make some money doing this, that's great, but for me it's just about telling good stories.

How do you keep your books from getting dull? What are awesome tips for brainstorming that you use?

I think I really try and just keep things moving. If a scene is dragging, I try and find a way to spice it up, or expedite things to the next scene. No matter how important a scene is, things need to move along. As far as brainstorming, I use typically start with an image or a scene in my head and I start answering questions. How did this character get here? Who is there family? Why does that tree look like that? That sort of thing. It's like playing 20 questions with myself, and at the end, I usually have a scene or a story.

Where have you planned your next great adventure with your wife Sarah in Central Florida?

We're always exploring local things to do like nature trails, amusement parks, and escape rooms etc. There's a lot to see and do here.

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

a) Never stop writing. I'd recommend setting a word count for yourself and making sure you reach it no matter what. You can always edit bad writing, but you can't do anything with a blank page.
b) Plan your stories out. If you don't know where the story is going before you get there, there's a chance you might get lost in it.
c) Start marketing and making connections with other authors and industry professionals. I didn't do this at first, and I wish I had.
d) Find people who will read your work and give you feedback (test readers). It's impossible to see everything yourself, since you're more than likely too close to the story.
e) Hire an editor. It's the best thing you'll ever spend money on if you're serious about being a writer.

How were you first introduced to AllAuthor and what were some of your thoughts coming in? What is your impression of the website now?

Overall it's a pretty user friendly website with lots of good features for first time authors. It's well worth it for the money you spend. I recommend it.

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