TQ: What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?
Michael: I tend to get almost all my ideas from dreams. I keep a note pad on my nightstand so I can write them down as I have them. So when I'm having trouble figuring out a plot point, I tend to literally "sleep on it" to find the solution.
TQ: Who are some of your favorite writers? Who do you feel has influenced your writing?
Michael: Neil Gaiman and Susannah Clarke are two that I draw the most inspiration from. They both have such an eloquent way of folding human elements into fantastic situations. They never lose sight of the emotional weight of the what their characters are experiencing.
TQ: Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Michael: I fall somewhere in between. I have a clear sense of where I want to go, but I'm often surprised by how I get there. It's like a half-planned road trip. Discovery is part of the fun.
TQ: What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?
Michael: Finding the time, and a story you're passionate enough to live with for a number of years. It's like a sprint and a marathon at the same time. You have to be just slightly crazy to make it work!
TQ: Describe Charlotte Markham and the House of Darkling in 140 characters or less.
Michael: 2 cups Jane Eyre, 6 oz of Lovecraft, and a tbsp of Tim Burton. Serve with ice cream.
TQ: What inspired you to write Charlotte Markham and the House of Darkling?
Michael: Charlotte Markham began life, quite literally, as a dream: an English governess stood on the side of a dirt road with her two young orphaned charges as they consulted a homemade map. They were debating whether or not to enter a forest up ahead and I knew, as dreamers often do, that something terrible awaited them in the woods. I remember waking up and being fascinated with where they were going. I felt the most lovely combination of dread and excitement, because I knew that their journey would be extraordinary, terrible, and wonderful, even if I remained uncertain about their final destination. The dream stayed with me, but didn't really crystallize until my mother died of cancer at the age of 44. I dreamt of her nearly every night afterwards, and though we both acknowledged in the dream that she was still dead, we continued to have a relationship. The idea fascinated me, and I quickly realized that the children from my previous dream were looking for a way to reconnect with their dead mother.
TQ: What sort of research did you do for Charlotte Markham and the House of Darkling?
Michael: I reread a lot of the books that inspired me to write in the first place. For me it wasn't so much about recreating a specific time period, but tapping into the "tone" that runs through some of my favorite books, like Wuthering Heights, Coraline, Jonathan Strange, and others.
TQ: Who was the easiest character to write and why? Hardest and why?
Michael: James was the easiest, because deep down I'm not sure I ever stopped being an excitable five years old. The hardest was probably Duncan, since he had to convey a lot without really saying anything.
TQ: Without giving anything away, what is/are your favorite scene(s) in Charlotte Markham and the House of Darkling?
Michael: The fairytales were my favorite bits to write, but as a reader, the scenes with Duncan and the candle wax people.
TQ: What's next?
Michael: I'm working on my second novel, which is inspired by the works of Lewis Carroll, C. S. Lewis, and J. M. Barrie. It's a book about children placed into fantastic situations, but written for adults. I hope to be done with my first draft sometime early next year!
TQ: Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.
Michael: My pleasure! Thank you so much for having me.
Charlotte Markham and the House of Darkling
Charlotte Markham and the House of DarklingWilliam Morrow Paperbacks, July 24, 2012
Trade Paperback and eBook, 320 pages
When the nanny to the young Darrow boys is found mysteriously murdered on the outskirts of the village of Blackfield, Charlotte Markham, the recently hired governess, steps in to take over their care. During an outing in the forest, they find themselves crossing over into The Ending, "the place for the Things Above Death," where Lily Darrow, the late mother of the children, has been waiting. She invites them into the House of Darkling, a wondrous place filled with enchantment, mystery, and strange creatures that appear to be, but are not quite, human.
However, everything comes with a price, and as Charlotte begins to understand the unspeakable bargain Mrs. Darrow has made for a second chance at motherhood, she uncovers a connection to the sinister occurrences in Blackfield and enters into a deadly game with the master of Darkling—one whose outcome will determine the fate of not just the Darrows but the world itself.
Charlotte Markham and the House of Darkling is a Victorian Gothic tale about family ties, the realm beyond the living, and the price you pay to save those you love.
What: One commenter will win a copy of Charlotte Markham and the House of Darkling from The Qwillery.
How: Leave a comment answering one of the following questions:
What is one of your favorite Gothic novels?
What is one of your favorite fairy tales?
Please remember - if you don't answer one of the question your entry will not be counted.
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2) Mentioning the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter. Even if you mention the giveaway on both, you will get only one additional entry. You get only one additional entry even if you mention the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter multiple times.
There are a total of 3 entries you may receive: Comment (1 entry), Follower (+1 entry) and Facebook and/or Twitter (+ 1 entry). This is subject to change again in the future for future giveaways.
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Who and When: The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59pm US Eastern Time on Sunday, September 2, 2012. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years old or older to enter.
*Giveaway rules are subject to change.*