Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Interview: The Wizard's Gift

The Wizard's Gift
Michael Waller

Date Published: June 30, 2012

The last of an ancient group of wizards leaves a gift to the newly arrived race of men. It is revered and cared for by a line of priests until it is stolen, and the high priest and his sovereign murdered by a king who believes himself destined to be a great wizard. But from ancient writings the high priest had discovered that the gift is not benevolent as was thought. This forces the son of the high priest, unexpectedly elevated to his father's position, and the young prince who is equally suddenly king, into a race to find the gift before it can be used as that may cause the destruction of the world. Accompanied by the retired captain of the palace guard they hope to speed their journey by crossing the Wasteland, a seeming desert, which is fabled to be populated by monsters, and from which no visitor has ever returned. In the course of their adventures they are hunted by dog faced men and captured by slavers, but the young prince truly becomes a king, and the priest discovers that he has a destiny that goes beyond the bounds of his world.

Interview with the author, Michael Waller

-What is your inspiration for writing?
            It may seem odd, or obvious, but the inspiration is always words. I have probably felt the urge to sit down and write more often from the emergence of a phrase in my mind than from any other reason. It might be part of a descriptive passage or  a dialogue, but it will start my mind working and I have to write it down immediately before I forget it. If I am able to I will keep writing more or less until that particular idea peters out, or if I am unable to write at the time I find that as soon as I come back to it it rekindles whatever caused it to appear in the first place and I can continue with it. I should also say that I am completely incapable of writing without that spark, I cannot write to order.

-Favorite place to write?
            I really don't have one. When I feel the desire to write I simply set to and do it. I do prefer to sit at a table though, I am not a fan of laptops.

-Easiest type of character to write?
            I find all characters easy to write because I believe that they are not written as such, but are formed during the course of the story. I know what my characters need to do in order for the story to progress, but how they do it and why only becomes apparent to me as they become involved in the story line. I have never thought of a character and then built a story around them, I think of a story and then populate it as needed.

-Five things about you nobody really knows?
            Well, if I answer this it will be five less secrets that I have, and how can I be a man of mystery without secrets? And the unknown is the lifeblood of fiction. If an author tells you everything then you do not need to use your imagination, and what is fiction if it requires no connection with the reader. There is a saying in Britain that "distance lends enchantment" and another that "familiarity breeds contempt", I stand on my right not to answer any question that might diminish my enchantment.

-Favorite book?
            I have probably read Lord Of The Rings more often than anything else, other than the plays of Shakespeare. But I believe that my favourite book is by George Orwell, Keep the Aspidistra Flying. Perhaps it is so much a depiction of a time, a place and a despairing ambition all constrained by an incorrectly identified problem that resonates with me. I find all of Orwell's writing so real and deep without resource to intellectual pretension.

-Top ten literary guys that make you swoon? (I say literary because don't we all know they are better?;) )
George Orwell because he wrote simply and honestly and therefore emotionaly.
J R R Tolkien because he wove a collossal phantasy from the facts of our collective history and folklore. A lot of book covers talk about another Tolkien, but those authors all think that they can create a worthwhile mythology without deep knowledge, and they cannot.
Charles Dickens, what can you say, creativity personnified, not to mention the man who cornered the market it memorable character names.
Thomas Hardy, why I can't say, there is just something in his stories and the way that he tells them which enthralls and touches me.
John leCarre because he is simply brilliant. His plots are smooth and sly and his characters tinged with failure, and he makes you think.
Spike Milligan, a lunatic comic genius, but read his war memoirs and what it was like to be yanked of the street and sent around the world to constantly risk you life is describes so honestly. You will also get a perfect understanding of why the British survived World War II with their sanity intact.
James Herriot and this is a simple reason, he writes about my native Yorkshire as I would because he knows the places and the people that I grew up with.
Lewis Carroll. Everyone knows Alice thanks to the cartoon industry, but read everything he wrote and you will find a sublime imagination and a delicate touch with words.
Winston Churchill. War correspondent, cavalry officer, poitician and a leader in adversity par excellence. A great man with some great faults but with an understanding of the written word which I envy.

William Shakespeare, saving the best for last. Do not read abridged versions, do not read modernised versions, do not listen to elitists or philistines. His use of words transcends language and turns the simples phrase into music. Of course he is difficult to read, but if the muscle bound tell us that there is no gain without pain, then think of the reward using the brain that you have to understand the perfection of his dialogue.

Michael Waller
Michael was born in Middlesbrough in the North Riding of Yorkshire, UK in 1951 where he was soon creating havoc as a short trousered rebel. Fortunately as his mother was head cook at police headquarters his numerous run ins with the constabulary were dealt with in the privacy of the family home. A junior school run by nuns, and then an excellent grammar school under the watchful eye of Marist priests educated him to have a love of literature, music and science. Though they did nothing to curb his anti-authority streak.

            An initial ramble through all manner of jobs finally came to a halt in the oil and chemical industry where his love of science and all things technical provided him with gainful employment for almost thirty years. Whilst working he spent several years in the Middle East with visits to India, and around Europe before landing in the USA where he has lived for the past twenty years.

            Retired now he writes, take photographs and restores vintage British motorcycles in upstate New York.


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