Thursday, October 3, 2013

Author Interview – Michel Sauret

at 5:15 AM

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated? In high school I had to pick an author for a book report, so I chose Stephen King, thinking he would be nice and easy since he’d already written so much. I selected his novella, “Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption,” because I had watched the movie a dozen times. Heck, maybe I didn’t even need to read the story to write my report…

Except, after reading a few pages I became hooked. Reading that novella changed me. The characters, their motives and their pains all felt so alive.

Stephen King often gets pegged as a horror or genre author, but really, his characters are what make his stories.

Soon after that, I began writing short stories. I wanted to accomplish with words the type of feelings and connections I felt when reading King.

There was something really satisfying about writing short stories. You had to pack so much meaning, emotion and development is a short number of pages.

My early work was obviously really immature, since I was just 16, but it was a start. It propelled me forward to writing my first novel, “Breathing God” which was published by the time I was in college.

How long have you been writing? I started writing short stories when I was 16. My very first short story is called “The Follower” which is about a teenage boy driving his dad’s car after curfew and thinks he’s being followed by an undercover cop. Last year, I picked up the story and I almost laughed at how bad that original draft was. I ended up rewriting the whole thing and actually included it in my collection, Amidst Traffic, because even though there was still something raw and authentic I knew I could pull back from that piece.

What genre are you most comfortable writing? When I was young, I used to write a lot of horror or dark stories. I used to think that for a story to be good a life had to be at stake. But in college, at Pitt, I fell in love completely with contemporary literary fiction. To me, there is no greater genre. Literary authors are usually not your biggest money makers in the book market, but the genre is so authentic and inspiring that I couldn’t imagine myself writing anything else.

I do have a Christian novel lined up next, but I always make sure that the focus is on the characters and the prose first and the story grows out of that.

What inspired you to write your first book? My first book was actually an end-times type novel called “Breathing God.” I don’t promote it or sell it any more because I published it when I was young and my convictions have changed a lot since then and I think my writing style has grown a lot since. But I got a buzz out of writing the book. The idea came out of a simple question: What if God chose me to deliver a message to the world? What would it mean, and how would that feel? So I took that idea and I just ran with it.

What made you want to be a writer? The money. That was a joke. You can laugh now.

But in all honesty, writing fiction is a thrill because of the discovery process. I always discover something strange, new or unexpected about my characters while I’m in the midst of the story. Writing fiction is a wonderful way to battle thoughts of questions you have as a person. Mostly I’m driven by human conflicts and questions about our existence. I love that writing connects me with complete strangers through the veil of narrative.

Do you intend to make writing a career? I read a book by Noah Lukeman, who is a literary agent, and in one of his early chapters he stressed the fact that if you commit yourself to writing, you should project 20 years out before you can really expect to make it big. That’s a scary thought because we all want immediate results, and some of us want immediate fame or success. But the reality is that you can’t even collect retirement from most jobs after 20 years. When you put it in that perspective, that projection makes more sense.

Some authors make it big much faster, but for the rest of us we should cherish the idea that writing is work and it’s hard and that it requires commitment.

For now, I’m going to keep working full time for the Army, run my photography business and write and publish books on the side. By the time I retire from the Army, in 20 years, we’ll see if I’m in a place where I can earn a living from this. I personally believe my writing is good enough to invest my time into it, but the process can often really be a battle.

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Genre – Short Stories / Literary Fiction

Rating – PG13

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