Hello readers. We are back with another ‘Author Spotlight.’ This week #legendsofgreenisle is happy to host Micheal Dellert, fellow author and wordsmith, and author of the series The Matter with Manred. Micheal was so very wonderful to take a break from his writing and editing to be interviewed for this week’s author spotlight.
legendsofgreenisle: Micheal, it’s so very good to have you here ‘virtually.’ Tell us, when did you start writing? What made you want to write?
Micheal: I was always creating stories, settings, and characters just for fun. When I was fifteen, I took a creative writing summer enrichment course (yes, I was that nerd, who went to school in the summer just because…).
The teacher and I got on so well that she re-jiggered my schedule the following year. I was moved into her Advanced Placement English and Literary Journal Production classes.
That was a turning point for me: I was studying a better class of literature, with an eye to writing it, and working as an editor and a production editor. My whole world revolved around words, and I loved it.
I never looked back: thirty years as a writer, a student of writing and literature, and a professional publisher, and here I am.
legendsofgreenisle: You wear so many hats, but I’m sure you balance everything wonderfully. Tell us, is this your first publication or have you published before? If so, what have you published?
Micheal: My most recent book is The Wedding of Eithne, but it’s the fourth in a series of books called “The Matter of Manred.” The first three books in the series are:
There’s also a short epistolary piece in the same timeline called The Epistles of Eithne & Eowain. This piece started out as character development exercises focused on the main characters of the latest two books, and morphed into a series of letters they exchanged prior to the events in those two books. That epistolary piece is available as a free download to my newsletter subscribers.
Before that, I published poetry in literary magazines like Backporch Review, Harbinger, Idiom, and Venture. My poetry won two Golden Poet Awards from the World of Poetry Press, and those poems were published in their anthologies. But that was more than twenty years ago, before Amazon. Readers would be hard-pressed to find those back-issues, I think.
legendsofgreenisle: In today’s world, you would be surprised what can be located with a look Google search. 🙂 Please tell us a little about the newest release in your series – its characters and the story line?
Micheal: The Wedding of Eithne is the fourth in a series, and concludes the first cycle in that series. Unlike other series, I actually had this fourth book in mind long before I started the first three, though it looked quite different back then. After the events in the first three books (all featuring male protagonists), I wanted to try my hand at a strong female protagonist.
Eithne is the second child and only daughter of a mountain clan-lord, and her extended family has feuded with the royal family of another tribal kingdom for a generation.
In the course of the first three books in the series, an arranged political marriage is proposed that would end the feud, but Eithne has her doubts about the whole thing. She doesn’t want to be just another pawn in men’s political games, she wants to be a strong person in her own right.
Complicating the story is the matter of a magical compulsion on her: she may not marry until certain portents are favorable, but even when they are, she’s guaranteed freedom of choice about her groom. So she struggles with questions of fate versus free will. How can she prove her choice is her free and her own if she doesn’t choose not to marry the man they’ve arranged for her?
I researched feminist storytelling theory, particularly Maureen Murdoch’s The Heroine’s Journey, a gynocentric alternative to Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey narrative paradigm, in order to develop a plot-line and structure that expressed the female protagonist’s story most effectively.
legendsofgreenisle: I am very excited that you chose to have a heroine as the focal character of the book. I’m heard of Murdoch’s book, but haven’t had a chance to read it myself. Where do you see your writing career in five years? Will there be more books in this series? Or other series?
Micheal: There will certainly be more books. I’m currently collaborating with author Jean Lee on a novella set in my Matter of Manred world.
Jean Lee has already developed one story in my milieu, is working on another, and has plans for two or three more after that.
But the collaborative novella between us is an opportunity to bring our favorite characters together and see what kind of sparks fly. We’re looking to publish it in time for Christmas 2017.
I’m also working on a sequel/expansion to my second book, A Merchant’s Tale. While complete in its own right, I deliberately left the door open to further adventures for those characters, and want to fulfill that promise to my readers.
And the fifth book in the series is already drafted. I’m rewriting it and shopping chapters around to agents to see what kind of interest is out there. It’s the beginning of a second cycle of books set in this universe, following a younger generation of characters through a new series of adventures.
Overall, the milieu arc of my Matter of Manred series is intended to be a nine-to-twelve book multigenerational fantasy saga. Whether I can get that done in the next five years is an open question, but I think I should have three or four more done in that time.
legendsofgreenisle: This sounds so very exciting! One last question before we end. How can a reader get to your book?
Micheal: Oh, I’m not hard to find, I hope.
The Wedding of Eithne is available from Amazon in both print and Kindle formats, as are the other books in the series.
My own online book shop also has these books—as well as other exclusive, digital-only titles like The Epistles—and readers interested in collectibles can order signed editions of the print books.
And for readers in the Greater New York City area, independent bookseller Black Dog Books in Newton, NJ is currently the exclusive print retailer for my print books, and carries the signed print editions.
I’ll soon be expanding both my digital and brick-and-mortar distribution arrangements as the holidays get closer, including more independent booksellers in the NYC area, Smashwords, iBooks, Kobo, and more! Readers can subscribe to my newsletter to hear all about these upcoming changes, and they’ll also get access to sneak-peeks at forthcoming titles, writing and publishing advice, and special discount offers.
legendsofgreenisle: Micheal, thank you very much for ‘hopping’ over to talk with me and for being our spotlighted author this week. Don’t be a stranger to Green Isle (or the blog.) You can also follow Micheal on twitter at @MDellertDotcom.